From the local (Baka) names mentioned during the three ex-situ interview methods, we constructed a preliminary database of ‘folk taxa’ of wild plants consumed by the Baka, with tentative scientific names retrieved from literature on Central African wild food plants [2, 3, 6, 59] and earlier ethnographic and ethnoecological data collected between 2012 and 2014 by the first author during ca.18 months of fieldwork in the Baka settlements [22]. During our last fieldwork period (2019), we carried out a walk-in-the-woods survey to obtain botanical specimens to match the Baka names of wild food taxa in our preliminary database, but also to verify whether the Baka knew, consumed or traded more plant species than they mentioned previously during the ex-situ interview sessions. Therefore, we asked the Baka to suggest several people of different ages and gender who were knowledgeable on wild edible plants and would agree to join us on our collection trips. We worked with one to four informants on each collection day. In total, we worked with 20 individuals (10 women and 10 men), aged between 29 and 80 years, of which nine had participated previously in the ex-situ interviews (two in the dietary and the income recalls; two only in the free listing; five in all three methods). During 14 collection days into the area surrounding Le Bosquet and Kungu, we searched for plants that matched our preliminary list of folk taxa, but also asked our informants to point out any other edible species they saw (S1 File). When such a plant was encountered, we collected herbarium material using standard botanical methods [27]. Fieldtrips lasted from 7:00 am to 15:00 pm, but the distance covered differed per day, as it depended on the number of plants collected. Many more species were collected in the first few days close to the village, while several hours were spent walking to collect rare edible plants on the last days. We paid particular attention to clarify information on Baka folk taxa that consisted of more than one botanical species. For most specimens we collected, we asked our informants for 1) the local name (in Baka, French and/or Nzimé, the Bantu language in this area, if known); 2) plant part(s) used; 3) preparation and application methods; 4) when they had last consumed the plant; 5) whether a part of the plant was sold; 6) in the case of trees, whether the wood was commercially logged. We did not limit our ethnobotanical data to plant uses that were shared among our informants, but were keen to record differences in food plant knowledge, consumption frequency and appreciation of wild edibles among informants.

Duplicates of voucher specimens were deposited at the National Herbarium of Cameroon (YA) and at the herbarium of Naturalis Biodiversity Center (L). A third voucher was kept at the study site to verify local names and uses with Baka villagers during group discussions. Plant identification took place at Naturalis, using Central African herbarium specimens and literature, such as the Flora of West Tropical Africa [60], the Flore du Cameroun [61], and monographs on the tropical African flora [6264]. This literature was also used to verify the vegetation types in which these wild food plants occurred naturally. For species that were difficult to identify, we consulted botanical experts at Naturalis and abroad. Scientific names were updated using the online portal of Plants of the World Online [65].

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