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  Section: Edible Plant Species
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Edible Plant Species

Nectandra cinnamomoides Nees. Lauraceae. AMERICAN CINNAMON.
Pickering says the American cinnamon is a tree of the eastern slope of the equatorial Andes and is cultivated in the region about Quito. Its dried calices are brought also from forests to the eastward and are used as a spice.

N. rodioei Hook. GREENHEART.
A tree of Guiana.
The timber is much valued in ship building. The fruit, of the size of a small apple, has a single seed about as large as a walnut. Though the fruit is very bitter, its seeds yield a starch which the Indians mix with rotten wood and make into a bitter, disagreeable kind of bread.

Negundo (Acer) aceroides (negundo) Moench. Sapindaceae (Aceraceae). ASH-LEAVED MAPLE. BOX ELDER.
A tree of northern North America.
This tree, says Hough, is tapped for sugar in Canada and is now being planted in Illinois for sugar-making. Vasey says experiments in Illinois show the box elder to give more sap and a more saccharine sap than the sugar maple and that this sap makes a whiter sugar. Douglas says the Crow Indians make sugar from its sap, and Richardson says this is the tree which yields most of the sugar in Rupert's Land.

North America and West Indies.
The seeds are very agreeable to eat and are eagerly sought for by children and Indians. The long and thick, creeping roots, says Rafinesque, are acrimonious when fresh but are easily deprived of their dangerous juice by washings and are then an agreeable food to the Indians.

N. speciosum Willd. LOTUS.
Northern Africa and tropical Asia.
The lotus is an eastern flower which seems from time immemorial to have been, in native estimation, the type of the beautiful. It is held sacred throughout the East, and the deities of the various sects in that quarter of the world are almost invariably represented as either decorated with its flowers, seated or standing on a lotus throne or pedestal, or holding a sceptre framed from its flowers. It is fabled that the flowers obtained their red color by being dyed with the blood of Siva when Kamadeva wounded him with the love-shaft arrow. Lakeshmi is called the lotus-born, from having ascended from the ocean on its flowers. The lotus is often referred to by the Hindu poets. The lotus floating in the water is the emblem of the world. It is also symbolic of the mountain Meru, the residence of the gods and the emblem of female beauty. Both the roots and seeds are esculent, sapid and wholesome and are used as food by the Egyptians. In China, some parts of India and in Ceylon, the black seeds of this plant, not unlike little acorns in shape, are served at table. Temient found them of delicate flavor and not unlike the pine cones of the Apennines. In the southern provinces of China, large quantities are grown. The seeds and slices of its hairy root are served at banquets and the roots are pickled for winter use. In Japan, the stems are eaten. These stalks are not dissimilar in taste to our broad beet with a somewhat sharp after-taste. The seeds are also eaten like filberts. The roots furnish a starch, or arrowroot, in China, called gaou fun.

Nemopanthus fascicularis Rafin. Ilicineae (Aquifoliaceae). MOUNTAIN HOLLY.
Northeast North America.
The berries, according to Pickering, are eaten by the Indians.

Nepenthes distillatoria Linn. Nepenthaceae. PITCHER PLANT.
This plant has been introduced into India and is now common in some of the mission gardens and is grown in conservatories in Europe and America. The leaves are broad, oblong, smooth, with a very strong nerve running through the middle, ending in a long tendril, generally twisted, to which hangs a long receptacle or bag, which, on being pressed, yields a sweet, limpid, pleasant, refreshing liquor in such quantity that the contents of six or eight of them are sufficient to quench the thirst of a man.

Nepeta cataria Linn. Labiatae. CATNIP.
Europe, Orient and the Himalayas.
Catnip holds a place as a condiment. In 1726, Townsend says it is used by some in England to give a high relish in sauces. It is mentioned among the plants of Virginia by Gronovius, as collected by Clayton preceding 1739-

N. (Glechoma) glechoma (hederacea) Benth. ALEHOOF. GROUND IVY. NEPETA.
Europe and naturalized in northeastern North America.
The leaves are in great repute among the poor in England as a tea and in ancient times were used for flavoring ale.

Nephelium lappaceum Linn. Sapindaceae. RAMBUTAN. RAMPOSTAN.
Malay Archipelago, where it is found in the greatest abundance but does not appear to be cultivated. This tree yields the well-known and favorite rambutan fruit which in appearance very much resembles a chestnut with the husk on and, like the chestnut, is covered with small points which are soft and of a deep red color. Under this skin is the fruit, and within the fruit a stone; the eatable part thereof is small in quantity, but it perhaps is more agreeable than any other in the whole vegetable kingdom.

N. litchi Cambess. LICHI.
China, Cambodia and the Philippines.
This tree furnishes one of the most common fruits of China. The Chinese recognize some 15 or 20 varieties, but Williams says there are only two or three which are distinctly marked. It has been cultivated for ages in that country and furnishes a large amount of food to the people, a single tree often producing four bushels of fruit. It is now cultivated in Bengal and the West Indies. In Trinidad, says Pnstoe, the fruit is of the consistence and flavor of a high class Muscat grape and is invariably relished as delicious by all. The most common variety, says A. Smith, is nearly round, about an inch and a half in diameter, with a thin, brittle shell of red color covered all over with rough, wartlike protuberances; others are larger and heart-shaped. When fresh, they are filled with a white, almost transparent, sweet, jelly-like pulp, surrounding a rather large, shining, brown seed; after they have been gathered some time, the pulp shrivels and turns black, and the fruit then bears some resemblance to a prune.

N. longana Cambess. LONGAN.
East Indies, Burma and southern China, where it is much cultivated for its fruits, which are sold in the Chinese markets. It is also grown in Bengal. The longan is a smaller fruit than the lichi, varying from half an inch to an inch in diameter and is quite round, with a nearly smooth, brittle skin of a yellowish-brown color. It contains a similar semitransparent pulp of an agreeable, sweet or subacid flavor.

N. rimosum G. Don.
Malay Archipelago.
This species furnishes a fruit which is eaten.

Nephrodium (various taxa) esculentum Don. Filices (various families).
In Nepal, says Unger, the rootstocks of this fern are eaten by the Natives.

Nephrolepsis cordifolia Presl. Polypodiaceae (Oleandraceae). LADDER FERN.
Mexico, Japan and New Zealand.
This fern, says J. Smith, produces underground tubers like small potatoes, which are used for food by the Natives of Nepal.

Neptunia oleracea Lour. Leguminosae.
This plant is used in Cochin China in salads, its spongy, floating stems being crisp and juicy but not easily digested.

Nesodaphne (Beilschmiedia) tarairi Hook. f. Lauraceae. TARAIRE TREE.
New Zealand.
The plant bears an ovoid and deep purple fruit used by the aborigines, but, as the seeds contain a poisonous principle, they require to be well boiled in order to make them harmless.

N. tawa Hook. f. TAWA.
New Zealand.
The fruit is edible but the seeds are poisonous unless well boiled before eaten.

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