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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Crambe cordifolia Stev. Cruciferae. COLEWORT.
Persia and the Caucasus to Thibet and the Himalayas.
The root and foliage afford an esculent.


C. maritima Linn. SEA KALE. SCURVY GRASS.
This plant is found growing upon the sandy shores of the North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and of the Mediterranean Sea. It appears to have been known to the Romans, who gathered it in a wild state and preserved it in barrels for use during long voyages. Although Crambe is recorded by Pena and Lobel, Dalechamp, Gerarde, and Ray as wild on the coast of Britain and as fit for food, yet it was brought into English culture from Italy, a few years preceding 1765, and the seed sold at a high price as a rarity. In 1778, it is said to "be now cultivated in many gardens as a choice esculent;" in 1795, it was advertised in the London market. According to Heuze, it was first cultivated in France by Quintyne, gardener to Louis XIV, but it is not mentioned in Quintyne of 1693; it, however, is mentioned by the French works on gardening of 1824 and onward. Parkinson notices it in England in 1629 and Bryant does also, about 1783, but Philip Miller first wrote upon it as an esculent in 1731, saying the people of Sussex gather the wild plants in the spring.
It is recorded that bundles of it were exposed for sale in the Chichester markets in 1753 but it was not known about London until 1767. In 1789, Lightfoot speaks of "the young leaves covered up with sand and blanched while growing," constituting when boiled a great delicacy. Sea kale is now very popular in English markets and is largely used in France, the blanched stems and leaf-stalks being the parts used. It is mentioned by McMahon, 1609, in his list of American esculents. In 1809, John Lowell, Roxbury, Massachusetts, cultivated it and in 1814 introduced it to the notice of the public. In 1828, Thorbum, in his seed catalog of that year, says it "is very little known in the United States, though a most excellent garden vegetable and highly deserving of cultivation." The same might be said now, although its seeds are advertised for sale in all leading seed lists.


C. orientalis Linn.
Asia Minor and Persia.
Pallas says the Russians use it. Its roots resemble those of horseradish, but they are often thicker than the human arm. The root is dug for the use of the table as a substitute for horseradish, and the younger stalks may be dressed in the same manner as broccoli.


C. tatarica Jacq. TARTAR BREAD-PLANT.
Eastern Europe and northern Asia.
This is a plant of the steppes region along the Lower Danube, Dneiper and the Don. The root is fleshy, sweet and the thickness of a man's arm. It is eaten raw as a salad in Hungary, as well as cooked, as is the case with the young shoots of the stem. In times of famine, it has been used as bread in Hungary and, says Unger, it is probable that it was the chara caesaris which the soldiers of Julius Caesar used as bread.


Craniolaria annua Linn. Pedalineae (Martyniaceae).
Tropical America.
The fleshy and sweet root is preserved in sugar by the Creoles as a delicacy.


Crataegus aestivalis Torr & Gray. Rosaceae. CRATAEGUS.
North America.
The tree bears a juicy, pleasant-flavored fruit which is much used. The fruit is said by Elliott to be large, red, acid and used for tarts and preserves.


C. azarolus Linn. AZAROLE.
Asia Minor and Persia.
Azarole is much cultivated for its fruits, which are the size of a cherry, red, with sometimes a tinge of yellow, and are said to have a very agreeable flavor. The fruit is eaten in Sicily, in Italy and the Levant, being sometimes served as dessert, and is much used for preserves. It is common about Jerusalem, where its fruit is collected for preserves. It is, according to Stackhouse, the mespile anthedon of Theophrastus.


C. coccinea Linn.
Eastern United States.
Gray says the fruit is scarcely eatable. Elliott says the fruit is red, large and eatable. The fruit is eaten fresh or mingled with choke cherries and service berries and is pressed into cakes and dried for winter use by the western Indians. The small, purplish fruits are edible.


C. douglasii Lindl.
Michigan and the Northwest.
This species bears a small, sweet, black fruit ripening in August. It is largely collected by the Indians.


C. flava. SUMMER HAW. YELLOW-FRUITED THORN.
North America.
The fruit is said by Elliott to be oval, red and well flavored.


C. orientalis Bieb. EASTERN THORN.
Greece and Asia Minor.
In the Crimea, this species bears little apples, sometimes of a bright yellow and at other times of a lively red color, an agreeable fruit, much improved by grafting.


C. oxyacantha Linn. HAWTHORN. QUICK. QUICK-SET THORN. WHITE THORN.
Europe and temperate Asia.
The fruit is said by Don to be mealy, insipid, dark red and occasionally yellow. Johnson says it is seldom eaten in England except by children. Lightfoot says that when thoroughly ripe it is eaten by the Highlanders. In Kamchatka, the natives eat the fruits and make a kind of wine by fermenting them with water. In India, says Brandis, the tree is cultivated for its fruit.


C. parvifolia Ait. DWARF THORN.
North America.
The greenish-yellow fruit is eatable.


C. pentagyna Waldst. & Kit.
Europe and Asia.
The plant grows wild in the hills west of Pekin. The red fruit is much larger than the ordinary crataegus; it is collected and an excellent sweetmeat is prepared therefrom.


C. pubescens Steud.
Mexico.
A jelly is made from the fruit, resembling that of the quince.


C. sanguinea Pall.
Russia and Siberia.
In Germany, this species yields edible fruits.


C. subvillosa Schrad.
Eastern Asia and North America.
The large, red fruit, often downy, is edible and of an agreeable flavor.


C. tanacetifolia Pers.
Armenia.
The fruit resembles a small apple, about an inch in diameter, and is eaten in Armenia. The Armenians relish the fruits, which resemble small apples, with five roundings like the ribs of a melon, a little hairy, pale green inclining to yellow, with a raised navel of five leaves.


C. tomentosa Linn. BLACK THORN. PEAR THORN.
Eastern United States.
This species is said, in the Michigan Pomological Society's catalog of 1879, to bear an edible fruit, often of pleasant flavor but which varies much in quality. Probably, this is the "hawes of white thorn neere as good as our cherries in England," noted by Rev. Francis Higginson. Wood says: "The white thorn affords hawes as big as an English cherrie which is esteemed above a cherrie for his goodneese and pleasantnesse to the taste." Josselyn says of it: " Hawthorn: the berries being as big as services and very good to eat and not so stringent as the hawes in England." The fruit is somewhat hard and tough but is eatable and rather agreeable to the taste.


Crateva magna DC. Capparideae.
Cochin China.
The roundish, ash-colored fruits are eatable.


C. obovata Vahl.
Madagascar.
The fruit is eatable.


C.religiosa Forst. f.
Old World tropics.
In equatorial Africa, the fresh shoots are made into spinach and the young branches into tooth-scrubbers. In India, this plant furnishes food for man.


C. tapia Linn. GARLIC PEAR.
South America.
The fruit is edible but not very good. It is the size of a small orange, eatable but not pleasant. In Jamaica, the fruit is spherical, orange-sized, with a hard, brown shell, a mealy pulp like that of a pear, sweetish, smelling like garlic, and near the center there are many kidney-shaped seeds. It is edible but not very pleasant.


Crescentia cujete Linn. Bignoniaceae. CALABASH TREE.
Tropical America.
The fruit of this tree resembles a gourd. The plant is found wild or cultivated in various parts of tropical America and in the West Indies. The hard, woody shell of the fruit is made to serve many useful domestic purposes in the household economy of the people of these countries, such as basins, cups, spoons, water-bottles and pails. Wafer, apparently, speaks of this tree and of C. cucurbitina during his visit to the Isthmus, 1679-86: "There are two sorts of these trees but the difference is chiefly in the fruit; that of the one being sweet, the other bitter. The substance of both is spongy and juicy. That of the sweeter sort does not incline to a tart, sourish taste. The Indians, however, eat them frequently on a march, tho they are not very delightful. They only suck out the juice and spit out the rest. The bitter sort is not eatable." Henfrey says the subacid pulp of the fruit is eaten; Seemann, that it affords food to the negroes. Nuttall says the plant is found at Key West, Florida, and that the fruit is eaten by the Indians in time of scarcity while the unripe fruit is candied with sugar.


Crithmum maritimum Linn. Umbelliferae. SAMPHIRE. SEA FENNEL.
Europe.
This is a seaside plant, found on rocky shores from the Crimea to Land's End, England, and extends even to the Caucasus. The whole plant is "of a spicie taste with a certaine saltnesse" on which account it has been long held in great repute as an ingredient in salads. It was declared by Gerarde to be "the pleasantest sauce." Samphire is cultivated in English gardens for its seed pods, which make a warm, aromatic pickle, and for its leaves, which are used in salads, but it is oftener collected from the shores. In Jamaica, as Titford declares, it forms an agreeable and wholesome pickle. In France, it is cultivated for its leaves which, pickled with vinegar, enter into salads and seasonings. The first mention of its culture is by Quintyne, in France, 1690; it is again mentioned by Stevenson, in England, 1765; and its use as a potherb by the poor, as well as a pickle, is noticed by Bryant8 1783. It is noticed in American gardens in 1821.


Crocus cancellatus Herb. Irideae.
Asia Minor.
This plant is said by Linger to be brought to market in Damascus, when the bulb is about sprouting, and is much prized as a vegetable.


C. sativus Linn. SAFFRON.
Greece and Asia Minor.
This plant was formerly cultivated in England and is now spontaneous. It is cultivated in Austria, France and Spain for the deep, orange-colored stigmas of the flowers, which are used for coloring. It was not cultivated in France before the Crusades, the bulbs from Avignon being introduced about the end of the fourteenth century. Loudon says saffron is used in sauces and for coloring by the Spaniards and Poles. In England and France, it enters into creams, biscuits, preserves and liquors and is used for coloring butter and cheese. The Mongols use it in cooking. Under the Hebrew name, carcom, the plant is alluded to by Solomon; and as krokos, by Homer, Hippocrates, Theophrastus and Theocritus. Virgil and Columella mention it and Cilicia and Sicily are both alluded to by Dioscorides and Pliny as localities celebrated for this drug. Throughout the middle ages, frequent notices are found of its occurrence in commerce and in cultivation.


Crotalaria glauca Willd. Leguminosae.
African tropics.
The people of Madi eat its flowers, pods and leaves as spinach.


C. laburnifolia Linn.
Asiatic tropics.
This is an upright, perennial plant, bearing short, black and light brown beans the size of soy beans. It is sometimes cultivated.


Croton corymbulosus Rothr. Euphorbiaceae. CHAPARRAL TEA. ENCENILLA.
North America.
An infusion of the flowering tops makes a very palatable drink, one much used by the Mexicans and Indians as well as by colored (U. S.) soldiers who prefer it to coffee.


Cryptocarya moschata Nees & Mart. Lauraceae. BRAZILIAN NUTMEG.
Brazil.
This tree produces the spice known as Brazilian nutmegs.


C. peumus Nees.
Chile.
The fruit is edible.


Cryptotaenia canadensis DC. Umbelliferae. HONEWORT.
North America.
This species is very generally cultivated in Japan. The tips are used as greens and to flavor soups; the blanched stems are used as a salad and a potherb; the root also is utilized.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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