This ethnobotanical survey aimed to investigate the wild edible plant species used for traditional fish-grilling by the Miao and Dong ethnic groups living in Northeast Congjiang County, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in Guizhou Province, China. These particular practices are being used since eternity descended from the traditional knowledge of locals. This area covers about 3,244 km2 and in a mid-subtropical warmth and humid monsoon climate area with the average annual temperature of 18.4 °C, receiving 1,193 mm mean annual rain fall [11, 12]. The area is composed of low mountains and hills occupied over approximately 90% of its total territory.
Dong and Miao are two main ethnic groups in this area, with 90% of ca. 300 thousand people mainly living in rural areas. Agriculture is their main occupation. Most of the people, living in the villages along the hills, from the valley to the mid-mountain, sometimes to the top, make living from the environment appropriate age-old rice-fish agriculture. It has been recognized as an ecosystem with more levels of nutrition, longer food chain, and more complex food web . Xiaohuang (a village dominated by Dong people) and Basha (dominated by Miao) are typical ethnic villages. The former resides in low altitude, near the hill foot, and close to the river. The later one resides to the middle of the hills. In Xiaohuang, the rice-fish agriculture practiced by Dong people has a long history. Nowadays, the glutinous rice and fish co-culture is still the main type of rice planting pattern in the local Dong communities in low altitude areas, while corn and many other crops are the main sources of income for Miao people living in the hill and mountains in Basha village. The fish is widely raised in the terraced fields, and the grilled fish is considered being one of important traditional food in Congjiang.
Based on the accessibility and availability of local informants, we visited several villages dominated by two ethnic groups, Dong and Miao, at the beginning of this study. Finally, two villages, Xiaohuang and Basha, were selected for intensive data-collecting during September 2017 and March 2020 (Figure 1).
For collecting data, informed consent was obtained from local people orally while explaining the scope of the investigation prior to the interviews. All the informants were interviewed through direct observation, semi-structured interviews, individual discussions, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions through snowball methodology  in two villages, Xiaohuang and Basha. We revisited the informants in order to verify the consistency of the information collected in the previous visit. Some inconsistent were occurred and was directly discussed with informants to clarify the reasons. So all the data presented in this paper are thorough and complete based on our surveys.
A total of 279 informants were randomly selected for the present study. These respondents include 161 Dong people (57.71%) in Xiaohuang and 118 Miao people (42.29%) in Basha (Table 1). All individuals were interviewed on commonly gathering and using wild species of plant origin (fruits, roots/tubers, leafy vegetables, spices, and others), their availability, preparation forms and conservation status for their traditional fish-grilling. All the plants mentioned by the respondents were collected and identified in the field. The documented plant species were validated for identification based on “Flora of China”  and taxonomy updated according to “The Plant List” . The specimens matched with the herbarium lodged and assigned voucher numbers in the Herbaria of Jishou University, Hunan Province, China.
The information of plant resources used for fish-grilling were recorded including the local names of species, habit, their uses in different forms, mode of administration, part(s) used and information concerning the edible value or relevance to local communities. The information forms are from at least three respondents for quantitative analysis . To determine the influence of socioeconomic factors, two different indicators of knowledge were used: (1) fidelity level , the fidelity level of each plant used was examined and based on combined use citation totals from all informants; (2) cultural important plants index , cultural important plants index for one species by all informants.
The categories calculated for uses of the fidelity level (FL) percentage measure analysis are detailed in Table 2. Each plant use was added to the appropriate category prior to analysis calculated following formula:
FL = Np/N×100%
Where Np is the total number of informants that independently cited a specific plant use and N is the total number of informants (N) that cited the plant for any use.
Cultural important plants index
For the purposes to evaluate the cultural importance of each species based on its cited uses of two ethnic groups. The cultural important plants index (CII) was calculated for each plant and in each group. Briefly, it is calculated as follows:
Where NC is the total number of different use-categories, and UR is the total number of all the informants (from i1 to iN) that summing the same data, but grouping them in a different manner (Dong ethnic group and Miao ethnic group). As an additive index, CII takes into account both spread of the use (number of informants) for each species in different groups (CIID and CIIM) and its versatility.
Cultural important plants matrix design
The cultural important plants matrix design, a visual approach created by Cassandra et al.  and Kunwar et al. , was designed for the comparative analysis of how cultural important plants differ in two groups, Dong and Miao. The CII data for each group were plotted with a standard scatterplot, with Dong cultural important plants index data corresponding to the x-axis and Miao cultural important plants index data to the y-axis.