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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Babiana plicata Ker-Gawl. Iridaceae. BABOON-ROOT.
South Africa.
The root is sometimes boiled and eaten by the colonists at the Cape.


Baccaurea dulcis Muell. Euphorbiaceae.
Malayan Archipelago; cultivated in China.
The fruits of this species are rather larger than a cherry, nearly round and of a yellowish color. The pulp is luscious and sweet and is greatly eaten in Sumatra, where the tree is called choopah and in Malacca, where it goes by the name of rambeh.


B. sapida Muell.
East Indies and Malay.
This plant is cultivated for its agreeable fruits. The Hindus call it lutqua


Baccaurea. sp.
India.
Royle says the plant yields the tampui, a fruit ranking in point of taste and flavor along with the lausch.


Bactris gasipaes H. B. & K. Palmae. PEACH PALM.
Venezuela.
On the Amazon, says Bates, this plant does not grow wild but has been cultivated from time immemorial by the Indians. The fruit is dry and mealy and may be compared in taste to a mixture of chestnuts and cheese. Bunches of sterile or seedless fruit sometimes occur at Ega and at Para. It is one of the principal articles of food at Ega when in season and is boiled and eaten with treacle and salt. Spencer compares the taste of the mealy pericarp, when cooked, to a mixture of potato and chestnut but says it is superior to either. Seemann says in most instances the seed is abortive, the whole fruit being a farinaceous mass. Humboldt says every cluster contains from 50 to 80 fruits, yellow like apples but purpling as they ripen, two or three inches in diameter, and generally without a kernel; the farinaceous portion is as yellow as the yolk of an egg, slightly saccharine and exceedingly nutritious. He found it cultivated in abundance along the upper Orinoco. In Trinidad, the peach palm is said to be very prolific, bearing two crops a year, at one season the fruit all seedless and another season bearing seeds. The seedless fruits are highly appreciated by natives of all classes.


B. major Jacq. PRICKLY PALM.
West Indies.
The fruit is the size of an egg with a succulent, purple coat from which wine may be made. The nut is large, with an oblong kernel and is sold in the markets under the name of cocorotes.


B. maraja Mart. MARAJA PALM.
Brazil.
This palm has a fruit of a pleasant, acid flavor from which a vinous beverage is prepared.


B. minor Jacq. PRICKLY POLE. TOBAGO CANE.
Jamaica.
The fruit is dark purple, the size of a cherry and contains an acid juice which Jacquin says is made into a sort of wine. The fruit is edible but not pleasant.


Bagassa guianensis Aubl. Urticaceae (Moraceae).
Guiana.
The tree bears an orange-shaped edible fruit.


Balanites aegyptica Delile. Simarubaceae (Balanitaceae). ZACHUN-OIL TREE.
Northern Africa, Arabia and Palestine.
A shrubby, thorny bush of the southern border of the Sahara from the Atlantic to Hindustan. It is called in equatorial Africa m'choonchoo; the edible drupe tastes like an intensely bitter date.


Balsamorhiza hookeri Nutt. Compositae. BALSAM-ROOT.
Northwestern America.
The thick roots of this species are eaten raw by the Nez Perce Indians and have, when cooked, a sweet and rather agreeable taste.


B. sagittata Nutt. OREGON SUNFLOWER.
Northwestern America.
The roots are eaten by the Nez Perce Indians in Oregon, after being cooked on hot stones. They have a sweet and rather agreeable taste. Wilkes mentions the Orgeon sunflower of which the seeds, pounded into a meal called mielito, are eaten by the Indians of Puget Sound.


Bambusa. Gramineae.
In India, the Bambusa flowers so frequently that in Mysore and Orissa the seeds are mixed with honey and eaten like rice.
The farina of the seeds is eaten in China. In Amboina, in the East Indies, the young bamboo shoots, cut in slices and pickled, are used as a provision for long voyages and are sold in the markets as a culinary vegetable. In the Himalayas, the young shoots are eaten as a vegetable, and the seeds of a variety called praong in Sikldm are boiled and made into cakes or into beer. Williams says: "In China the tender shoots are cultivated for food and are, when four or five inches high, boiled, pickled, and comfited." Fortune says: "In China the young shoots are cultivated for food and are taken to market in large quantities."


B. arundinacea Willd. BAMBOO.
East Indies.
The seeds of this and other species of Bambusa have often saved the lives of thousands in times of scarcity in India, as in Orissa in 1812, in Kanara in 1864 and in 1866 in Malda. The plant bears whitish seed, like rice, and Drury says these seeds are eaten by the poorer classes.


B. tulda Roxb. BAMBOO.
East Indies and Burma.
In Bengal, the tender young shoots are eaten as pickles by the natives.


Banisteria (Heteroptyrys) crotonifolia A. Juss. Malpighiaceae.
Brazil.
The fruit is eaten in Brazil.


Baptisia tinctoria R. Br. Leguminosae. HORSE-FLY WEED. WILD INDIGO.
Northeastern America.
Barton says the young shoots of this plant, which resemble asparagus in appearance, have been used in New England as a substitute for asparagus.


Barbarea arcuata Reichb. Cruciferae. BITTER CRESS.
Europe and Asia.
The plant serves as a bitter cress.


B. praecox R. Br. AMERICAN CRESS. BELLE ISLE CRESS. EARLY WINTER CRESS. LAND CRESS. SCURVY GRASS.
Europe.
This cress is occasionally cultivated for salad in the Middle States under the name scurvy grass and is becoming spontaneous farther south. It is grown in gardens in England as a cress and is used in winter and spring salads. In Germany, it is generally liked. In the Mauritius, it is regular cultivation and is known as early winter cress. In the United States, its seeds are offered in seed catalogs.


B. vulgaris R. Br. ROCKET. WINTER CRESS. YELLOW ROCKET.
Europe and temperate Asia.
This herb of northern climates has been cultivated in gardens in England for a long time as an early salad and also in Scotland, where the bitter leaves are eaten by some. In early times, rocket was held in some repute but is now banished from cultivation yet appears in gardens as a weed. The whole herb, says Don, has a nauseous, bitter taste and is in some degree mucilaginous. In Sweden, the leaves are boiled as a kale. In New Zealand, the plant is used by the natives as a food under the name, toi. Rocket is included in the list of American garden esculents by McMahon, in 1806. In 1832, Bridgeman says winter cress is used as a salad in spring and autumn and by some boiled as a spinage.


Barringtonia alba Blume. Myrtaceae (Barringtoniaceae). BOTTLEBRUSH TREE.
Moluccas.
The young leaves are eaten raw.


B. butonica Forst.
Islands of the Pacific.
This plant has oleaginous seeds and fruits which are eaten green as vegetables.


B. careya F. Muell.
Australia.
The fruit is large, with an adherent calyx and is edible.


B. edulis Seem.
Fiji Islands.
The rather insipid fruit is eaten either raw or cooked by the natives.


B. excelsa Blume.
India, Cochin China and the Moluccas.
The fruit is edible and the young leaves are eaten cooked and in salad.


Basella rubra Linn. Chenopodiaceae (Basellaceae. MALABAR NIGHTSHADE.
Tropical regions.
This twining, herbaceous plant is cultivated in all parts of India, and the succulent stems and leaves are used by the natives as a pot-herb in the way of spinach. In Burma, the species is cultivated and in the Philippines is seemingly wild and eaten by the natives. It is also cultivated in the Mauritius and in every part of India, where it occurs wild. Malabar nightshade was introduced to Europe in 1688 and was grown in England in 1691, but these references can hardly apply to the vegetable garden. It is, however, recorded in French gardens in 1824 and 1829. It is grown in France as a vegetable, a superior variety having been introduced from China in 1839. According to Livingstone, it is cultivated as a pot-herb in India. It is a spinach plant which has somewhat the odor of Ocimum basilicum. The species is cultivated in almost every part of India as a spinach, and an infusion of the leaves in used as tea. It is called Malabar nightshade by Europeans of India.


Bassia (Madhuca) butyracea Roxb. Sapotaceae. INDIAN-BUTTER. PHOOLWA-OIL PLANT.
East Indies.
The pulp of the fruit is eatable. The juice is extracted from the flowers and made into sugar by the natives. It is sold in the Calcutta bazaar and has all the appearance of date sugar, to which it is equal if not superior in quality. An oil is extracted from the seeds, and the oil cake is eaten as also is the pure vegetable butter which is called chooris and is sold at a cheap rate.


B. latifolia Roxb. EPIE. MAHOUA. YALLAH-OIL PLANT.
East Indies.
The succulent flowers fall by night in large quantities from the tree, are gathered early in the morning, dried in the sun and sold in the bazaars as an important article of food. They have a sickish, sweet taste and smell and are eaten raw or cooked. The ripe and unripe fruit is also eaten, and from the fruit is expressed an edible oil.


B. longifolia Linn. ILLUPIE-OIL PLANT. ILPA.
East Indies.
The flowers are eaten by the natives of Mysore, either dried, roasted, or boiled to a jelly. The oil pressed from the fruits is to the common people of India a substitute for ghee and cocoanut oil in their curries.


Batis maritima Linn. Batidaceae. JAMAICA SAMPHIRE. SALTWORT.
Jamaica.
This low, erect, succulent plant is used as a pickle.


Bauhinia esculenta Burch. Leguminosae.
South Africa.
The root is sweet and nutritious.


B. lingua DC.
Moluccas.
This species is used as a vegetable.


B. malabarica Roxb.
East Indies and Burma.
The acid leaves are eaten.


B. purpurea Linn.
East Indies, Burma and China.
The flower-buds are pickled and eaten as a vegetable.


B. tomentosa Linn. ST. THOMAS' TREE.
Asia and tropical Africa.
The seeds are eaten in the Punjab, and the leaves are eaten by natives of the Philippines as a substitute for vinegar.


B. vahlii Wight & Am. MALOO CREEPER.
East Indies.
The pods are roasted and the seeds are eaten. Its seeds taste, when ripe, like the cashew-nut.


B. variegata Linn. MOUNTAIN EBONY.
East Indies, Burma and China.
There are two varieties, one with purplish, the other with whitish flowers. The leaves and flower-buds are eaten as a vegetable and the flower-buds are often pickled in India.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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