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The Echinops Project

Echinops

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Asterales

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Echinops       

Scientific name: Echinops giganteus

Local name: Ayilagwem’

According to the Museum of National History, the Echinops giganteus found on the Mount Bamboutous range is E. gigarneus A. Rich. Var. Lelyi (C.D. Adams) C. D-Adams- This plant is an herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the order Asterales and to the family Asteraceae/Cornpositae. Tile genus Echinops is composed of about 120 species of flowering plants commonly known as globe thistles which are native to Europe, East-Central Asia and the mountains of tropical Africa It can easily be recognized try its big spiny leaves and globe thistle or “ball” which grows at the tip of the plant The seeds of this plant mc found within the globe thistle.

Research

The potential value of the resource for use in the fragrance and flavour sectors has been under investigation for several years. Research carried out by scientists indicates that the roots contain essential oils, which make it a potential aromatic plant. It has also exhibited cytotoxicity and antibacterial properties, thus providing baseline information for its potential use in contemporary medicine. To realize these benefits, the plant has to be dug up to obtain the roots which are of immense importance. Even though field evidence suggests that the plant can regenerate after harvesting through the part of the roots left underground, random and excessive harvesting could lead to the plant becoming threatened or extinct.

In Cameroon, three teams have been working on the plant. Professor Victor Kuete of the Faculty of Science at the University of Dschang has been working on the medicinal aspects, especially it’s capacity to fight malignant tissues (cancer). Professor Pierre Tane and his team of the same institution have been working on the Phytochemistry (Medicinal Chemistry) of the plant. The last team headed by Professor Grace Mendi of the Faculty of Science, University of Bamenda was working on the domestication of the species.

The Echinops giganteus Project Echinops giganteus was located in Cameroon by ERuDeF through their previous botanical inventory. In 2012, through the intervention of Man & Nature and ERuDeF, V Mane Fils S.A became interested in the exploitation of this plant. This was to serve as a conservative incentive for the local community in the management of the neighboring Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mount Bamboutos ecosystems. Within this context, the Echinops project was then launched in November 2012 in Magha-Bamumbu with financial and technical support from Mane Foundation and Man and Nature. Since then, ethnobotanical, agronomic, ecological and socio-economic studies have been conducted on this plant. This led to the production of a sustainable management plan and several research papers in progress. Over 3 tons of dried Echinops giganteus roots have been harvested in Like orea