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  Section: Edible Plant Species
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Edible Plant Species

Cyamopsis psoraloides DC. Leguminosae.
East Indies.
This species is cultivated about Bombay for the sake of the pods which are eaten like French beans, and is grown also by the natives of Burma who esteem it a good vegetable. Wight "says" the young beans are with reason much prized by the natives as a culinary pulse and merit more attention from Europeans, as they are a pleasant and delicate vegetable."

Cyanella capensis Linn. Haemodoraceae (Techophilaeaceae).
South Africa.
A kind of onion is obtained from this plant and roasted for the table by the farmers of Kaffraria.

Cyathea dealbata Swartz. Cyatheaceae. SILVERY TREE-FERN.
The pith of this tree-fern is said to be eaten in New Zealand.

C. medullaris Swartz. BLACK-STEMMED TREE-FERN.
The pith of this plant, a coarse sago, is eaten in times of scarcity in New Zealand.
In the Voyage of the Novara it is said that the whole stalk, often 20 feet high, is edible and is sufficient to maintain a considerable number of persons. The pith, when cooked and dried in the sun, is an excellent substitute for sago. It is also to be found in Queensland and the Pacific isles.

Cycas circinalis Linn. Cycadaceae. SAGO PALM.
Tropical eastern Asia and the Malayan Archipelago.
Captain Cook speaks of the inhabitants of Prince Island eating the nuts, which poisoned his hogs and made some of the crew sick. He adds, however, that they are sliced and dried and after steeping in fresh water for three minutes and dried a second time they are eaten in times of scarcity as a food, mixed with rice. In Malabar, Drury says a kind of sago prepared from the nuts is much used by the poorer classes. Pickering says on the Comoro Islands it is a common esculent; Blanco says on the Philippines its fruit is sometimes eaten; Rumphius says it is eaten on the Moluccas; J. Smith 5 says a kind of sago is obtained from the stem.

C. revoluta Thunb.
Subtropical Japan.
Thunberg says a small morsel of the pith of the stem is sufficient to sustain life a long time and on that account the plant is jealously preserved for the use of the Japanese army. The drupes are also eaten. J. Smith says it occurs also in China and New Guinea. Cyclopia genistoides Vent. Leguminosae. BUSH TEA. South Africa. An infusion of its leaves is used as a tea.

C. subternata Vog.
South Africa.
This is also a tea substitute, according to Church.

Cymbidium canaliculatum R. Br. Orchideae.
The tubers of this plant are used by the blacks of Wide Bay.

Cymopterus fendleri A. Gray. Umbelliferae.
Texas and New Mexico.
This plant emits, when in decoction, a peculiarly strong and pleasant odor. It is sometimes used as a stuffing for mutton.

C. glomeratus DC.
Western states of North America.
The root is edible.

C. montanus Torr. & Gray. GAMOTE.
Western North America.
This plant is called by the Mexicans gamote or camote. The root is spindle-shaped, parsnip-like but much softer, sweeter and more tender than the parsnip. This root is collected largely by the Mexicans and also by the Ute and Piute Indians.

Cynara cardunculus Linn. Compositae. ARTICHOKE. CARDOON. CARDOON.
Mediterranean region and common in its wild form in southern Europe and a portion of central Asia.
Cardoon was known, according to Targioni-Tozzetti, to the ancient Romans and was cultivated for the leafstalks which were eaten. Some commentators say that both the Greeks and Romans procured this vegetable from the coast of Africa, about Carthage, and also from Sicily. Dioscorides mentions it. Pliny says it was much esteemed in Rome and obtained a higher price than any other garden herb. In more recent times, Ruellius, 1536, speaks of the use of the herb as a food, after the manner of asparagus. Matthiolus, 1558, says there are many varieties in the gardens which are commonly called cardoni by the Etruscans, and that, diligently cultivated, these are tender, crisp, and white and are eaten with salt and pepper. The plant is mentioned by Parkinson, 1629, under the name of Cardus esculentus but its introduction into England is stated to have been in 1656 or 1658.

Cardoon is now cultivated in but few English gardens. On the continent of Europe, it is regarded as a wholesome esculent and in France is much used, the stalks of the inner leaves, rendered crisp and tender by blanching, serving as a salad. Five varieties are esteemed there. Townsend, in his tour through Spain mentions that in some parts of that country they never use rennet for cheese but substitute the down of this plant from which they make an infusion. In the present day, the flowers of cardoon are carefully dried and used for the same purpose. McMahon includes it in his list of American esculents in 1806 and says "it has been a long time used for culinary purposes, such as for salads, soups and stewing. Thorburn includes it in his seed catalogs of 1828" and 1882. In the Banda Oriental, says Darwin, very many, probably several hundred, square miles are covered by one mass of these prickly plants and are impenetrable by man or beast. Over the undulating plains where these great beds occur, nothing else can now live. Vilmorin describes five varieties: the Cordon de Tours, the Cordon plein inerme, the Cordon d'Espagne, the Cardan Puvis, and the Cordon a cotes rouges.

The first of these, the Cordon de Tours, is very spiny and we may reasonably believe it tc be the sort figured by Matthiolus, 1598, under the name of Carduus aculeatus. It is named in French works on gardening in 1824, 1826 and 1829. Its English name is Prickly-Solid cardoon; in Spain it is called Cardo espinoso. It holds first place in the estimation of the market gardeners of Tours and Paris. The Cordon plein inerme is scarcely spiny, is a little larger than the preceding but otherwise closely resembles it. J. Bauhin had never seen spineless cardoons. It is spoken of in 1824 in French books on gardening. It is called, in England, Smooth-Solid cardoon and has also names in Germany, Italy and Spain.

The Cordon d'Espagne is very large and not spiny and is principally grown in the southern portions of Europe. We may resonably speculate that this is the sort named by Pliny as coming from Cordoba. Cordons d'Espagne have their cultivation described in Le Jardinier Solitaire, 1612. A "Spanish cardoon" is described by Townsend in England, 1726, and the same name is used by McMahon in America, 1806. This is the Cynara integrifolia of Vahl.

The Cordon Puvis, or Artichoke-leaved, is spineless and is grown largely in the vicinity of Lyons, France. It finds mention in the French books on gardening of 1824 and 1829, as previously enumerated. The Cordon a cotes rouges, or Red-stemmed, is so named from having the ribs tinged with red. It is called a recent sort by Burr in 1863.

From a botanical point of view we have two types in these plants, the armed and the unarmed; but these characters are by no means to be considered as very constant, as in the Smooth-Solid we have an intermediate form. From an olericultural point of view, we have but one type throughout but a greater or less perfection. A better acquaintance with the wild forms would, doubtless, show to us the prototypes of the variety differences as existing in nature.


The artichoke is a cultivated form of cardoon. To the ancient Romans, it was known only in the shape of cardoon. It seems quite certain that there is no description in Dioscorides and Theophrastus, among the Greeks, nor in Columella, Palladius and Pliny, among the Romans, but that can with better grace be referred to the cardoon than to the artichoke. To the writers of the sixteenth century, the artichoke and its uses were well known. Le Jardinier Solitaire, an anonymous work published in 1612, recommends three varieties for the garden. In Italy, the first record of the artichoke cultivated for the receptacle of the flowers was at Naples, in the beginning or middle of the fifteenth century. It was thence carried to Florence in 1466 and at Venice, Ermolao Barbaro who died as late as 1493, knew of only a single plant grown as a novelty in a private garden, although it soon after became a staple article of food over a great part of the peninsula. In France, three varieties are commonly grown. It seems to have been unknown in England, says Booth, until introduced from Italy in 1548 and is even now but little grown there, yet in France it is highly esteemed. In the United States, in 1806, McMahon mentions two species, C. scolymus, or French, and C. hortensis, or Globe. Of the second, he mentions two varieties. In 1818, the artichoke is mentioned by Gardiner and Hepburn and also by John Randolph of Virginia; in 1828, by Fessenden; and in 1832 by Bridge-man, who names two kinds. In 1828, Thorburn offers in his catalog the seeds of the Green Globe and in 1882 of the French Green Globe and the Large Paris. The parts used are the lower parts of the leaves or scales of the calyx and the fleshy receptacles of the flowers freed from the bristles and seed down. In France, where it is much esteemed, the tender, central leaf-stalk is blanched and eaten like cardoons.

The most prominent distinction between varieties as grown in the garden, is the presence or absence of spines. Although J. Bauhin, 1651, says that seed from the same plant may produce both sorts, probably this comes from cross-fertilization between the kinds, and the absence or presence of spines is a true distinction. Pragus describes both forms in 1552, as do the majority of succeeding writers.

A second division is made from the form of the heads, the conicalheaded and the globe.

Of the varieties sufficiently described by Vilmorin, four belong to this class and they are all spiny. This form seems to constitute the French artichoke of English writers. The following synonymy seems justifiable:
Scolymus. Trag. 866. 1552. cum ic.
Carduus, vulgo Carciofi. I. Matth. 322. 1558.
Carduus aculeatus. Cam. Epit. 438. 1586. cum ic; Matth. ed. of 1598. 496. cum ic.
Thistle, or Prickly Artichoke. Lyte's Dod. 603. 1586.
Cinara sylvestris. Ger. 291. 1597. fig.
Carduus sive Scolymus sativus, spinosos. Bauh. J. 3:48. 1651. cum ic.
Artichokes, Violet. Quintyne 187; 1693; 178. 1704.
Conical-headed Green French. Mawe 1778.
French Artichoke. Mill. Diet. 1807; Amer. Gard. Books 1806, 1819, 1828, 1832, etc.
Vert de Provence. Vilm. 16. 1883.
De Roscoff. Vilm. 1. c.
De Saint Laud. oblong. Vilm. 1. c.
Sucre de Genes. Vilm. 1. c.

To this form belong two of Vilmorin's varieties and various other varieties as described by other writers. The synonymy which seems to apply is:
Scolymus. Fuch. 792. 1542. cum ic.
Cardui alterum genus. Trag. 866. 1552.
Carduus, vulgo Carciofi. II. Matth. 322. 1558.
Carduus non aculeatus. Cam. Epit. 437. 1586. cum ic.; Matth. 497. 1598. cum ic.
Right artichoke. Lyte's Dod. 603. 1586.
Cinara maxima ex Anglia delata. Lob. Icon. 2:3. 1591.
Cinara maxima alba. Ger. 991. 1597. fig.
Cinara maxima anglica. Ger. 1. c.
Green or White. Quintyne 187. 1593; 178. 1704.
Red. Quintyne 1. c.
Globular-headed Red Dutch. Mawe 1778.
Globe Artichoke. Mill. Diet. 1807; Amer. Gard. Books 1806, 1819, 1828, etc.
Gros vert de Laon. Vilm. 1883.
Violet de Provence. Vilm. 1. c.

The color of the heads also found mention in the early writers. In the first division, the green is mentioned by Tragus, 1552; by Mawe, 1778; and by Miller's Dictionary, 1807; the purple by Quintyne, 1693. In the Globe class, the white is named by Gerarde, 1597; and by Quintyne, 1693; and the red by Gerarde, 1597; by Quintyne, 1693; and by Mawe, 1778; and Parkinson, 1629, named the red and the white.

The so-called wild plants of the herbalists seem to offer like variations to those we have noted in the cultivated forms, but the difficulty of identification renders it inexpedient to state a fixed conclusion. The heads are certainly no larger now than they were 250 years ago, for the Hortus Eystettensis figures one 15 inches in diameter. The long period during which the larger part of the present varieties have been known seems to justify the belief that modern origination has not been frequent. Le Jardinier Solitaire, 1612, describes early varieties, le blanc, le rouge and le violet. Worlidge, 1683, says there are several kinds, and he names the tender and the hardy sort. McMahon names the French and two varieties of the Globe in America in 1806. In 1824, in France, there were the blanc, rouge, violet and the gros vert de Laon. Petit 1826, adds Sucre de genes to the list. Noisette, 1829, adds the camus de Brittany.

The name given by Ruellius to the artichoke in France, 1536, is articols, from the Italian articoclos. He says it comes from arcocum of the Ligurians, cocali signifying the cone of the pine. The Romans call it carchiophos. The plant and the name came to France from Italy.

C. integrifolia Vahl. SPANISH CARDOON.
The plants are of large size, the midribs being very succulent and solid.

Cynoglossum sp. Boragineae. HOUND'S TONGUE.
Hooker says one species is used as a potherb.

Cynometra cauliflora Linn. Leguminosae. NAM-NAM.
East Indies and Malays.
The fruit in shape resembles a kidney. It is about three inches long and the outside is very rough. It is seldom eaten raw but, fried with batter, it makes a good fritter. Wight says the fruit is much esteemed in the Eastern Islands.

Cyperus bulbosus Vahl. Cyperaceae.
Africa and East Indies.
Drury says the roots are used as flour in times of scarcity in India and are eaten roasted or boiled, tasting like potatoes. Royle says they are palatable.

South Europe and north Africa;
introduced in America and now runs wild on the banks of the Delaware and other rivers from Pennsylvania to Carolina. The roots are very sweet and are eaten by children. The chufa was distributed from the United States Patent Office in 1854 and has received a spasmodic culture in gardens. It is much cultivated in southern Europe, Asia and Africa, becoming of importance at Valence, in Galicia, and in the environs of Rosetta and Damietta, Egypt. In Hungary, it is grown for the seeds, to be used as a coffee substitute, but in general for its tubers which are sweet, nutty and palatable. These bulbs, says Bryant, are greatly esteemed in Italy and some parts of Germany and are frequently brought to table by way of dessert. At Constantinople, the tubers appear in the markets and are eaten raw or made into a conserve. Gerarde, 1633, speaks of their extensive use in Italy, and of their being hawked about the streets and, at Verona, eaten as dainties. They now appear in the English markets under the name of Zulu nuts. The chufa must also have been esteemed in ancient times, for tubers have been found in Egyptian tombs of the twelfth dynasty, or from 2200 to 2400 years before Christ. Notwithstanding the long continued culture of this plant, there are no varieties described.

C. papyrus Linn. PAPYRUS.
Sicily, Syria and tropical Africa.
This plant is the ancient papyrus. Hogg says it was used as food by the ancients, who chewed it either raw, boiled or roasted, for the sake of its sweet juice.

C. rotundus Linn. NUT GRASS.
The tubers are eaten by the North American Indians. Cyphia sp.? Campanulaceae. South Africa. The Hottentots are said to eat the tuberous roots of at least one species of these herbaceous, twining plants.

C. digitata Wild.
South Africa.
The roots are bulbous, esculent, and fleshy.2 Cyphomandra hartwegi Sendt. Solanaceae. New Granda. The berry is reddish, about the size of a pigeon's egg and is two-celled. It appears to be the fruit sold in the markets of Lima, where it is commonly used for cooking in lieu of the ordinary tomato, the flavor of which it resembles. Tweddie says it is used in Buenos Aires.

Cytisus scoparius Link. Leguminosae, BROOM. SCOTCH BROOM.
Middle Europe.
Before the introduction of hops, says Johnson, broom tops were often used to communicate a slightly bitter flavor to beer. The young flower-buds are occasionally pickled and used as a substitute for capers. The seeds, when roasted, are used as a coffee substitute in France.

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