Comprehensive survey to identify the culturally wild plants in Nineveh Plains- Wardak village - Oct 10, 2022.

In-depth interviews with the local community to check the culturally valuable wild plant species in Nineveh Plains- Jarahiya village - April 4. 2023.

Young men in traditional clothing representing the five ethnoreligious minorities (Christians, Yezidis, Shabaks, Turkmen, and Kaka’i) drink  Babonag (Chamomile in English) as a traditional herbal tea enjoyed by all minorities of the Nineveh Plains. Dec..21. 2022.

Young women in traditional clothing representing the five ethnoreligious minorities (Christians, Yezidis, Shabaks, Turkmen, and Kaka’i) use the leaves of the edible wild plant Khobaz (Mallow in English) in preparing DOLMA, a traditional food eaten by all minorities of the Nineveh Plains. Dec. 2. 2022.

Training of Trainers (ToT) Course in Ecoprinting with Wild Plants Alqush, May  31. 2023.

A questionnaire survey of the ethnobotanical uses of wild plants in Nineveh Plains.  Sreichka village - July 26. 2022.

Before starting fieldwork, and for community trust building, the UoD Wild Plant’s team visited during a month many of the villages of Nineveh Plains covering all the minorities. - Qaraytagh village- 15 Nov.2022.

The wild plant's discussion panel in the second conference of the project "Support to Traditional Cultural Practices in Northern Iraq" UoD - 6 June.


In Nineveh Plains, many different wild plants grow and reproduce in their natural habitat. People in Nineveh Plains have gathered wild edible plants and used for millennia, and they have become part of their diet and traditional food systems. Wild plants are a resource that contributes to the cultural, social, economic, ecological, and aesthetic concepts and practices of the area. In the context of ethnobotany, wild plant gathering in Nineveh Plains is a deeply rooted practice, where thousands of people go to nature and collect wild plants, particularly during the spring. The ethnoreligious minorities of Nineveh Plains gather wild plants for the role that they play in their diet, medicine, animal husbandry, construction, crafts, and ornament, as well as in their religious ceremonies and rituals.

The Wild Plants team of researchers from the University of Duhok and Indiana University,  supported by LASER PULSE and the USA Agency for International Development (USAID) project “Support to Traditional Cultural Practices in Northern Iraq,” work to restore the wild plant cultural practices used by the ethnoreligious communities of Christian, Yazidi, Shabak, Turkmen, and Kakai living in Nineveh Plains of Northern Iraq who were targeted by IS, with a particular focus on the districts of Al Hamdaniya, TelKaif and the sub-district of Bashiqa. This collaborative effort with ethnoreligious communities will produce a physical and digital herbarium of wild plants, botanical gardens, field guides, and educational materials sharing the sustainable use of wild plants and their role in the daily cultural practices of Nineveh Plains communities 

The main objectives of the Wild Plants team:

The main Activities and Products of the wild plant team since September 2022

1-  Community Trust building.

Before starting working on the products proposed by the Wild Plant’s team of UoD and Indiana (USA) Universities, the team of UoD visited during a month many of the villages covering all the minorities living in Ninawa plain in order to meet the local and key community members for the trust-building purposes consequently encourage better and wider adoption of community engagement in the restoring the wild plant’s cultural practices project.

2- Ethnobotanical Literature Review

Ethnobotanical literature review of wild plants in Nineveh Plains-Iraq has been collected from different sources including libraries of Mousel, googling websites, YouTubes, reports, papers, and access to several digital libraries and journals. The literature provides information regarding the cultural uses of wild plants by the minorities existing in northern Iraq (Nineveh Plains) in the districts of Hamdaniya and Tel Keyf and the sub-district of Bashiqa in Ninawa province besides some areas of KRI, where communities like Kakais’ living in some villages. The collected information shows that the cultural uses of wild plants are poorly documented in the north of Iraq. Indeed, no sufficient official published information and data available that can help to comprehensively understand the wild plant's cultural practices by the targeted minorities. This shows the importance of the work that the team of wild plants conducting in the area for Ethnobotanical documentation.   All minorities were represented in this review, so each minority will better understand and gain more knowledge about the cultural practices of the rest of the minorities which will help in the context of promoting social cohesion among the communities, besides collecting and documenting what has been published about the wild plant’s cultural practices of this area.      

3- Surveys and interviews regarding cultural uses of wild plants: 

To be able to implement activities with the communities of the Nineveh Plains, we needed to know, specifically, what plants each minority group uses and for what purposes, and also how that has changed over time. To do this, we conducted a survey of 420 residents of 42 villages in the Nineveh Plains and completed 52 individual interviews to get rich, in-depth information.

4- Participation in the design and use of the University of Duhok Botanical Garden and Community Botanical Gardens: 

The wild plant's team actively participated in the design of the botanical gardens with suggestions for plant species for both the mother and community botanical gardens which will be invested in the Conservation, and Education and Research functions.

5- Capacity building of UoD Wild Plants staff:

 To build the conservation capacity of the University of Duhok, several Wild Plants team members participated in:

6- Protocols for Propagation of Locally Endangered Wild Plants:

 Through germination experiments, the team is creating protocols for the propagation of locally endangered wild plants to help prevent extinction and hopefully rebuild the population in the Nineveh Plain.

7- Wild Plants Awareness and Education Posters, leaflets, and booklets: 

From the information we gathered from communities, we created posters, leaflets, and booklets raising awareness of wild plants, examples of their uses, and threats to their existence

8- Policy briefs:

 These policy briefs provide the policymakers with recommendations to take actions in areas needing wild plant protection and restoration.

 9- Educational and Storytelling Videos on Wild Plants Culture: 

Personal storytelling videos not only provide compelling testimony of the importance of wild plants, but we’re finding that they legitimize the knowledge and wisdom minority communities have and empower their members to share this wisdom. Each of our products and activities is designed to help build bridges of experience between communities.

10-  Capacity Building: 

 Training of Trainers (ToT) Course in Ecoprinting with Wild Plants, Alqush, 31 May 2023: The main purposes of the training were: 1. Training 15 Art teachers in environmental printing of wild plants on canvas, coloring - decorating eggs with flowers of wild plants 2. Raise environmental awareness by highlighting the project's main objective. 3. Strengthening social cohesion among minority participants. 4. Building trust between the trainees and the University of Duhok.

11- Research Reports and Publications of the Wild Plants Group:

12- Dissemination Events of the Wild Plants Group.

 The team participated in the following events:

Future Directions


The Wild Plants team has a strong interdisciplinary foundation rooted in ethnobotany and anthropology, epidemiology and public health, sociology and mental health, biodiversity and functional ecology, food systems, social network analysis, and more. These diverse perspectives, experiences, and skills contribute to a unique collaborative that allows for expansive thinking, curiosity, and innovation.

Dr. Hassan Najman Muhamed is an academic member at the University of Duhok in the field of Silviculture and Functional ecology. He is an impactful member of the Wild Plant Group. His field of study makes him a valuable member of the group. You can contact him via; hassan.muhamed@uod.ac

Mr. Ahmed M. Hasan Mustafa has a master in wildlife conservation and management, from College of Agricultural Engineering of the University of Duhok. He is an active member of the group in this project. You may reach him at:

Dr. Sarah R. Osterhoudt from is an academic member at Indiana University. She is an Associate Professor of anthropology. Sarah leads the production of many products of the wild plant team. You can reach her via:


Dr. Kate Eddens is an academic member at Indiana University. She is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Kate oversees the production of many products of the wild plant team. You can reach her via:


Mr. Honar Safar Mahdi is an academic member at the University of Duhok in the field of biodiversity conservation & ecosystem management. He is an impactful member of the Wild Plant Group. You can contact him via

Dr. Remonda E. ARMIA is an academic member of the University of Duhok specialist in Mental health. She is   an impactful member of the Wild Plant Group. You can contact her via remonda.armia@uod.ac

Dr. Zubaida S. Abdulkhaliq is head of the Department of Sociology and a lecturer at the College of Humanities at the University of Duhok. Member of Laboratory of Sociology CADIS-Paris- France, Project Trainer (The Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development). Her field of study makes her a valuable member of the group. You can contact her via; zubeida.abdulkhaaliq@uod.ac

Stacey Giroux is an academic member at Indiana University. She is Anthropology. She is one of the founding team members of phase two of the project. You can reach her via; sagiroux@indiana.edu

Wild Plants and Cultural Practices in Nineveh Plains .mp4


The wild plant group produced many video reports from different cultural practices related to wild plants in the Nineveh Plains.



The wild plant group created numerous posters that depict the culturally significant wild plants of the Nineveh Plains. These posters serve to raise awareness and promote social cohesion.




Wild plants have long been essential to ethno-religious minority groups in the Nineveh Plains and are endangered by drought, herbicides, and other preventable factors. If these plants disappear, so will millennia of cultural and economic heritage that have united the people of Nineveh. READ MORE



The wild plant group prepared several leaflets about the common Wild Plant species that are used culturally in the Nineveh Plains.


Truffles: Gold in the Soil of Nineveh Plains - Booklet - English version.pdf


The wild plant group authored two booklets containing crucial information about the flora in the Nineveh Plains, specifically focusing on Trafules. Additionally, they produced a booklet on preserving these wild plants through the utilization of the field border method.