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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Pachira (Bombax) aquatica Aubl. Malvaceae (Bombacaceae). MALABAR CHESTNUT.
Tropical America.
The mealy seeds of this tree, when roasted, taste like chestnuts. The young leaves and flowers are used as a vegetable. There is nothing better than this chestnut cooked with a little salt.


P. grandiflora Tussac.
West Indies.
The seeds are eaten as chestnuts are.


P. insignis Savign.
Mexico and Guiana.
The seeds, young leaves and flowers serve as food.


Pachyrhizus angulatus Rich. Leguminosae.
Tropical Asia, Central America, the East and West Indies, Mauritius and Fiji Islands.
The root, a single turnip-formed tuber, when young, is eaten, both raw and boiled, by the inhabitants of India and the Mauritius. Its coarse roots furnish food to the poor in China, when boiled, or when dried, and pounded into a flour. In the Malay Archipelago, the plant produces a large, edible, tuberous root. The Fiji Islanders, who call the plant yaka or wayaka, obtain a tough fiber from the stems, with which they make fishing nets. In China and Cochin China, where it is cultivated, the tubers, which are cylindrical and about two feet long, are eaten boiled as yams are, Smith says the tubers are eaten but are deleterious if not thoroughly cooked. A kind of arrowroot is made from the root in some places. The roots are eaten in Viti. Seemann says they are of a dirty white color when cooked and have a slightly starchy, insipid flavor.


P. tuberosus Spreng. POTATO BEAN.
West Indies.
The plant has large, tuberous roots, which, as well as the seeds, serve as food. It is called yalai by the people of New Caledonia, and the roots are roasted and eaten.


Paederia foetida Linn. Rubiaceae.
East Indies, Malay and Hindustan.
This is a long, cylindrical plant, which gives off a most offensive odor when bruised. The leaves, boiled and made into soup, are considered wholesome and suitable for the sick and convalescent, as Dutt writes.


Paeonia albiflora Pall. Ranunculaceae. PAEONY.
Northern Asia.
This species is to be seen in ornamental gardens. The roots are used as food in Mongolia, being boiled and eaten by the Tartars, who also powder the seeds to mix with their tea.


Panax fruticosum Linn. Araliaceae. PANAX.
Tropical Asia, Malay and Polynesia.
This aromatic plant is much cultivated in the Island of Ternate by the natives for food and for medicine. The boiled leaves are eaten as greens.


Pancratium maritimum Linn. Amaryllidaceae. SEA DAFFODIL.
Europe.
This plant is said to have properties resembling those of the squill. The bulbs were shown among food specimens at the International Exhibition of 1862.


Pandanus leram Jones. Pandanaceae.
Nicobar Islands.
In the Nicobar Islands, the immense fruit cones consist of several single, wedge-shaped fruits, which, when raw, are uneatable, but, boiled in water and subjected to pressure, they give out a sort of mealy mass. This is the melori of the Portuguese and the larohm of the natives. It is also occasionally used with the fleshy interior of the ripe fruit and forms the daily bread of the islanders. The flavor of the mass thus prepared strongly resembles that of apple marmalade and is by no means unpalatable to Europeans.


P. odoratissimus Linn. f. BREADFRUIT. PANDANG. SCREW PINE.
The terminal bud is eaten under the name of cabbage; the tender white base of the leaves is also eaten raw or boiled, during famines. Kotzebur says it constitutes the chief food of the people of Radack. It is chewed raw for the aromatic juice and is also baked in pits.


P. pedunculatus R. Br. BREADFRUIT. SCREW PINE.
Australia and New Holland.
Fraser says this plant is called breadfruit and is eagerly eaten by the natives.


P. sp. SCREW PINE.
Under the name of kapupu, a staple article of food is prepared in the. islands of the Gilbert group from the soft, central portion of the fruit heads of species of pandanus. Adams says, among the Meia-co-shimah Islands, he first had the curiosity to taste the fruit of the screw pine and found it refreshing and juicy but very insipid. When perfectly mature, he continues, they certainly look very tempting and resemble large, rich-colored pineapples. The stones, though very hard, contain a pleasant kernel.


Pangium edule Reinw. Bixineae (Flacourtiaceae).
Java.
The bark is used for poisoning fish, and the nuts, when macerated in water, are rendered partially wholesome but are used only as a condiment.


Panicum colonum Linn. Gramineae. MILLET.
Tropics.
This millet grows wild in parts of India in sufficient plenty to be collected in times of scarcity to be employed as food.


P. decompositum R. Br. AUSTRALIAN MILLET.
East Indies and Australia.
The aborigines convert the small, millet-like grains into cakes.


P. miliaceum Linn. MILLET.
Tropics.
This species was cultivated in southern Europe in the time of Hippocrates and Theophrastus and was known to the Romans in the time of Julius Caesar. It is the kegchros of Strabo, who states that it thrives excellently in Gaul and is the best protection against famine. It is described by Pliny as constituting the principal food of the Sarmatians, who say that the Ethiopians know of no other grain but millet and barley. It is also mentioned by Hesiod and is referred to as cultivated in Italy by Columella and Virgil. In the embassy of Theodosius to Attila, 448-9 A. D., beyond the Danube, millet was brought the party as Provisions, and Johann Schultberger, 1396-1427, speaks of millet as the only grain crop of Siberia and at Zepun on the Black Sea. In France, this millet is cultivated at the present time almost exclusively for forage; in Germany for the grain and also for fodder; in England it is unknown as an agricultural crop. It is cultivated largely in southern and western Asia, in northeastern Africa and to some extent in Italy and in Spain. It appears to be but little known as an agricultural crop in America. Jared Elliot, 1747, speaks of seed being sent him under the name of East India wheat, but he says it was a millet, with small grain, the bigness of a turnip or cabbage seed and of a yellowish color. In 1822 and 1823, there are records of large crops of seed and hay grown in this country under the name of millet, but these may have been of other species than this. There are many varieties grown. Some 30 kinds are given for Ceylon. At the Madras exhibition of 1857, seven kinds were shown.


P. pilosum Sw.
South America.
This grain is cultivated in India as a bread corn, under the name bhadlee.


P. sanguinale Linn. CRAB GRASS. FINGER GRASS.
Cosmopolitan.
This grain grows in abundance in Poland where it is sometimes cultivated for its seed and is in cultivation in waste ground in America, naturalized from Europe. In Europe, the small-hulled fruit furnishes a wholesome and palatable nourishment called manna grit. This is the common crab grass, or finger grass, of America.


Papaver nudicaule Linn. Papaveraceae. ARCTIC POPPY.
This poppy was found by Kane at all the stations on his two voyages to the Arctic seas and it extends probably, he says, to the furthest limit of vegetation. The leaves, and especially the seeds, which are very oleaginous, are a great resort in scorbutic affections and very agreeable to the taste. Pursh gives its habitat as Labrador.


P. orientale Linn. ORIENTAL POPPY.
Asia Minor and Persia.
This species was observed in the fields about Erzerum, Armenia. This is a very fine species of poppy which the Turks and Armenians call aphion as they do the common opium. They do not extract the opium from this kind but eat the heads as a delicacy when they are green, though very acrid and of a hot taste.


P. rhoeas Linn. CORN POPPY. FIELD POPPY.
Europe, the Orient and north Africa.
On the continent of Europe, this Poppy is cultivated as an oil plant, the oil being esteemed next to that of the olive. The plant is in French flower gardens.


P. somniferum Linn. OPIUM POPPY.
Greece and the Orient.
There are several varieties of the opium poppy, of which the two most prominent are called white and black from the color of their seeds. The opium poppy is a native of the Mediterranean region but is at present cultivated in India, Persia, Asiatic Turkey and occasionally, by way of experiment, in the United States, for the purpose of procuring opium. It is grown in northern France and the south of Germany for its seeds. This poppy is supposed to have been cultivated by the ancient Greeks and is mentioned by Homer as a garden plant. Galen speaks of the seeds as good to season bread and says the white are better than the black. The Persians sprinkle the seeds of poppies over their rice, and the seeds are used in India as a food and a sweetmeat. The seeds are also eaten, says Masters, in Greece, Poland and elsewhere. In France, the seeds are made to yield by expression a bland oil, which is used as a substitute for olive oil. In Sikkim, Edgeworth remarks, the seeds afford oil as well as an agreeable food, remarkably refreshing during fatigue and abstinence. Carpenter says the peasants of Languedoc employ young poppies as food. The Chinese drink, smoke or chew opium to produce intoxication, and this depraved use has extended more or less to other countries.


Pappea capensis Eckl. & Zeyh. Sapindaceae. WILD PLUM.
South Africa.
The fruit is edible. A vinous beverage and a vinegar are Prepared from it, and an edible, though slightly purgative, oil is expressed from its seeds. Mueller says the fruit is the size of a cherry, savory and edible.


Parietaria officinalis Linn. Urticaceae. PELLITORY.
Southern Europe and the Orient.
This plant is mentioned by Theophrastus as cooked and eaten.


Parinarium (Parinari) campestre Aubl. Rosaceae (Chrysobalanaceae).
French Guiana.
The drupe is small, oval, yellow. The single seed is edible.


P. excelsum Sabine. ROUGH-SKINNED OR GRAY PLUM.
Tropical Africa.
The fruit is greatly esteemed by the negroes and is plentifully supplied in the markets. It is produced in the greatest abundance and is about the size and shape of an Imperatrice plum, with a coarse skin of a grayish color. The pulp is dry, farinaceous, small in quantity and of an insipid taste.


P. macrophyllum Sabine. GINGERBREAD PLUM.
Tropical Africa.
The fruit is oblong in form, twice the size of that of P. excelsum but otherwise resembling it in flavor and appearance.


P. montanum Aubl.
French Guiana.
The drupe is large, ovate, smootn and fibrous, has a thick, acrid rind, and the nut, or kernel, is sweet and edible.


P. nonda F. Muell. NONDA.
Northeast Australia.
This species bears edible, mealy, plum-like fruit.


Paris polyphylla Sm. Liliaceae/Trilliaceae.
Himalayan region and China.
The seeds are eaten by the Lepchas of the Himalayas. They are sweet but mawkish.


Parkia africana R. Br. Leguminosae. AFRICAN LOCUST.
Tropical western Africa.
The natives of Sudan, who call the tree dours, roast the seeds and then bruise and allow them to ferment in water until they become putrid, when they are carefully washed, pounded into powder and made into cakes, which are excellent sauce for all kinds of food but have an unpleasant smell. An agreeable beverage is Prepared from the sweet, farinaceous pulp surrounding the seeds. Sweetmeats are also made of it. The pods contain a yellow, farinaceous substance enveloping the seeds, of which the negroes of Sierra Leone are fond, its flavor being similar to that of the monkey-bread. This is the fruit mentioned by Park as a mimosa called by the negroes nitta, which furnishes a nutritive and agreeable food from its seed-pods.


P. biglandulosa Wight & Am.
Malay.
The seeds are eaten by the Malays, who relish them as well as the mealy matter which surrounds them. The former tasce like garlic.


Parmentiera edulis DC. Bignoniaceae.
Mexico.
The fruit resembles a cucumber in shape, with a rough surface and is eaten. The tree is middle-sized.


Paropsia edulis Thou. Passifloreae (Flacourtiaceae).
Madagascar.
The aril of the seeds is edible.


Paspalum ciliatum H. B. & K. Gramineae.
Brazil.
This is a perennial and a lauded cereal grass of tropical South America.


P. exile Kippist
Tropical Africa.
This is a food grass called fundunjii in west Africa.


P. scorbiculatum Linn. KODA MILLET.
Old World tropics.
This grain is grown to some extent in most parts of India. The seed is an article of diet with the Hindus, particularly with those who inhabit the hill regions and the most barren parts of the country, for it is in such districts it is chiefly cultivated, being an unprofitable crop and not sown where others more beneficial will thrive. It is used only by the poorest classes, says Elliott and is not reckoned very wholesome. Graham says this millet is very common and cheap about Bombay but unwholesome. It is the agrion krithon, furnishing good bread and gruel but which, at first, killed the horses of the Greeks until by degrees they became accustomed to it, as related by Theophrastus.


Passiflora alata Ait. Passifloraceae. PASSION FLOWERS.
Peru.
A plant of climbing habit, grown in greenhouses for its flowers. The fruit is edible.


P. boumapartea Baxt.
Tropical Africa.
This species is cultivated in greenhouses for its beautiful red, white and blue flowers. The fruit is edible.


P. caerulea Linn. BLUE PASSION FLOWER.
Brazil.
The fruit is egg-shaped, the size of a Mogul plum and yellow when ripe. It is cultivated in the gardens of Egypt.


P. coccinea Aubl.
Guiana.
The aril of the fruit is edible.


P. edulis Sims.
Brazil and the West Indies.
The pulp of the fruit is orange-colored, the taste acid and the flavor somewhat like that of an orange. The fruit in India is the size of an egg, green at first but, when ripe, is of a beautiful PLUM color and of an agreeable and and cooling taste.


P. filamentosa Cav.
South America.
It has edible fruit.


P. foetida Linn. LOVE-IN-A-MIST. WILD WATER LEMON.
Brazil and Jamaica.
The fruit is yellow, enclosed in a netted calyx and has a pleasant smell; though all the other parts of the plant have a disagreeable odor when touched. The fruit is about the size of a Golden Pippin apple, white within, membranous and contains numerous seeds involved in an agreeable, sweet-acid pulp.


P. herbertiana Bot. Reg.
Australia.
According to Fraser, in New Holland the oval fruit is produced in great quantities and affords a grateful flavor.


P. incarnata Linn. MAYPOPS.
Subtropical America from Virginia to Kentucky and southward.
It has been cultivated by the Indians from early times. This is the maracock observed by Strachey on the James River, "of the bigness of a green apple, and hath manie azurine or blew kernells, like as a pomegranat, a good sommer cooling fruit."


P. laurifolia Linn. WATER LEMON.
Tropical America.
In Jamaica, the fruit is much esteemed, says Lunan, being very delicate. It is the size of an egg and full of a very agreeable, gelatinous pulp in which the seeds are lodged. Titford says the fruit is very good.


P. ligularis A. Juss.
Tropical America.
The fruit is edible.


P. lutea Linn.
West Indies.
The plant bears edible fruit.


P. macrocarpa Mast. PASSION FLOWER.
Rio Negro region of South America and cultivated in greenhouses for its large flowers. The fruits are very large, sometimes weighing as much as eight pounds. The fleshy aril attached to the seeds or the juicy pulp is the part eaten.


P. maliformis Linn. CONCH APPLE. CONCH NUT. SWEET CALABASH. WATER LEMON.
West Indies. The fruit is round, smooth, about two inches in diameter, of a dingy color when ripe. It has a pale yellow, agreeable, gelatinous pulp, which is eaten with wine and sugar.


P. quadrangularis Linn. GRANADILLA.
Tropical America.
The fruit is of an oval shape and of various sizes from that of a goose egg to a middling-sized muskmelon; it is of a greenishyellow color, having a spongy rind about a finger in thickness, which becomes soft as the fruit ripens, contains a succulent pulp of a water color and sweet smell, is of a very agreeable, pleasant, sweet-acid taste and contains a multitude of black seeds, which are eaten with the pulp. Titford says it is delicious. The granadilla is cultivated in tropical America and in India and is grown in conservatories for its flowers. If fruit be wanted, the flowers must be artifically fertilized.


P. serrata Linn.
Mauritius.
It has edible fruit.


Paullinia cupana H. B. & K. Sapindaceae.
Brazil.
The seeds are mingled with cassava and water and allowed to ferment, forming the favorite drink of the Orinoco Indians. The pounded seeds form guarana bread. This bread is made by the Indians and is highly esteemed in Brazil. About 16000 pounds are exported from Santarem. The bread is grated into sugar and water and forms a diet drink. Its active principle is a substance called guaranine, which is identical in composition with the thein of tea.


P. subrotunda Pers.
Royle says this plant has an edible aril.
Henfrey says the seeds are eaten.


Pavetta indica Linn. Rubiaceae.
Asia and tropical Australia.
The fruit, which is of a green color, is eaten by the natives but is oftener made into a pickle.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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