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  Section: Edible Plant Species
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Edible Plant Species

Lacis (Tulasneantha) sp. Podostemaceae.
Henfrey says some species are used for food on the Rio Negro and other parts of South America.

Lactuca alpina Benth. & Hook. f. Compositae. MOUNTAIN SOWTHISTLE.
The stem, which is milky, is peeled and eaten raw by the Laplanders; the taste is extremely bitter.

Europe and the Orient.
Lettuce, the best of all salad plants, as a cultivated plant has great antiquity. It is evident, by an ancedote related by Herodotus, that lettuce appeared at the royal tables of the Persian kings about 550 B. C. Its medicinal properties as a food-plant were noted by Hippocrates, 430 B. C.; it was praised by Aristotle, 356 B. C.; the species was described by Theophrastus, 322 B. C., and Dioscorides,560 A. D.; and was mentioned by Galen, 164 A. D., who gives the idea of very general use. Among the Romans, lettuce was very popular. Columella, A. D. 42, describes the Caecilian, Cappadocian, Cyprian and Tartesan. Pliny,8 A. D. 79, enumerates the Alba, Caecilian, Cappadocian, Crispa, Graeca, Laconicon, Nigra, Purpurea and Rubens. Palladius, 210 A. D., implies varieties and mentions the process of blanching. Martial, A. D. 101, gives to the lettuces of Cappadocia the term viles, or cheap, implying abundance. In China, its presence can be identified in the fifth century. In England, Chaucer, about 1340, uses the word in his prologue, "well loved he garlic, onions and lettuce," and lettuce is likewise mentioned by Turner, 1538, who spells the word lettuse. It is mentioned by Peter Martyr, 1494, as cultivated on Isabela Island. In 1565, Benzoni speaks of lettuce as abounding in Hayti. In 1647, Nieuhoff saw it cultivated in Brazil. In 1806, McMahon enumerates for American gardens sorts. In 1828, Thorburn's seed catalog offered 13 kinds, and in 1881, 23 kinds.

In the report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station for 1885, 87 varieties are described with 585 names of synonyms. Vilmorin describes, 1883, one hundred and thirteen kinds as distinct. The numbers of varieties named by various writers at various times are as follows: For France, in 1612, six; in 1690, twenty-one; in 1828, forty; in 1883, one hundred and thirteen. For Holland, in 1720, forty-seven. For England, in 1597, six; in 1629, nine; in 1726, nine; in 1763, fifteen; in 1765, eighteen; in 1807, fourteen. For America, in 1806, sixteen; in 1885, eighty-seven.

The cabbage and cos lettuces are the sorts now principally grown but various other kinds, such as the curled, are frequently, and the sharpleaved and oak-leaved are occasionally grown as novelities. In these lettuces there can be offered only the synonymy of a few of the varieties now known - those which indicate the antiquity of our cultivated types.

Lactuca longifolia. Bauh. Phytopinat 200. 1596.
Lattuga franzese. Dur. C. 244. 1617. cum ic.
Lactuca folio oblongo acuto. Bauh. Pin. 125. 1623. Prod. 60. 1671.
Lactuca longo at valde angusto folio. Bauh. J. 2:999. 1651; Chabr. 313. 1677.
Deer Tongue. Greg. 1883.

Pena and Lobel, 1570, say that this form is but rarely grown in France and Germany, although common in the gardens of Italy; and Heuze says it was brought from Rome to France by Rabelais in 1537.
Lactuca intybacea. Lombard Lettuce Ger. 240. 1597.
Lactuca foliis endivae. Matth. Op. 399. 1598.
Lactuca Romana longa dulcis. Bauh. J. 2:998. 1651. Chabr. 313. 1677
La Romaine Jard. Solit. 1612
Romaines. Vilm. 307. 1883.

We can reasonably believe the lettuce of Camerarius to be very close to the Florence Cos. The Lombard lettuce was grown as a sport in the garden of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station in 1886, and the figures by Bauhin and Chabraeus may well be the Paris Cos. It is not to be understood, however, that these figures represent the improved forms of our present culture but the prototypes from which our plants have appeared, as shown not only by resemblance of leafform but through the study of variables in the garden. Ray, 1686, describes the Cos as having light green and dark green varieties. and these, as well as the Spotted Cos, are indicated by Bauhin in 1623.

A. This is the sort commonly grown, and the figures given in the sixteenth century indicate that the heading habit was even then firmly established. We have the following synonyms to offer, premising that types are referred to:
Luctuca crispa. Matth. 264. 1554; Pin. 195. 1561.
Lattuga. Cast. Dur. 243. 1617.
La royale? Le Jard. Solit. 1612. Quintyne 1690.
Laitue Blonde de Berlin syn. Laitue royale. 295. 1884. Berlin

B. Lactuca saliva sessilis sive capitata. Lob. Icon. 1:242. 1591.
Lactuca capitata. Dod. 645. 1616.
Very Early Dwarf Green.

C. Lactuca. Cam. Epit. 298. 1586.
Lactuca capitata. Ger. 240. 1597.
Lactuca crispa. Matth. 399. 1598.
Batavians. Vilm. 1883.

D. Lattich. Roezl. 167. 1550.
Green Fringed.
The last identification is from tlie appearance of the young plant. The old plant is remarkably different, forming a true rosette.

A. Lactuca crispa altera Ger. 240. 1597.
Lactuca crispa et tenuiter dissecta. Bauh. J. 2:1000. 1651. Chabr. 314. 1677.
Curled Cutting.

B. Lactuca foliis querci. Ray 219. 1686.
C. Capitatum cum pluribus capitibus. Bauh. J. 2:998. 1651. Chabr.
313. 1677.
Egyptian Sprouting.
The minor variations which are now separated into varieties did not receive the same recognition in former times, the same variety name covering what now would be several varieties; thus, Quintyne, 1693, calls perpignans both a green and a pale form. Green, light green, dark green, red and spotted lettuces are named in the old botanies, hence we cannot assert any new types have appeared in modern culture.

Lagenaria vulgaris Ser. Cucurbitaceae. BOTTLE GOURD. TRUMPET GOURD.
This plant has been found growing wild with bitter fruit in India, in the moist forests around Deyra Doon. It is also found wild in Malabar, where it is cultivated in gardens for the gourd which is eaten. This gourd is one of the commonest of the native vegetables of India, says Firminger, the fruit being of moderate size and having the appearance of two oval gourds united endwise, or, of an inflated bladder compressed by a cord around it. Cut up in slices, it affords a palatable but rather insipid dish. About Constantinople, it is called dolma and is cultivated, the gourd when young, being cut and boiled with other foods. In Europe, the variety called trompette is eaten. In China, its soft, downy herbage is sometimes eaten, and the fruit is also eaten but is apt to purge.

Lagerstromia parviflora Roxb. Lythrarieae. CRAPE MYRTLE.
East Indies.
In India, a sweet gum exudes from wounds in the bark and is eaten.

Lallemantia iberica Fisch. & Mey. Labiatae.
Asia Minor and Syria.
The seeds are very rich in fat and are used for food, as well as for lighting purposes, in the northwest districts of Persia.

Laminaria digitata Lam. Algae. RED-WARE. SEA-GIRDLES. SEA-WAND. SEA-WARE. TANGLE.
The tender stalks of the young fronds of this seaweed are eaten.

L. esculenta Lindbl. BADDERLOCK.
The midrib of the stem of this seaweed is eaten.

L. potatorum Labill.
This plant is used as food by the natives of Australia.

L. saccharina Lam.
This seaweed is said to be eaten in Iceland and other northern countries.

Lamium album Linn. Labiatae. ARCHANGEL. DEAD-NETTLE. DUMB-NETTLE.
Europe and the Orient. The young leaves are boiled in the spring and eaten as greens by the common people of Sweden.

Europe, northern Asia and naturalized as a weed in some places in the United States.
The red dead-nettle, or archangel, is eaten in Sweden as greens in spring.

Landolphia florida Benth. Apocynaceae. RUBBER TREE.
Tropical Africa.
This species furnishes the abo of tropical Africa, eaten by the natives. Montiero describes a species of this genus, probably this, as occurring in Angola, and called rubber tree. The fruit, the size of a large orange, is yellow when ripe; the shell is hard and bitter and the inside full of a soft, reddish pulp in which the seeds are contained. This pulp is of an agreeable acid flavor and is much liked by the natives. On the Niger, according to Barter,9 its fruit, which is very sour, is eaten by the natives under the name of dboli.

L. owariensis Beauv.
Tropical Africa.
This a climbing plant, the fruit of which is the size of an orange and has a reddish-brown, woody shell and an agreeable, sweetish-acid pulp. It is eaten by the natives and is called abo. Schweinfurth says the fruit exceeds in sourness that of the citron and the natives of Djur-land manufacture a beverage from it as refreshing as lemonade.

Lansium domesticum Jack. Meliaceae.
A tree of eastern Asia, cultivated in China.
Its fruit is sold in the Canton markets. The fruit is the size of a pigeon's egg, of a yellowish color without and whitish within. It is highly esteemed and is eaten fresh or variously prepared. It is known in the East Indies as lansa, langsat, lanseh, ayer-ayer or bejetlan. In, Borneo, Wallace calls it one of the most delicious of the subacid, tropical fruits.

Lantana trifolia Linn. Verbenaceae .
Tropical America.
Sloane says the fruit is more juicy than that of other species and is not unpleasant to eat.

Lapageria rosea Ruiz & Pav. Liliaceae (Philesiaceae).
The berries, which are of the size of an egg, are sweet and edible.

Lapsana communis Linn. Compositae. NIPPLEWORT.
Europe, Orient, northern Asia and naturalized in America.
The young leaves in the spring have the taste of radishes and are eaten at Constantinople as a salad. In some parts of England, the common people boil them as greens, but they have a bitter and not agreeable taste.

Lardizabala bitemata Ruiz et Pav. Berberideae (Lardizabalaceae).
Chile and Peru.
The fruit is eatable and is sold in the market. The pulp is sweet and grateful to the taste. It is called in Peru aquilboguil or guilbogin and in Chile coguillvochi.

L. tritemata Ruiz & Pav.
This plant has edible fruit.

Larix europaea DC. Coniferae (Pinaceae). EUROPEAN LARCH.
Europe and northern Asia.
The Jakuts of northern Siberia grate the inner bark and use it in a broth of fish, meal, and milk. A kind of sugary matter exudes from the the larch in the summer and is collected under the name of manna, or briancono. When the larch forests of Russia take fire, a juice exudes from the scorched trunks which is collected under the name of orenburgh gum.

Larrea mexicana Moric. Zygophyllaceae. CREOSOTE PLANT.
Travellers chew the twigs to alleviate extreme thirst. The plant is a bright evergreen with foliage resembling that of Buxus.

Laserpitium latifolium Linn. Umbelliferae. LASEWORT.
The Romans, says Glasspole, used the root of lasewort, with cumin, in seasoning preserved artichoke.

Latania commersonii J. P. Gmel. Palmae.
Bourbon Island.
The fruit is eaten by the negroes, says Seemann, but that argues little for their taste, as it has a rather disagreeable flavor.

Lathyrus aphaca Linn. Leguminosae. YELLOW-PLOWERED PEA.
Europe and the Orient.
The seeds, according to Lindley, are served sometimes at table while young and tender but if eaten abundantly in the ripe state are narcotic, producing severe headache.

Europe and the Orient.
This species is an annual with red flowers, occasionally grown in the south of Europe for its peas, but these are of inferior quality and are said sometimes to be very unwholesome. Vetches were carried to the West Indies by Columbus, says Pickering, but their cultivation at the present day seems unknown in America.

L. magellanicus Lam. CAPE HORN PEA.
Magellan region.
The Cape Horn pea was eaten by the sailors of Lord Anson in default of better vegetables but is inferior to the worst sort of cultivated pea.

L. maritimus Bigel. HEATH PEA. SEASIDE PEA.
North America and Europe.
The seeds are very bitter. In 1555, the people of a portion of Suffolk County, England, suffering from famine, supported themselves to a great extent by the seeds of this plant.

Europe and northern Asia.
Bitter vetch is a native of Europe and the adjoining portion of Asia and has been cultivated on a small scale in kitchen gardens in Britain. The Highlanders of Scotland have great esteem for the tubercles of the roots; they dry and chew them to give a better relish to their whiskey. In some parts of Scotland a spirit is extracted from them. The tubers are sweet in taste and very nutritious and are sometimes boiled and eaten. In Holland and Flanders, the peas are roasted and served as chestnuts. According to Sprengel, the peas are eaten in Sweden and form an article of commerce. In England, the plant is called heath pea.

L. ochrus DC.
Mediterranean countries.
This is a species of pea mentioned as cultivated by Phanias of Eresusl and Clemens Alexandrinus. It is enumerated among the esculent plants of Egypt by Alpinus. Perhaps this is the pea exhumed by Dr. Schliemann in a carbonized state from the ruins of ancient Greece.

L. sativus Linn. CHICKLING VETCH.
Europe, north Africa and the Orient.
This vetch is an annual forage herb, the pods of which are available for culinary purposes. It is superior, according to Langethal, to vetches in quality of fodder and seed but is less productive. The flour from the peas makes a pleasant bread but is unwholesome; its use in the seventeenth century was forbidden in Wurtemburg by law. The peasants, however, eat it boiled or mixed with wheat flour in the quantity of one-fourth without any harm. In many parts of France the seed is used in soups.

This, in many regions, is a forage-plant rather than a vegetable; but in the south and Southwest parts of Europe, as in Italy and Spain and also in Turkey and India, it is grown for the use of the seed in soups, as well as in the manner of green peas. This vetch has been cultivated in southern Europe from a remote period and is mentioned by Columella and Palladius. According to Heuze, it came from Spain into France in 1640; but this must refer to some variety, for it appears to have been well known to the herbalists of the sixteenth century, as Dodonaeus, 1556, and others. It was included among American vegetables by Burr, 1863, who mentions two varieties, the one with dun, the other with white, seeds. This latter form was mentioned by Bauhin, 1623.

L. tuberosus Linn. DUTCH MICE. EARTHNUT PEA.
Northern Old World and Uralian plains.
In Holland, Don says, the plant is cultivated for its roots, which are eaten there. Johnson says in Holland and Germany the roots are roasted as food. Pallas says they are eaten by the Kalmucks. These tubers are small but amylaceous and are sometimes called Dutch mice.

The plant is now included among vegetables for the garden by Vilmorin, although he says it is scarcely ever cultivated, but that the tubers are often collected from the wild plant in France. Burr likewise includes this species among American garden plants but we know not upon what authority. In 1783, Bryant says this French weed was cultivated in Holland for its roots, which were carried to market. In Siberia, the tubers are said to be much relished by the Tartars. They are used in Germany. It can scarcely be considered a plant of culture.

Laurelia aromatic Juss. Monimiaceae (Atherospermataceae). CHILE LAUREL. PERUVIAN NUTMEG.
A Chilean species whose aromatic seeds are used as a spice in Peru.

Laurencia obtusa Berk. Algae. CORSICAN MOSS.
This forms the greater part of what is now sold in the shops of Britain as Corsican moss.

L. pinnatifida Lam. PEPPER DULSE.
This seaweed is called pepper dulse in Scotland, on account of its hot and biting taste, and is used as a condiment when other seaweeds are eaten.

Laurus nobilis Linn. Lauraceae. BAY. LAUREL. SWEET BAY.
Mediterranean region. The leaves are used by confectioners for flavoring.

Lavandula spica Cav. Labiatae. LAVENDER.
Mediterranean regions.
This plant appears to be the nardus stricta of ancient writers and was by them held in high esteem. There are three varieties, says Burr, in cultivation; it is used as a potherb. It was mentioned for our gardens by McMahon, 1806. Lavender yields oil-ofspike, used by painters on porcelain and by artists in the preparation of varnishes. It is cultivated in Surrey, England, to the extent of 300 acres. It is also grown in Lincolnshire and in Hertfordshire, where, in 1871, about 50 acres were cropped. Mawe, 1778, named four types: the narrow-leaved with blue flowers, the narrow-leaved with white flowers, the broad-leaved and the dwarf.

Mediterranean region.
This species was used by the Romans to mix with salads and is occasionally cultivated in our gardens, as the seed appears in our seedsmen's catalogs. There is no satisfactory identification of lavender in the writings of the ancients, although it seems to have been well known to the botanists of the sixteenth century. Its use as a perfume was indicated as early as the fourteenth century and as a medicine even in the twelfth century. Its seed was in English seedsmen's lists of 1726 for garden culture.

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