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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Chaerophyllum bulbosum Linn. Umbelliferae. PARSNIP CHERVIL. TURNIP-ROOTED CHERVIL.
Europe and Asia Minor.
In Bavaria, this vegetable is found growing wild but is said to have been first introduced from Siberia. Burnett alludes to it as deleterious, but Haller affirms that the Kalmucks eat the roots with their fish and commend them as a nutritive and agreeable food. Booth says it is a native of France and, although known to British gardeners since its introduction in 1726, it is only within the last few years that attention has been directed to its culture as an esculent vegetable. In size and shape, the root attains the dimensions of a small Dutch carrot. It is outwardly of a grey color, but when cut the flesh is white, mealy and by no means unpleasant to the taste. F. Webster, consul at Munich, Bavaria, in 1864, sent some seed to this country and says: "The great value of this vegetable, as an acquisition to an American gardener, is not only its deliciousness to the epicure but the earliness of its maturity, fully supplying the place of potatoes." The seed is now offered in our seed catalogs. The wild plant is described by Camerarius, 1588 and by Clusius, 1601, and is also named by Bauhin, 1623. As a cultivated plant, it seems to have been first noted about 1855, when the root is described as seldom so large as a hazelnut, while in 1861 it had attained the size and shape of the French round carrot. This chervil appeared in American seed catalogs in 1884, or earlier, and was described by Burr for American gardens in 1863. It was known in England in 1726 but was not under culture.


C. tuberosum Royle.
In the Himalayas, the tuberous roots are eaten and are called sham.


Chamaedorea elegans Mart. Palmae.
South America.
The young, unexpanded flower-spikes are used as a vegetable.


C. tepejilote Liebm.
Mexico.
The flowers, when still enclosed in the spathes, are highly esteemed as a culinary vegetable.


Chamaerops humilis Linn. Palmae. DWARF FAN-PALM. PALMETTO.
West Mediterranean countries.
The young shoots or suckers from the bottom of the plant, called cafaglioni, are eaten by the Italians. In Barbary, the lower part of the young stems and the roots are eaten by the Moors.


Chelidonium sinense DC. Papaveraceae.
China.
The leaves were eaten as a food in China in the fourteenth century.


Chenopodium album Linn. Chenopodiaceae. LAMB'S QUARTER. PIGWEED. WHITE GOOSE-FOOT.
Temperate and tropical regions.
Remnants of this plant have been found in the early lake villages of Switzerland. In the Hebrides, it was observed by Lightfoot to be boiled and eaten as greens. In the United States, it is used as a spinach. The young, tender plants are collected by the Navajoes, the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, all the tribes of Arizona, the Diggers of California and the Utahs, and boiled as a spinach or are eaten raw. The seeds are gathered by many tribes, ground into a flour and made into a bread or mush.


C. ambrosioides Linn. MEXICAN TEA.
Temperate and tropical regions.
This herb is called in Mexican epazolt. The plant is cooked and eaten by the natives. It was called at Verona, in 1745, the allemand because drunk in infusion by the Germans. It seems to be indigenous to tropical America.


C. auricomum Lindl. AUSTRALIAN SPINACH.
Australia.
This plant is a native of the interior of Australia and has lately come into use in England as a substitute for spinach, according to J. Smith. Mueller calls this spinach palatable and nutritious.


C. bonus-henricus Linn. ALL GOOD. FAT HEN. GOOD-KINGHENRY. GOOSEFOOT. MERCURY. WILD SPINACH.
Europe, now sparingly naturalized around dwellings in the United States.
Under the curious names of fat-hen and good-king-Henry, this plant was formerly largely cultivated in the gardens in England as a potherb, and even in the beginning of the present century was still esteemed in Lincolnshire and some of the Midland counties but is now little used. Lightfoot says, in Scotland, the young leaves in the spring are often eaten as greens and are very good. Glasspoole says, in Lincolnshire, it was preferred to garden spinach, and the young shoots used to be peeled and eaten as asparagus. The plant is now but rarely cultivated. Gerarde speaks of it in 1597 as a wild plant only, while Ray, 1686, refers to it as frequently among vegetables. Bryant, 1783, says: "formerly cultivated in English gardens but of late neglected, although certainly of sufficient merit. In 1807, Miller's Gardener's Dictionary" says it is generally in gardens about Boston in Lincolnshire and is there preferred to spinach. It cannot ever have received very general culture as it is only indicated as a wayside plant by Tragus, 1552; Lobel, 1570 and 1576; Camerarius, 1586; Dalechamp, 1587; Matthiolus, 1598; and Chabraeus, 1677. Its value as an antiscorbutic finds recognition in its names, bonus Henricus and tota bona.


C. capitatum Aschers. ELITE. STRAWBERRY BLITE.
Northern and southern regions.
Gerarde says: "it is one of the potherbes that be unsavory or without taste, whose substance is waterish." The fruit, though insipid, is said formerly to have been employed in cookery. The leaves have a spinach-like flavor and may be used as a substitute for it. Unger says even the blite or strawberry spinach finds consumers for its insipid, strawberry-like fruit. The plant is found indigenous and common from Western New York to Lake Superior and northward. Blitum capitatum, if Linnaeus's synonymy can be trusted, was known to Bauhin, 1623, and by Ray, 1686. Miller's Gardener's Dictionary refers it to J. Bauhin who received the plant in 1651. The species was, during this time, little known outside of botanical gardens.


C. quinoa Willd. PETTY RICE. QUINOA.
South America.
This plant, indigenous to the Pacific slopes of the Andes, constituted the most important article of food of the inhabitants of New Granada, Peru and Chile at the time of the discovery of America, and at the present day is still extensively cultivated on account of its seeds, which are used extensively by the poorer inhabitants. There are several varieties, of which the white is cultivated in Europe as a spinach plant, rather than for its seeds. However prepared, the seed, says Thompson, is unpalatable to strangers. Gibbon, who saw the plant in Bolivia, says that when boiled like rice and eaten with milk, the seeds are very savory. Seeds from France but originally from Peru, were distributed from the United States Patent Office in 1854. Garcilasso de la Vegal says it was called quinua by the natives of Peru and mujo by the Spaniards. He says: "Both the Indians and the Spanish eat the tender leaf in their dishes, because they are savory and very wholesome. They also eat the grain in the soups, prepared in various ways." A black-seeded variety, cultivated in gardens, is mentioned by Feuille, in Peru, preceding 1725. It was introduced into France in 1785 but has not had very extended use. Molina says in Chile there is a variety called dahue by the Indians which has greyish leaves and produces a white grain. The grain of the quinua serves for making a very pleasant stomachic beverage; that of the dahue, on being boiled, lengthens out in the form of worms and is excellent in soup. The leaves are also eaten and are tender and of an agreeable taste.


Chiogenes (Gaultheria) serpyllifolia Salisb. Vacciniaceae (Ericaceae). CREEPING SNOWBERRY.
North America and Japan.
The berry is white, edible, juicy and of an agreeable, subacid taste with a pleasant checkerberry flavor. The Indians of Maine use the leaves of the creeping snowberry for tea.


Chloranthus inconspicuus Sw. Chloranthaceae.
China and Japan.
This plant furnishes the flowers which serve to scent some sorts of tea, particularly an expensive sort called chu-lan-cha.


Chlorogalum pomeridianum Kunth. Liliaceae. AMOLE. SOAPPLANT. WILD POTATO.
California.
The egg-shaped bulb is one to three inches in diameter. Cooking eliminates all the acrid properties, rendering the bulb good, wholesome food.


Chondodendron tomentosum Ruiz & Pav. Menispermaceae. WILD GRAPE.
Peru.
This plant is called by the Peruvians wild grape on account of the form of the fruit and its acid and not unpleasant flavor.


Chondrilla juncea Linn. Compositae.
Southern Europe and adjoining Asia.
This plant is mentioned by Dorotheus as good for cooking and for the stomach; it is enumerated by Pliny as among the esculent plants of Egypt.


C. prenanthoides Vill.
East Mediterranean countries and mountains of Yemen.
This plant is enumerated by Pliny as among the esculents of Egypt. Forskal says it is eaten raw in Yemen.


Chondrus crispus Lyngb. Rhodophyceae. CARRAGEEN. IRISH MOSS. PEARL MOSS.
This alga is found on the western coast of Ireland, England and Europe and also on the eastern coast of the United States.
It has been used as a food and medicine by the Irish peasants from time immemorial. It is collected for the market and is largely used as a food for invalids under the names carrageen, Irish moss and pearl moss.


Choretrum candollei F. Muell. Santalaceae. WILD CURRANTS.
A shrub bearing greenish-red berries which are called wild currants in New South Wales.
They have a pleasant, acid taste combined with a certain degree of astringency. Mixed with other fruit, they are used for preserves and in the preparation of cooling, acid beverages.


Chorispora tenella DC. Cruciferae.
Central Asia.
The leaves of this plant are described as a good, early salad by Pallas in his Travels in Russia.


Chrysanthemum balsamita Linn. Compositae. ALECOST. COSTMARY.
West Mediterranean countries.
This plant is common in every cottage garden in England, where it was introduced in 1568. The leaves possess a strong, balsamic odor and are sometimes put in salads but it has ceased to be grown for culinary purposes and even in France is only occasionally used. The leaves were formerly used in England to flavor ale and negus, hence the name alecost. In the United States, it is mentioned by Burr, 1863, who names one variety. It is grown in Constantinople.


C. leucanthemum Linn. MARGUERITE. OX-EYE DAISY. WHITE DAISY. WHITEWEED.
Europe.
Johnson says the leaves may be eaten as salad. The plant is the well-known flower of our fields, where it has become naturalized from Europe.


C. segetum Linn. CORN CHRYSANTHEMUM. CORN MARIGOLD.
Europe, north Africa and western Asia.
The stalks and leaves, "as Dioscorides saith, are eaten as other pot herbes are." In northern Japan and China, Miss Bird describes a cultivated form of chrysanthemum as occurring frequently in patches and says the petals are partially boiled and are eaten with vinegar as a dainty.


Chrysobalanus ellipticus Soland. Rosaceae (Chrysobalanaceae). COCO PLUM.
African tropics.
This plant bears a damson-sized fruit with a black, thin skin and is eaten.


C. icaco Linn. COCO PLUM.
African and American tropics.
This tree-like shrub, with its fruit similar to the damson, grows wild as well as cultivated in the forests along the shores of South America and in Florida. Browne says in Jamaica the fruit is perfectly insipid but contains a large nut inclosing a kernel of very delicious flavor. The fruits in the West Indies, prepared with sugar, form a favorite conserve with the Spanish colonists, and large quantities are annually exported from Cuba. On the African coast it occurs from the Senegal to the Congo. The fruit is eaten by the natives of Angola and, according to Montiero, is like a round, black-purple plum, tasteless and astringent. Sabine says: "the fruit is about the size of an Orleans plum but is rounder, of a yellow color, with a flesh soft and juicy, the flavor having much resemblance to that of noyau."


Chrysophyllum africanum A. DC. Sapotaceae.
African tropics.
This is a tall tree of Sierra Leone, whose fruit is in request.


C. argenteum Jacq.
Martinique.
The fruit, the size of a plum, contains a soft, bluish, edible pulp.


C. cainito Linn. STAR APPLE.
West Indies This tree has been cultivated from time immemorial in the West Indies but nowhere is found wild. It seems to have been observed by Cieza de Leon in his travels in Peru, 1532-50, and is called caymitos. Lunan says some trees bear fruit with a purple and some with a white skin and pulp, which when soft is like jelly, with milky veins and has a sweet and pleasant taste.


C. glabrum Jacq.
Martinique.
The fruit is blue, of the form and size of a small olive and is seldom eaten except by children.


C. michino H. B. & K.
New Granada.
The fruit is yellow outside, whitish and clammy inside and is very grateful.


C. microcarpum Sw.
Haiti.
The fruit is the size of a gooseberry, of a very sweet, delicious taste.


C. monopyrenum Sw. DAMSON PLUM OF JAMAICA.
West Indies.
The fruit is oval and about the size of a Bergamot pear. It contains a white, clammy juice when fresh, which, after being kept a few days, becomes sweet, and delicious. It frequently contains four or five black seeds about the size of pumpkin seeds.


C. obovatum Sabine.
African tropics.
The fruit is the size of an apple, with a short apex and is much inferior to the star apple of the West Indies.


C. pruniferum F. Muell.
Australia.
The fruit is of a plum-like appearance and is edible.


C. roxburghii G. Don. PITAKARA. STAR APPLE.
Asiatic tropics.
The fruit is greedily eaten by the natives. It is the size of a small crab, yellow when ripe, smooth and is greedily eaten although insipid. The pulp is tolerably firm but is exceedingly clammy, adhering to the lips or knife with great tenacity.


Chrysosplenium altemifolium Linn. Saxifrageae. GOLDEN SAXIFRAGE.
Europe, northern Asia and North America.
The leaves are eaten as a salad in the Vosges Mountains.


C. oppositifolium Linn.
Europe, northern Asia and East Indies.
In some countries, this plant is eaten as a salad.6 The leaves are eaten in salad and soup.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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