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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Boerhaavia repens Linn. Nyctagineae. HOG-WEED.
Cosmopolitan tropics.
According to Ainslie, the leaves are eaten in India, and Graham says in the Deccan it is sometimes eaten by the natives as greens. It is a common and troublesome weed of India. The young leaves are eaten by the natives as greens and made into curries.


Bomarea edulis Herb. Amaryllideae (Alstroemeriaceae). WHITE JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE.
Tropical America.
The roots are round and succulent and when boiled are said to be a light and delicate food. A farinaceous or mealy substance is also made of them, from which cream is made, wholesome and very agreeable to the taste. The roots are sold under the name of white Jerusalem artichoke.


B. glaucescens Baker.
Ecuador.
The fruit is sought after by children on account of a sweet, gelatinous pulp, resembling that of the pomegranate, in which the seeds are imbedded.


B. salsilla Mirb.
Chile.
The tubers are available for human food.


Bombax ceiba Linn. Malvaceae (Bombacaceae). GOD-TREE. SILKCOTTON TREE.
South America.
The leaves and buds, when young and tender, are very mucilaginous, like okra, and are boiled as greens by the negroes of Jamaica. The fleshy petals of the flowers are sometimes prepared as food by the Chinese. The tree is called god-tree in the West Indies, where it is native.


B. malabaricum DC. COTTON TREE.
East Indies, Malay and China.
The calyx of the flower-bud is eaten as a vegetable.


B. septenatum Jacq.
Tropical America.
The plant furnishes a green vegetable.


Bongardia rauwolfii C. A. Mey. Berberideae (Leonticaceae).
Greece and the Orient.
This plant was noticed as early as 1573 by Rauwolf, who spoke of it as the true chrysogomum of Dioscorides. The Persians roast or boil the tubers and use them as food, while the leaves are eaten as are those of sorrel.


Boottia (Ottelia) cordata Wall. Hydrocharitaceae.
A water plant of Burma.
All the green parts are eaten by the Burmese as pot-herbs, for which purpose they are collected in great quantity and carried to the market at Ava.


Boquila trifoliata Decne. Berberideae (Lardizabalaceae).
Chile.
The berries, about the size of a pea, are eaten in Chile. It is commonly called in Chile, baquil-blianca.


Borago officinalis Linn. Boragineae. BORAGE. COOL-TANKARD. TALEWORT.
Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor.
This plant has been distributed throughout the whole of southern and middle Europe even in the humblest gardens and is now cultivated likewise in India, North America and Chile. Its leaves and flowers were used by the ancient Greeks and Romans for cool tankards. The Greeks called it euphrosynon, for, when put in a cup of wine, it made those who drank it merry. It has been used in England since the days of Parkinson. In Queen Elizabeth's time, both the leaves and flowers were eaten in salads. It is at present cultivated for use in cooling drinks and is used by some as a- substitute for spinach. The leaves contain so much nitre that when dry they bum like match paper. The leaves also serve as a garnish and are likewise pickled. In India, it is cultivated by Europeans for use in country beer to give it a pleasant flavor. Borage is enumerated by Peter Martyr as among the plants cultivated at Isabela Island by the companions of Columbus. It appears in the catalogs of our American seedsmen and is mentioned by almost all of the earlier writers of gardening. The flowering parts of borage are noted or figured by nearly all of the ancient herbalists.


Borassus flabellifer Linn. Palmae. DOUB PALM. PALMYRA PALM. TALA PALM. WINE PALM.
A common tree in a large part of Africa south of the Sahara and of tropical eastern Asia.
The fruits, but still more the young seedlings, which are raised on a large scale for that purpose, are important as an article of food. Livingstone says the fibrous pulp around the large nuts is of a sweet, fruity taste and is eaten. The natives bury the nuts until the kernels begin to sprout; when dug up and broken, the inside resembles coarse potatoes and is prized in times of scarcity as nutritious food. During several months of the year, palm wine, or sura, is obtained in large quantities and when fresh is a pleasant drink, somewhat like champagne, and not at all intoxicating, though, after standing a few hours, it becomes highly so. Grant says on the Upper Nile the doub palm is called by the negroes m'voomo, and the boiled roots are eaten in famines by the Wanyamwezi.

The Palmyra palm is cultivated in India. The pulp of the fruit is eaten raw or roasted, and a preserve is made of it in Ceylon. The unripe seeds and particularly the young plant two or three months old are an important article of food. But the most valuable product of the tree is the sweet sap which runs from the peduncles, cut before flowering, and is collected in bamboo tubes or in earthern pots tied to the cut peduncle. Nearly all of the sugar made in Burma and a large proportion of that made in south India is the produce of this palm. The sap is also fermented into toddy and distilled. Drury says the fruit and fusiform roots are used as food by the poorer classes in the Northern Circars. Firminger says the insipid, gelatinous, pellucid pulp of the fruit is eaten by the natives but is not relished by Europeans. A good preserve may, however, be made from it and is often used for pickling.


Borbonia (Aspalathus) cordata Linn. Leguminosae.
South Africa.
At the Cape of Good Hope, in 1772, Thunberg found the country people making tea of the leaves.


Boscia senegalensis Lam. Capparideae.
African tropics.
The seeds are eaten by the negroes of the Senegal.


Boswellia frereana Birdw. Burseraceae.
Tropics of Africa.
Though growing wild, the trees are carefully watched and even sometimes propagated. The resin is used in the East for chewing as is that of the mastic tree.


B. serrata Roxb. FRANKINCENSE TREE.
India.
In times of famine, the Khnoods and Woodias live on a soup made from the fruit of this tree.


Botrychium virginianum Swartz. Ophioglossaceae. RATTLESNAKE FERN.
This large, succulent fern is boiled and eaten in the Himalayas as well as in New Zealand.


Boucerosia (Caralluma) incamata N. E. Br. Asclepiadeae.
South Africa.
The Hottentots eat it, says Thunberg, after peeling off the edges and prickles.


Bouea burmanica Griff'. Anacardiaceae.
Burma.
The fruit is eaten, that of one variety being intensely sour, of another insipidly sweet.


Bourreria succulenta Jacq. Boragineae (Ehretiaceae). CURRANT TREE.
West Indies.
The berries are the size of a pea, shining, saffron or orangecolored, pulpy, sweet, succulent and eatable.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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