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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Acacia Leguminosae.

From various acacias comes gum arable which is stated by some to be a highly nutritrious article of food. During the whole time of the gum harvest in Barbary, the Moors of the desert live almost entirely upon it. It is claimed that six ounces are sufficient for the support of a man during twenty-four hours. Gum arable is also used as food by the Hottentots of southern Africa, and Sparmann states that, in the absence of other provisions, the Bushmen live on it for days together At Swan River, Australia, an acacia, called manna by the natives, produces a large quantity of gum resembling gum arable, and this, says Drummond, forms an important article of native food. The experiment of Magendie, however, showed that dogs could not support life on gum, and Dr. Hammond believes that, so far from having any value as an alimentary substance, it is positively injurious.


A. abyssinica Hochst.
Abyssinia.
Hildebrant mentions that gum is collected from this species.


A. arabica Willd. BABOOL-BARK. GUM ARABIC TREE. SUNTWOOD.
North and central Africa and Southwest Asia.
It furnishes a gum arable of superior quality. The bark, in times of scarcity, is ground and mixed with flour in India, and the gum, mixed with the seeds of sesame, is an article of food with the natives. The gum serves for nourishment, says Humboldt,9 to several African tribes in their passages through the dessert. In Barbary, the tree is called atteleh.


A. bidwilli Benth.
Australia.
The roots of young trees are roasted for food after peeling.


A. catechu Willd. CATECHU. KHAIR. WADALEE-GUM TREE.
East Indies.
Furnishes catechu, which is chiefly used for chewing in India as an ingredient of the packet of betel leaf.


A. concinna DC. SOAP-POD.
Tropical Asia.
The leaves are acid and are used in cookery by the natives of India as a substitute for tamarinds. It is the fei-tsau-tau of the Chinese. The beans are about one-half to three-fourths inch in diameter and are edible after roasting.


A. decora Reichb.
Australia.
The gum is gathered and eaten by Queensland natives.


A. decurrens Willd. BLACK WATTLE. GREEN WATTLE. SILVER WATTLE.
Australia.
It yields a gum not dissimilar to gum arable.


A. ehrenbergiana Hayne
Desert regions of Libya, Nubia, Dongola.
It yields a gum arabic.


A. farnesiana Willd. CASSIE-OIL PLANT. HUISACHE. OPOPANAX. POPINAC. SPONGE TREE. WEST INDIAN BLACKTHORN.
Tropics.
This species is cultivated all over India and is indigenous in America, from New Orleans, Texas and Mexico, to Buenos Aires and Chile, and is sometimes cultivated. It exudes a gum which is collected in Sind. The flowers distil a delicious perfume.


A. ferruginea DC.
India.
The bark steeped in "jaggery water"-fresh, sweet sap from any of several palms - is distilled as an intoxicating liquor. It is very astringent.


A. flexicaulis Benth.
Texas.
The thick, woody pods contain round seeds the size of peas which, when boiled, are palatable and nutritious.


A. glaucophylla Steud.
Tropical Africa.
This species furnishes gum arabic.


A. gummifera Willd. BARBARY-GUM. MOROCCO-GUM.
North Africa.
It yields gum arabic in northern Africa.


A. homalophylla A. Cunn. MYALL-WOOD. VIOLET-WOOD.
This species yields gum in Australia.


A. horrida Willd. CAPE-GUM TREE. DORNBOOM.
South Africa.
This is the dornboom plant which exudes a good kind of gum.


A. leucophloea Willd. KUTEERA-GUM.
Southern India.
The bark is largely used in the preparation of spirit from sugar and palm-juice, and it is also used in times of scarcity, ground and mixed with flour. The pods are used as a vegetable, and the seeds are ground and mixed with flour.


A. longifolia Willd. SYDNEY GOLDEN WATTLE.
Australia.
The Tasmanians roast the pods and eat the starchy seeds.


A. pallida F. Muell.
Australia.
The roots of the young trees are roasted and eaten.


A. penninervis Sieber. BLACKWOOD. MOUNTAIN HICKORY.
Australia.
This species yields gum gonate, or gonatic, in Senegal.


A. Senegal Willd. GUM ARABIC TREE.
Old World tropics.
The tree forms vast forests in Senegambia. It is called nebul by the natives and furnishes gum arable.


A. seyal Delile GUM ARABIC TREE. THIRSTY THORN. WHISTLING-TREE
North Africa, Upper Egypt and Senegambia.
It furnishes the best gum arabic. It is called glute by the Arabs of the upper Nile and whistling tree by the natives of Sudan. The holes left by the departure of a gall insect are rendered musical by the wind.


A. stenocarpa Hochst. GUM ARABIC TREE.
Southern Nubia and Abyssinia.
The gum of this tree is extensively collected in the region between the Blue Nile and the upper Atbara. It is called taleh, talha or kakul.


A. suaveolens Willd.
Australia.
The aromatic leaves are used in infusions as teas.


A. tortilis Hayne
Arabia, Nubia and the desert of Libya and Dongola.
It furnishes the best of gum arabic.


Acaena sanguisorbae Vahl. Rosaceae. NEW ZEALAND BUR.
Australia.
The leaves are used as a tea by the natives of the Middle Island in New Zealand, according to Lyall. It is the piri-piri of the natives.


Acanthorhiza (Cryosophila) aculeata H. Wendl. Palmae.
Mexico.
The pulp of the fruit is of a peculiar, delicate, spongy consistence and is pure white and shining on the outside. The juice has a peculiar, penetrating, sweet flavor, is abundant, and is obviously well suited for making palm-wine. The fruit is'oblong about one inch in longest diameter. It is grown in Trinidad.


Acanthosicyos horrida Welw. Cucurbitaceae. NARAS.
Tropics of Africa.
The fruit grows on a bush from four to five feet high, without leaves and with opposite thorns. It has a coriaceous rind, rough with prickles, is about 15-18 inches around and inside resembles a melon as to seed and pulp. When ripe it has a luscious sub-acid taste. The bushes grow on little knolls of sand. It is described, however, by Andersonl as a creeper which produces a kind of prickly gourd about the size of a Swede turnip and of delicious flavor. It constitutes for several months of the year the chief food of the natives, and the seeds are dried and preserved for winter consumption.


Acer dasycarpum Ehrh. Sapindaceae (Aceraceae). SILVER MAPLE. SOFT MAPLE. WHITE MAPLE.
North America.
The sap will make sugar of good quality but less in quantity than the sugar maple. Sugar is made from this species, says Loudon, in districts where the tree abounds, but the produce is not above half that obtained from the sap of the sugar maple.


A. platanoides Linn. NORWAY MAPLE.
Europe and the Orient.
From the sap, sugar has been made in Norway, Sweden and in Lithuania.


A. pseudo-platanus Linn. MOCK PLANE. SYCAMORE MAPLE.
Europe and the Orient.
In England, children suck the wings of the growing keys for the sake of obtaining the sweet exudation that is upon them. In the western Highlands and some parts of the Continent, the sap is fermented into wine, the trees being first tapped when just coming into leaf. From the sap, sugar may be made but not in remunerative quantities.


A. rubrum Linn. RED MAPLE. SWAMP MAPLE.
North America.
The French Canadians make sugar from the sap which they call plaine, but the product is not more than half that obtained from the sugar maple. In Maine, sugar is often made from the sap.


A. saccharinum Wangenh. ROCK MAPLE. SUGAR MAPLE.
North America.
This large, handsome tree must be included among cultivated food plants, as in some sections of New England groves are protected and transplanted for the use of the tree to furnish sugar. The tree is found from 48 north in Canada, to the mountains in Georgia and from Nova Scotia to Arkansas and the Rocky Mountains. The sap from the trees growing in maple orchards may give as an average one pound of sugar to four gallons of sap, and a single tree may furnish four or five pounds, although extreme yields have been put as high as thirty-three pounds from a single tree. The manufacture of sugar from the sap of the maple was known to the Indians, for Jefferys, 1760, says that in Canada "this tree affords great quantities of a cooling and wholesome liquor from which they make a sort of sugar," and Jonathan Carver, in 1784, says the Nandowessies Indians of the West consume the sugar which they have extracted from the maple tree." In 1870, the Winnebagoes and Chippewas are said often to sell to the Northwest Fur Company fifteen thousand pounds of sugar a year. The sugar season among the Indians is a sort of carnival, and boiling candy and pouring it out on the snow to cool is the pastime of the children.


A. tataricum Linn. TARTARIAN MAPLE.
Orient.
The Calmucks, after depriving the seeds of their wings, boil them in water and afterwards use them for food, mixed with milk and butter.


Achillea millefolium Linn. Compositae. HUNDRED-LEAVED GRASS. MILFOIL. NOSEBLEED. SANGUINARY. THOUSAND-SEAL. YARROW.
Europe, Asia and America.
In some parts of Sweden, yarrow is said to be employed as a substitute for hops in the preparation of beer, to which it is supposed to add an intoxicating effect.


Achras (Manilkara) sapota Linn. Sapotaceae. NASEBERRY. SAPODILLA. SAPOTA.
South America.
This is a tree found wild in the forests of Venezuela and the Antilles. It has for a long time been introduced into the gardens of the West Indies and South America but has been recently carried to Mauritius, to Java, to the Philippines, and to the continent of India. The sapodilla bears a round berry covered with a rough, brown coat, hard at first, but becoming soft when kept a few days to mellow. The berry is about the size of a small apple and has from 6 to 12 cells with several seeds in each, surrounded by a pulp which in color, consistence, and taste somewhat resembles the pear but is sweeter. The fruit, when treeripe, is so full of milk that little rills or veins appear quite through the pulp, which is so acerb that the fruit cannot be eaten until it is as rotten as medlars. In India, Firminger says of its fruit: " a more luscious, cool and agreeable fruit is not to be met with in any country in the world; " and Brandis says: "one of the most pleasant fruits known when completely ripe." It is grown in gardens in Bengal.


Achyranthes bidentata Blume. Amaranthaceae.
Tropical Asia.
The seeds were used as food during a famine in Rajputana, India. Bread made from the seeds was very good. This was considered the best of all substitutes for the usual cereals.


Aciphylla glacialis F. Muell. Umbelliferae.
Australia.
This species is utilized as an alimentary root.


Aconitum lycoctonum Linn. Ranunculaceae. WOLFSBANE.
Middle and northern Europe.
The root is collected in Lapland and boiled for food. This species, says Masters in the Treasury of Botany, does not possess such virulent properties as others.


A. napellus Linn. ACONITE. BEAR'S-FOOT. FRIAR'S-CAP. HELMET-FLOWER. LUCKIE'S MUTCH. MONKSHOOD. SOLDIER'SCAP. TURK'S-CAP.
Northern temperate regions.
Cultivated in gardens for its flowers. A narcotic poison, aconite, is the product of this species and the plant is given by the Shakers of America as a medicinal herb. In Kunawar, however, the tubers are eaten as a tonic.


Acorus calamus Linn. Aroideae (Araceae) . MYRTLE FLAG. SWEET FLAG.
Northern temperate regions.
The rhizomes are used by confectioners as a candy, by perfumers in the preparation of aromatic vinegar, by rectifiers to improve the flavor of gin and to give a peculiar taste to certain varieties of beer. In Europe and America, the rhizomes are sometimes cut into slices and candied or otherwise made into a sweetmeat. These rhizomes are to be seen for sale on the street corners of Boston and are frequently chewed to sweeten the breath. In France it is in cultivation as an ornamental water plant.


A. gramineus Soland. GRASS-LEAVED SWEET FLAG.
Japan.
The root of this species is said to possess a stronger and more pleasant taste and smell than that of A. calamus. It is sometimes cultivated in gardens.


Acrocomia lasiospatha Mart. Palmae. MACAW. MUCUJA PALM.
West Indies and Brazil.
Its fruit is the size of an apricot, globular and of a greenish-olive color, with a thin layer of firm, edible pulp of an orange color covering the nut, and, though oily and bitter, is much esteemed and eagerly sought after by the natives. This is probably the macaw tree of Wafer.


A. mexicana Karw. COQUITO HABRASO. COYOLI PALM.
Mexico.
The fruit, in Mexico, is eaten by the inhabitants but is not much esteemed.


A. sclerocarpa Mart. MUCUJA PALM.
Tropics of America.
The young leaves of this palm are eaten as a vegetable. It is cultivated in British hot-houses. The fruit is the size of a crab and contains a sweet, edible kernel. The husks are full of oil.


Acronychia laurifolia Blume. Rutaceae. JAMBOL.
Tropics of Asia.
The black, juicy, sweetish-acid fruit is an esculent. In Cochin China the young leaves are put in salads. They have the smell of cumin and are not unpleasant. In Ceylon the berries are called jambol.


Actinidia callosa Lindl. Ternstroemiaceae (Actinidiacea). KOKUWA.
Japan and Manchuria.
This vine is common in all the valleys of Yesso and extends to central Nippon. It is vigorous in growth and fruits abundantly. The fruit is an oblong, greenish berry about one inch in length; the pulp is of uniform texture, seeds minute and skin thin. When fully ripe it possesses a very delicate flavor.


A. polygama Franch. & Sav.
Northern Japan.
This is somewhat less desirable than A. callosa, as it fruits less abundantly and the vine is not so rich in foliage.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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