Ethiopia is endowed with a large variety of plant and animal species. The ecological regions of Ethiopia are characterized by a great biodiversity of birds and wild animals supported by numerous species of plants. The flora of Ethiopia consists of many types of vegetation, flowers, and plants. The cactus plants grow in the highland areas. Several plant species in Ethiopia have several uses including the making of honey and oil and for flavoring food. The different climatic and geological zones of Ethiopia provide different types of plant. Alpines and evergreen plants dominate the country’s flora. Some of the plants of Ethiopia are looked at below.
Frankincense, which is obtained from plants in the Genus Boswellia, is known for its fragrant resin which has many medical uses, especially as an anti-inflammatory agent. There are four main species of Boswellia which can produce true Frankincense. Namely, these are Boswellia sacra, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia serrata, and Boswellia papyrifera. Frankincense is a moderate growing flowering plant native to the tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The flowers have 4 to 5 imbricate sepals with equal, distinct petals. The plant bears 1 to 5 pitted fruits that are drupe and open at maturity. Frankincense has been used as Ayurvedic medicine. The resins produced contain boswellic acid which can treat asthma and several inflammatory conditions. The bark of the tree can be used to treat fever while the incense is a good depression reliever.
Jasmine, which are plants that are members of the Genus Jasminum, is a variety of shrubs and vines containing around 200 species. It is widely cultivated for its fragrance and its flowers. Jasmine is either deciduous or evergreen and can either be climbing or spreading shrub. The leaves are opposite or alternate while the flowers are typically round and white or yellow in color. Each flower has about nine petals and is very fragrant. Jasmine produces berry fruits that turn black when ripe. The sweet aroma of jasmine can be smelled mos strongly at night. Jasmine is native to tropical and subtropical regions with only one of the 200 species native to Europe. It can also be grown indoors in a well-lit room with trellis to support its vigorous growth.
Firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea, has been cultivated in gardens for over four centuries now. The tree produces small white flowers and small, bright red berries that are bitter and astringent when raw. The fruits can be cooked to make jam and sauces. Firethorn reaches 6 meters when fully grown while the flowers are produced in late spring and early summer. It is a valuable ornamental plant grown in gardens for their beautiful flowers and fruits. It can also act as a barrier because of its thorny structure making it alternative to artificial fences. Firethorn is also a good shrub for animals and provides a good roosting and nesting cover for birds. The berries are mildly poisonous and can only be eaten when crushed and washed or cooked to make jellies.
Threats and Conservation Efforts for Ethiopian Flora
Plants and trees of Ethiopia face similar threats as plants found in other parts of the world. The demand for human settlement and expansion of agricultural activities has led to the destruction of vital plants in Ethiopia. The Hagenia and Juniper forests have rapidly decreased due to human activities such as collecting firewood and land clearing. However, the development of botanic gardens and arboretums in Ethiopia has played a vital role in the conservation of many plant species.