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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Dialium guineese Willd. Leguminosae. VELVET TAMARIND.
Tropical Africa.
The pod, about the size and form of a filbert, is covered with a black, velvety down, while the farinaceous pulp, which surrounds the seeds, has an agreeably acid taste and is commonly eaten.


D. indum Linn. TAMARIND PLUM.
Java.
The plant has a delicious pulp, resembling that of the tamarind but not quite so acid.


D. ovoideum Thw.
Ceylon.
The fruits are sold in the bazaars. They have an agreeable, acid flavor.


Dicypellium caryophyllatum Nees. Lauraceae.
Tropical America.
The bark furnishes clove cassia. It is called by French colonists bois de rose; in Carib, licari kanah.


Dieffenbachia seguine Schott. Aroideae (Araceae). DUMB CANE.
Tropical America.
A wholesome starch is prepared from the stem, although the juice of the plant is so excessively acrid as to cause the mouth of any one biting it to swell and thus to prevent articulation for several days.


Digera arvensis Forsk. Amaranthaceae.
Asia and tropical Africa.
A very common, procumbent shrub of India, frequent in cultivated ground. The leaves and tender tops are used by the natives in their curries.


Dillenia indica Linn. Dilleniaceae.
Tropical Asia.
The subacid, mucilaginous fruit, the size of an orange, is eaten in the Eastern Archipelago. The fleshy leaves of the calyx which surrounds the ripe fruit have an agreeable, acid taste and are eaten raw or cooked, or made into sherbets, or serve for jellies in India. They are commonly used in curries. The large amount of fiber they contain is objectionable. This is the chulta of India. In the Philippines, the juice of the fruit serves as vinegar.


D. pentagyna Roxb.
East Indies.
The flower-buds and young fruits have a pleasant, acid flavor and are eaten raw or cooked in Oudh and central India. The ripe fruits are also eaten.


D. scabrella Roxb. SANDPAPER TREE.
Himalayan region.
The fleshy leaves of the calyx have a pleasantly acid taste and are used in curries. In Burma, the green fruit is brought to the bazaars and is considered a favorite vegetable.


D. serrata Thunb.
Malay.
The fruit is the size of an orange and has a sweetish, acid taste. It is eaten in the Eastern Archipelago.


Dimorphandra mora Benth. & Hook. f. Leguminosae.
A gigantic timber-tree of British Guiana.
The seeds, says Brown, are used by the natives as food, being boiled, grated, and then mixed with cassava meal, giving it a brown color but a pleasant and sweetish taste. The seeds of another species are likewise used.


Dioon edule Lindl. Cycadaceae (Zamiaceae).
Mexico.
The seeds yield a starch used as arrowroot.


Dioscorea. Dioscoreaceae. YAMS.
Under the general name of yams the large, fleshy, tuberous roots of several species of Dioscorea are cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries. Many varieties known only in cultivation are described as species by some authors. In the Fiji Islands alone, says Milne, there are upwards of 50 varieties, some growing to an enormous size, occasionally weighing from 50 to 80 pounds but the general average is from two to eight pounds. In Australia, according to Drummond, there is a native yam which affords the principal vegetable food of the natives.


D. aculeata Linn. BIRCH-RIND YAM. GOA POTATO.
Tropical Asia.
This yam is said to be a native of tropical, eastern Asia, and is cultivated in the Indian Archipelago, the Pacific islands and the West Indies. The root is of a sweetish taste and Dr. Seemann regarded it as one of the finest esculent roots of the globe. It is cultivated in India and the tubers are dug, in the cold season, in the forests and sold in the bazaars. A variety cultivated at Caracas has a very delicious taste, though Lunan, at Jamaica, says this yam is slightly bitter. This yam is said by Seemann, at Viti, never to flower or fruit.


D. alata Linn. WHITE YAM.
Tropical Asia.
This plant is cultivated in the tropics of the whole earth. Unger says the Indian Archipelago and the southern portions of the Indian continent is the starting point of this yam, thence it was carried first to the eastern coast of Africa, next to the west coast and thence to America, whence the names yam and igname are derived from the negroes. In the negro daliect of Guinea, the word yam means "to eat." This is the species most generally cultivated in the Indian Archipelago, the small islands of the Pacific and the Indian continent. It is universally cultivated in the Carnatic region. There are several varieties in Jamaica, where it is called white yam.


D. atropurpurea Roxb. MALACCA YAM. RANGOON YAM.
Siamese countries.
The Malacca yam is cultivated in India and is known in Calcutta as the rangoon yam. It is called in Burma myouknee and is cultivated.


D. bulbifera Linn. AIR POTATO.
Tropical Asia.
Less cultivated than many others, this yam is found wild in the Indian Archipelago, upon the Indian continent as far as Silhet and Nepal to Madagascar. Grant found it in central Africa. The bulbs are like the Brazil-nut in size and shape cut like a potato when unripe and are very good boiled. Schweinfurth says it is called nyitti and the bulbs which protrude from the axils of the leaves, in shape like a great Brazil-nut, resemble a potato in taste and bulk. In the Samoan and Tonga group of islands, the root is not considered edible. In India, the flowers and roots are eaten by the poorer classes, the very bitter root being soaked in lye to extract the bitterness, but a variety occurs which is naturally sweet. In Jamaica, it is cultivated by the negroes for the bulbs of the stem. It was seen in a garden at Mobile, Alabama, by Wm. Bartram, about 1733, under cultivation for its edible roots.


D. cayenensis Lam.
Tropical South America.
The root is edible.


D. daemona Roxb.
East Indies.
The plant is called kywae and its very acrid root is eaten by the Karens in times of scarcity.


D. decaisneana Carr.
China.
The root is edible and was introduced into France as a garden plant but is now forgotten, although it is perhaps valuable.


D. deltoidea Wall.
East Indies.
This species occurs both wild and cultivated in the Indian Archipelago ; its roots are eaten.


D. divaricata Blanco. CHINESE POTATO. CHINESE YAM. CINNAMON VINE. YAM.
Philippine Islands, China and everywhere cultivated in several varieties.
This yam was received in France in 1851 from Shanghai, and was introduced into the United States, in 1855, by the Patent Office Department. It has not fulfilled expectation in the United States and is now grown principally as an ornamental climber. It was observed in Japan by Thunberg.


D. fasciculata Roxb. YAM.
Tropical eastern Asia.
This species is cultivated largely about Calcutta, and a starch is made from its tubers. Firminger says this is a very Distinct kind of yam, the tubers about the size, form and color of large kidney potatoes; when well cooked, it has a greater resemblance in mealiness and flavor to the potato than any other yam he knows of. It is much cultivated in the Philippines by the natives and is much esteemed.


D. globosa Roxb. YAM.
East Indies.
This species is much cultivated in India as yielding the best kind of yam and is much esteemed both by Europeans and natives. Roxburgh says it is the most esteemed yam in Bengal, but Firminger thinks it not equal in quality to other varieties. In Burma, Mason says it is the best of the white-rooted kinds.


D. hastifolia Nees. YAM.
Australia.
The tubers are largely consumed by the aborigines for food, and this is the only plant on which they bestow any kind of cultivation.


D. japonica Thunb.
Japan.
The roots, cut into slices and boiled, have a very pleasant taste.


D. nummularia Lam. TIVOLO YAM.
Moluccas.
This yam has cylindrical roots as thick as an arm and of excellent quality.


D. oppositifolia Linn. YAM.
East Indies.
This is one of the edible yams.


D. pentaphylla Linn. YAM.
Tropical Asia.
In India, this yam is common in jungles and is found in the South Sea Islands. Wight has never seen it cultivated in India, although the natives dig the tubers to eat. It is cultivated in Amboina and sometimes in Viti. In India, the male flowers are sold in the bazaars and eaten as greens. The tubers are eaten in Viti and Hawaii. It is a good yam. Graham says the tubers are dreadfully nauseous and intensely bitter even after being boiled. They are put into toddy to render it more potent, as they have intoxicating properties, and a few slices are sufficient. In China, the "nauseous tubers are sometimes cooked and eaten."


D. piperifolia Humb. & Bonpl.
South America.
This species has edible roots.


D. purpurea Roxb. PONDICHERRY SWEET POTATO.
East Indies.
The Pondicherry sweet potato is known only in a cultivated state, and was brought to India from the Mauritius, where it is much grown. The tuber is of a dull, crimson-red outside and of a glistening white within.


D. quinqueloba Thunb. YAM.
Japan.
This species is an edible yam of Japan.


D. rubella Roxb. YAM.
East Indies.
This is a common but very excellent yam of India, as good perhaps as any in cultivation. The tuber is of great size, crimson-red on the outside and of a glistening white within.


D. sativa Linn. YAM.
Tropics.
Pickering states that this species is found in tropical America and is cultivated by the Waraus of the delta of the Orinoco. The word igname was heard by Vespucius on the coast of Para and was found by Cabral, in 1500, applied in Brazil to a root from which bread was made. This yam was carried by European colonists to the Malayan Archipelago. Its roots, says Seemann, are acrid and require to be soaked before boiling. Browne says it is cultivated in the southern United States for its large, flattened and sometimes palmated roots, which are boiled, roasted and eaten like the potato.


D. spicata Roth.
East Indies.
It has edible roots.


D. tomentosa Koen. DOYALA YAM.
East Indies.
This is the Doyala yam of India.


D. trifida Linn. INDIAN YAM.
Guiana and Central America.
This species is cultivated as an edible yam.


D. triloba Lam. YAM.
Guiana.
This is the smallest and most delicate of the yams grown in Jamaica. It seldom exceeds eight or nine inches in length and two or three in diameter and is generally smaller. The roots have a pleasant, sweetish taste, very agreeable to most palates.


Diospyros chloroxylon Roxb. Ebenaceae.
East Indies.
This Indian tree has a cherry-like fruit which is very palatable. The fruit is sweetish, clammy and subastringent but edible.


D. decandra Lour.
Cochin China.
The berry is large, nearly globular, pulpy, yellowish when ripe; its taste is sweet and austere, combined with a disagreeable smell. It is, however, sold in the markets and eaten.


D. discolor Willd. MANGOSTEEN.
Philippine Islands.
This species is commonly cultivated in many islands of the East and has also been introduced into the West Indies. The fruit is like a large quince and in some places is called mangosteen. Its flavor is agreeable. The fruit of this tree is brown, with a pink-colored, fleshy rind, the pulp firm and white and the flavor agreeable. It is cultivated in the Isle of France for its fruit.


D. dodecandra Lour.
Cochin China.
The berry is pale, with a sweetish, astringent, edible and pleasant pulp.


D. ebenum Koen. EAST INDIAN EBONY.
This plant bears an edible fruit.


D. embryopteris Pers.
East Indies.
The fruit of this tree of India is not unlike a russet apple, pulpy, of unattractive yellow color and covered with a rust-colored farina. It is occasionally eaten but is not palatable. It is eaten by the natives.


D. kaki Linn. DATE PLUM. JAPANESE PERSIMMON. KAKI. KEGFIG.
Japan.
This plant has been cultivated in Japan for a long period and has produced many varieties, some of which are seedless. The fruit, in general, is as large as an ordinary apple, of a bright color, and contains a semi-transparent pulp. The tree is cultivated in India and in China and was seen in Japan by Thunberg, 1776. It was introduced into the United States from Japan by the Perry expedition and one of these trees is still growing at Washington. About 1864, others were imported; in 1877, 5000 plants in ten varieties were brought to America. This persimmon is now grown in California, Georgia and elsewhere. The fruit is described as delicious by all who have eaten the best varieties.


D. lanceaefolia Roxb.
East India.
This is an eastern fruit, said by Kotschy to have a taste similar to chocolate.


D. lotus Linn. FALSE LOTE-TREE.
Temperate Asia.
The fruit is the size of a cherry, yellow when ripe, sweet with astringency. The sweetish fruit is much prized by the Afghan tribes, who eat it fresh or dried and use it in sherbets.


D. melanoxylon Roxb. COROMANDEL EBONY.
East Indies and Ceylon.
The yellow fruit is about one to one and onehalf inches through, with soft, sweet, slightly astringent flesh, which is eaten and is refreshing.


D. obtusifolia Willd.
South America.
This is the sapota negro, with small, black, edible fruit.


D. pentamera Woods & F. Muell. GRAY PLUM.
Eastern tropical Australia.
The fruits, which are produced in great abundance, are eaten by the aborigines.


D. pilosanthera Blanco.
Philippines.
The fruit of this tree is eaten.


D. tetrasperma Sw. WATTLE TREE.
Jamaica.
The fruit is eaten by negroes.


D. texana Scheele. BLACK PERSIMMON.
Mexico.
This is the black persimmon of the Americans and the sapotepieto of the Mexicans of western Texas. The black, cherry-like fruit is melting and very sweet.


D. tomentosa Roxb. EBONY.
East Indies.
The sweetish, clammy and subastringent fruit of this plant is eaten.


D. toposia Buch.-Ham.
East Indies.
The fruit of this species is sweetish, clammy, and subastringent but edible.


D. virginiana Linn. PERSIMMON.
North America.
Found wild from the 42nd parallel to Texas, often attaining the size of a large tree. This plant is the persimmon, piakmine, or pessimmon of America, called by the Louisiana natives ougoufle. Loaves made of the substance of prunes "like unto brickes, also plummes of the making and bigness of nuts and have three or four stones in them" were seen by DeSoto on the Mississippi. It is called mespilorum by LeMoyne in Florida; "mespila unfit to eat until soft and tender" by Hariot on the Roanoke; pes-simmens by Strachey on the James River; and medlars on the Hudson by the remonstrants against the policy of Stuyvesant. The fruit is plum-like, about an inch in Diameter, exceedingly astringent when green, yellow when ripe, and sweet and edible after exposure to frost. Porcher says the fruit, when matured, is very sweet and pleasant to the taste and yields on Distillation, after fermentation, a quantity of spirits. A beer is made of it. Mixed with flour, a pleasant bread may be prepared. Occasional varieties are found with fruit double the size of the ordinary kind. The best persimmons ripen soft and sweet, having a clear, thin, transparent skin without any roughness. Flint, in his Western States, says when the small, blue persimmon is thoroughly ripened, it is even sweeter than the fig and is a delicious fruit. It is sometimes cultivated in America and is also to be found in some gardens in Europe.


Dipladenia tenuifolia A. DC. Apocynaceae.
Brazil.
This plant is called by the inhabitants of Sertao, Brazil, cauhy, and the tuberous root, which is the size and color of a large, black turnip-radish, is eaten by them when cooked and is said to be very palatable; in the raw state it tastes not unlike a turnip.


Diplazium esculentum. Polypodioceae (Athyriaceae).
This fern, according to Royle, is employed as food in the Himalayas.


Diplothemium (Allagoptera) maritimum Mart. Palmae. COAST PALM.
A palm of Brazil.
The fruit, an ovate or obovate drupe, is yellow and has a fibrous, acid-sweet flesh, which is eaten by the Indians.


Diposis bulbocastanum DC. Umbelliferae.
Chile.
The tubers are edible.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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