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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Mollugo hirta Thunb. Ficoideae (Aizoaceae).
Tropical and subtropical regions.
This plant is a common potherb in upper India.


Momordica balsamina Linn. Cucurbitaceae. BALSAM APPLE.
Borders of the tropics.
The balsam apple has purgative qualities but is eaten by the Chinese after careful washing in warm water and subsequent cooking.


M. charantia Linn.
Borders of the tropics.
This vine is very commonly cultivated about Bombay. In the wet season, the fruit is 12 or 15 inches long, notched and ridged like a crocodile's back and requires to be steeped in salt water before being cooked. Firminger says the fruit is about the size and form of a hen's egg, pointed at the ends, and covered with little blunt tubercles, of intensely bitter taste, but is much consumed by the natives and is agreeable also to Europeans as an ingredient to flavor their curries by way of variety. In Patna, there are two varieties: jetkwya, a plant growing in the heat of spring and dying with the first rains, and bara masiya, which lasts throughout the year. In France, it is grown in the flower garden.


M. dioica Roxb.
East Indies.
This species is under cultivation in India for food purposes; the root is edible. There are several varieties, says Drury. The young, green fruits and tuberous roots of the female plant are eaten by the natives, and, in Burma, according to Mason, the small, muricated fruit is occasionally eaten. At Bombay, this plant is cultivated for the fruit, which is the size of a pigeon's egg and knobbed, says Graham.


Monarda didyma Linn. Labiatae. BEE BALM. OSWEGO TEA.
From New England to Wisconsin northward, and southward in the Alleghanies. It is mentioned by McMahon, 1806, in his list of aromatic pot and sweet herbs. It is called Oswego tea from the use sometimes made of its leaves. In France, it is grown in the flower gardens.


Moneses grandiflora S. F. Gray. Ericaceae (Pyrolaceae). MOSSBERRY. ONE-FLOWERED PYROLA.
North and Arctic regions.
The fruit is used as food by the Indians of Alaska. The yield of berries is scant, however.


Monochoria vaginalis Presl. Pontederiaceae.
Asia and African tropics.
This species is esteemed as a medical plant in Japan, Java and on the Coromandel Coast. Its young shoots are edible.


Monodora myristica Dun. Anonaceae. JAMAICA NUTMEG.
This tree of Jamaica is supposed to have been introduced from South America, but is with more reason believed to have been taken by the negroes from the west coast of Africa. It is cultivated in Jamaica for its fruits, which furnish Jamaica nutmeg. The seeds contain a quantity of aromatic oil which imparts to them the odor and flavor of nutmegs.


Monstera deliciosa Liebm. Araceae. CERIMAN.
American tropics.
This fine plant has been somewhat cultivated in England for its fruit and may now be seen in greenhouses in this country. The leaves are broad, perforated and dark, shining green. The fruit consists of the spadix, the eatable portion of which is of fine texture and very rich, juicy and fragrant, with a flavor somewhat like that of the pineapple and banana combined. The fruit is filled with a sort of spicule, which, unless the fruit be thoroughly ripe, interferes with the pleasure of its eating. In 1874, specimens of the fruit were exhibited before the Massachusetts Horticultural Society and again in 1881. Dobrizhoffer, in his Account of the Abipones of Paraguay, 1784, refers to a fruit called guembe which is "the more remarkable for its being so little known, even by many who have grown old in Paraguay, for the northern woods of that country only are its native soil. It is about a span long, almost cylindrical in shape, being thicker than a man's fist in the middle but smaller at both extremities, and resembles a pigeon stripped of its feathers, sometimes weighing as much as two pounds. It is entirely covered with a soft, yellowish skin, marked with little knobs and a dark spot in the middle. Its liquid pulp has a very sweet taste but is full of tender thorns, perceivable by the palate only, not by the eye, on which account it must be slowly chewed but quickly swallowed. . . . The stalk which occupies the middle, has something of wood in it and must be thrown away. You cannot imagine how agreeable and wholesome this fruit is. ... This ponderous fruit grows on a flexible shrub resembling a rope, which entwines itself around high trees." If this description applies to our species, it is certainly remarkable that this ancient missionary did not refer to the open spaces in the leaves.


Moraea edulis Ker-Gawl. Irideae.
South Africa.
The bulbous root is eaten by the Hottentots. When cooked, it has the taste of potatoes. Thunberg says, in Kaffraria, the roots were eaten roasted, boiled, or stewed with milk and appeared to him to be both palatable and nourishing, tasting much like potatoes.


Morinda citrifolia Linn. Rubiaceae. AWL TREE. INDIAN MULBERRY.
Tropical shores in Hindustan, throughout the Malayan Archipelago and neighboring Polynesian islands.
Its fruit is a great favorite with the Burmese, served in their curries. Labillardiere says the fruit is in great request among the Friendly Islanders, but its taste is insipid. Captain Cook states that the fruit is eaten in Tahiti in times of scarcity, and that the taste is very indifferent.


M. tinctoria Roxb. ACH-ROOT. DYERS' MULBERRY.
East Indies and Malay.
According to Brandis, this species is cultivated throughout India. Don says the green fruits are pickled and eaten with curries.


Moringa aptera Gaertn. Moringaceae.
Nubia and Arabia.
The seeds are exported to Syria and Palestine for Medicinal and alimentary use.


M. concanensis Nimmo.
East Indies and India.
The unripe fruit is eaten.


M. pterygosperma Gaertn. HORSERADISH TREE.
Northwest India.
The horseradish tree is cultivated for its fruit, which is eaten as a vegetable and preserved as a pickle, and for its leaves and flowers which are likewise eaten. Dutt says it is cultivated for its leaves, flowers and seed-vessels, which are used by the natives in their curries. The root, says Royle, is universally known to European residents in India as a substitute for horseradish. Ainslie says the root is generally used and the pods are an excellent vegetable. According to Firminger, the root serves as a horseradish and the long, unripe seed-pods are used boiled in curries. It is also cultivated by the Burmese for its pods, but by Europeans it is chiefly valued for its roots. In the Philippines, the leaves and fruit are cooked and eaten. In the West Indies, the oil expressed from the seeds is used in salads.


Moronobea grandiflora Choizy. Guttiferae.
A tall tree of Brazil.
Arruda says the fruit is nearly of the size of an orange but is oval and contains 23 stones covered with a white pulp of a pleasant taste, being sweet and somewhat acid. It is called bacuri.


Morus alba Linn. Urticaceae (Moraceae). WHITE MULBERRY.
A tree of China and Japan but naturalized in Europe, Asia and America.
It is commonly supposed, says Thompson, that cuttings of the white mulberry were first brought into Tuscany from the Levant in 1434 and in the course of the century this species had almost entirely superceded M. nigra for the feeding of silk worms in Italy. The variety Multicaulis was brought from Manila to Senegal, and some years afterwards to Europe, and was described by Kenrick, 1835, preceding which date it had reached America. In 1773 or 1774, Wm. Bartram noticed large plantations of M. alba grafted on M. rubra near Charleston, S. C., for the purpose of feeding silk worms, but it is probable that its first introduction was coeval with the interest in silk culture before 1660. The mulberry trees planted in Virginia in 1623 by order of the Colonial Assembly were probably of this species. There are many varieties of M. alba, and in India it is cultivated for its fruit, of which some kinds are sweet, some acid, and of all shades of color from white to a deep blackish-purple. In Kashmir and Afghanistan, the fruit furnishes a considerable portion of the food of the inhabitants in autumn and much of it is dried and preserved. In Kabul, there is a white, seedless variety called shah-toot, or royal mulberry. The fruits are from two to two and one-half inches long and of the thickness of the small finger, very sweet, and the tree is inexhaustibly prolific. In its season it forms the chief food of the poor.


M. celtidifolia H. B. & K.
Peru to Mexico.
The tree bears an edible fruit.


M. indica Linn. AINO MULBERRY.
Tropical Asia.
The aino mulberry is cultivated in Bengal for feeding silk worms, and about Bombay its dark red fruit is sold in the bazaars for Making tarts.



M. laevigata Wall.
East Indies.
This species is found wild and cultivated in the Himalayas and elsewhere in India. The fruit is long, cylindrical, yellowish-white, sweet but insipid. The long, cylindrical, purple fruit is much eaten.


M. nigra Linn. BLACK MULBERRY.
Temperate Asia.
The black mulberry is a native of north Persia and the Caucasus. It was brought at a very early period to Greece. Theophrastus was acquainted with it and called it sukamnos. It is only at a late period that this tree, brought by Lucius Vitellus from Syria to Rome, was successfully reared in Italy, after all earlier experiments, according to Pliny, had been conducted in vain. At the time of Palladius and even in that of Athaneus, the mulberry tree had multiplied but little in that country. The introduction of silk culture under Justinian gave a new importance to this tree, and, from that time to the present, its propagation in western and northern Europe, Denmark and Sweden has taken place very rapidly. It was not till the sixteenth century that this plant was superceded by M. alba for the feeding of silk worms. This species, according to Mueller, was planted in France in 1500. In the United States, it is scarcely hardy north of New York, but there and southward it is occasionally cultivated for its fruit. In 1760, Jefferys states it was not found in Louisiana.


M. rubra Linn. RED MULBERRY.
From New England to Illinois and southward.
The fruit is preferred, says Emerson, to that of any other species by most people. The tree grows abundantly in northern Missouri and along the rivers of Kansas. In Indian Territory, the large, sweet, black fruit is greatly esteemed by the Indians. This fruit was observed by De Soto on the route to Apalachee, and the tree was seen by Strachey on James River planted around native dwellings.


M. serrata Roxb.
Himalayan region.
This species is cultivated in Kunawar. It is common in the Himalayas. The purple fruit is mucilaginous and sweet but not very fleshy.


Mouriri pusa Gardn. Melastomaceae (Memecylaceae). SILVERWOOD.
Brazil.
Gardner says the fruit of this Brazilian tree is about the size of a small plum, black in color and resembles much in taste the fruit of Eugenia cauliflora. In the province of Ceara, this fruit is much esteemed and is carried through the streets for sale by the Indians. It is called pusa.


M. rhizophoraefolia Gardn.
Martinique.
The fruit is regularly sold in the markets at St. Vincent, but no high value is set upon it, owing to the very small quantity of sweet pulp which tenaciously adheres to the seeds. The outer portion of the fruit is not pleasant to the taste, but the seed has the flavor of filberts.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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