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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Pectinaria articulata Haw. Asclepiadeae.
South Africa.
Thunberg n says this thick plant without leaves, is eaten, after being pickled, by the Hottentots, and also by the colonists.


Pedalium murex Linn. Pedaliaceae.
Tropical eastern Asia.
The leafy stems, says Drury, are used in thickening buttermilk, to which they give a rich appearance. Roxburgh says venders of buttermilk are in the habit of diluting their merchandise with water and then thickening the mixture with this plant, which makes the adulterated article seem rich and of the best sort. A. Smith says that water becomes mucilaginous by being simply stirred with the fresh branches of this plant.


Pedicularis langsdorffi Fisch. Scrophulariaceae. LOUSEWORT.
Arctic regions.
Ainslie says the leaves are employed as a substitute for tea by the inhabitants of the Kurile Islands.


Pelargonium acetosum Soland. Geraniaceae. STORK'S BILL.
Cape of Good Hope.
The buds and acid leaves are eaten.


P. peltatum Ait.
South Africa.
At the Cape of Good Hope, the buds and acid leaves are eaten.


P. triste Ait.
South Africa.
Syme says the tubers are eaten at the Cape of Good Hope.


P. zonale L'Herit.
South Africa.
The leaves and stalks are eaten in Yemen.


Peltandra virginica Rafin. Araceae. ARROW ARUM. VIRGINIAN WAKE ROBIN.
Eastern North America.
Bartram told Kalm that the Indians ate the boiled spadix and berries as a luxury. When the berries are raw they have a harsh, pungent taste, which they lose in great measure upon boiling. The Indians also eat the roots cooked but never raw, as they are then reckoned poisonous.


Peltaria alliacea Jacq. Cruciferae. GARLIC CRESS.
Central Europe.
This plant is classed as an edible by botanists.


Pemphis acidula Forst. Lythraceae.
Tropical Asia and islands of the Pacific.
The leaves are used as a potherb along the shores.


Pennisetum dasystachyum Desv. Gramineae.
Guiana.
Earth, in Travels in Northern Africa, says, at Agades, the slaves were busy collecting and pounding the seeds of the karengia, or uzak, which constitutes a great part of their food. Livingstone says the seeds are collected regularly by the slaves over a large portion of central Africa and are used as food.


P. typhoideum Rich. SPIKED MILLET.
Tropics.
This grass is supposed by Pickering to be a native of tropical America. It is extensively cultivated about Bombay and forms a very important article of food to the natives. In Africa, Livingstone found it cultivated in great quantities as food for man. This species is cultivated in many varieties in India, where it is a native. Drury says it is much cultivated in Coromandel, and that the grain is a very essential article of diet among the natives of the northern Circars. The seeds, says Unger, constitute the principal article of food for the negroes in various parts of Africa. Four varieties are cultivated by the native farmers of Bengal who eat the grain and feed their cattle with the straw.


Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth. Leguminosae.
Tropical Africa.
A tree, known in Gabun as owala and in the Eboo country as opachalo. The seeds are eaten by the natives, who also extract a limpid oil from them.


Pentadesma butyracea Sabine. Guttiferae. BUTTER TREE. TALLOW TREE.
Tropical Africa.
The fruit is eaten. The yellow, greasy juice, which flows from the fruit when it is cut, is mixed by the inhabitants of Sierra Leone with their food but is not used by Europeans on account of the strong, turpentine flavor.


Pentatropis cynanchoides R. Br. Asclepiadeae.
Abyssinia, Persia and northwest India.
Its follicles are eaten.


Peplis portula Linn. Lythraceae. WATER PURSLANE.
Europe and adjoining Asia.
This plant is mentioned by Theophrastus as cultivated, by Dioscorides as esculent; it is mentioned also by Pliny, Varro and Columella. About Athens, it is eaten in salads.


Pereskia aculeata Mill. Cactaceae. BARBADOES GOOSEBERRY.
West Indies.
The fruit is yellow, edible, pleasant to the taste and is used in the West Indies for preserving.


P. bleo DC.
Mexico and New Granada.
The leaves are eaten as a salad in Panama and are called bleo by the natives.


Pergularia edulis Thunb. Asclepiadeae.
South Africa.
The young leaves are eaten as a potherb in Japan.


Perilla arguta Benth. Labiatae.
China and Japan.
An infusion of this plant is used, says Mueller, to impart to table vegetables and other substances a deep red color. The plant is an inmate of French flower gardens.


Periploca aphylla Decne. Asclepiadeae.
Northwest India, Afghanistan, south Persia, Arabia and Egypt.
The flower-buds, says Brandis, are sweet and are eaten, raw or cooked, as a vegetable.


Persea gratissima Gaertn. f. Lauraceae. ABACATE. AHUACATE. ALLIGATOR PEAR. AVOCADO. AVOCATE. VEGETABLE MARROW.
A tree of tropical America.
The avocado has been naturalized on the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius since 1758. In Brazil, it is one of the most highly-prized fruits. The fruit is like a large pear, with a green, leathery rind and a tender, juicy flesh which incloses a hard nut. The flesh, made into a sauce with citron juice and sugar, has a delightful taste. In itself, the flesh is insipid but tender and soft, tasting like artichokes. Moritz Wagner says it may be called vegetable butter as it melts upon the tongue. Arruda says the fruit is very pleasant and that there are in Brazil two varieties, one of which is called cayenne. Morelet says the variety in Central America called avocate is a pulpy fruit with a thin, smooth, leathery skin of a green color, spotted with red, resembling much a large pear. It contains a large, oval stone, which, when the fruit ripens and is ready to eat, becomes loose and rattles in its center. The pulp is of a delicate coffee color, unctuous, without odor, resembles fresh butter and is eaten with a spoon. This fruit is rarely Palatable at first to the stranger, but it finally recommends itself by its wonderfully delicate, agreeable and peculiar flavor. The second variety is called by the Indians omtchon. It differs from the first by the contraction of the part nearest the stem, by its sharp, conic base, by its thick, wrinkled, light green skin and by the tenacity with which the skin adheres to the pulp. A third kind is also known, called anison. It is not as highly esteemed as the others and has a very strong, peculiar odor. In Jamaica, says Long, there are two species, the green and the red, the latter preferred, but the quality of the fruit varies; that produced in a wild state is small and often bitter. The pulp is in universal esteem and is called by some vegetable marrow and is generally eaten with sugar and lime juice or pepper and salt. It has a delicate, rich flavor. Lunan says few people relish the fruit at first but it soon becomes agreeable. In an immature state, the fruit is very dangerous. It is cultivated to a limited extent in south Florida.


Petasites japonicus F. Schmidt. Compositae.
Sakhalin Islands.
The young, tender petioles of the leaves are said by Penhallow to be largely used by the Japanese of Yeso as a food. The native name is fuki. It is held in high esteem among the Ainos, although devoid of flavor. The plants are cultivated for their succulent petioles.


Peteria scoparia A. Gray. Leguminosae.
New Mexico.
This is a stout, spiny, suffruticose herb with a small, edible, tuberous rootstock.


Peucedanum (Lomatium) ambiguum Nutt. Umbelliferae. BISCUITROOT. BREADROOT. KONSE.
Western North America.
The root is called breadroot or biscuitroot by travelers and konse by the Indians of Oregon and Idaho. The Canadians call it racine blanc. When fresh, it is like the parsnip in taste and, as the plant dies, the root becomes brittle and very white with an agreeable taste of mild celery. It is easily reduced to flour and is much used for food.


P. (Lomatium) farinosum Geyer.
Western North America.
The round to oblong, white root is gathered by the Oregon Indians.


P. (Lomatium) foeniculaceum Nutt.
Western North America.
The roots are eaten by the Indians.


P. (Lomatium) geyeri S. Wats.
The tubers are an Indian food.


P. (Anethum) graveolens Benth. & Hook. f. DILL.
Europe and Asia.
This hardy, biennial plant was introduced to Britain in 1570. Masters says this is supposed to be the plant which is called arrise in the New Testament narrative. Dill is commonly regarded as the anethon of Dioscorides and the anethum of Pliny, Palladius and others. The name dill is found in writings of the Middle Ages, and dill is spoken of as a garden plant in the early botanies. In England, it was called dyll by Turner, 1538, which proves its presence at that date. It also occurs in the vocabulary of Alfric, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the tenth century. Dill was in American gardens before 1806. It seems to be spontaneous in the far West as its roots are used as food by the Snake and Shoshoni Indians, by whom it is called yampeh3 It is cultivated for its leaves and seeds. The former are used as flavors in soups and sauces, and the seeds are added to piclded cucumbers to heighten the flavor. In India, the seeds are much used for culinary and medicinal purposes. The seeds are to be found in every Indian bazaar and form 3 Yampeh is actually several species of Perideridia, Umbelliferae one of the chief ingredients in curry powder.


P. (Lomatium) nudicaule Nutt. SYMRNIUM.
Western North America.
The Indians boil the tops in soups the same as we use celery. Beckwith says the roots are used as food by the Indians of the West.


P./Imperatoria ostruthium Koch. MASTERWORT.
Europe.
The foliage was formerly boiled and eaten as a potherb.


P. palustre Moench. MARSH HOG'S FENNEL. MILK PARSLEY.
Europe.
The roots are used in Russia as a substitute for ginger.


P. (Pastinaca) sativum Benth. & Hook. f. PARSNIP.
Europe and North America.
The parsnip is a biennial, the root of which has been in use as an esculent from an early period. The Emperor Tiberius, according to Pliny, was so fond of parsnips that he had them brought annually from Germany, from the neighborhood of Gelduba on the Rhine, where they were said to be grown in great perfection. The wild plant, according to Don, is a native of Europe even to the Caucasus; in North America, on the banks of the Saskatchewan and Red River; in South America about Buenos Aires; and is naturalized in northeastern America. The root of the wild plant is spindle-shaped, white, aromatic, mucilaginous and sweet, with a degree of acrimony. From the seeds of the wild variety in the garden of the Royal Agricultural Society at Cirencester, originated the highly-appreciated garden variety known as Student. It has been supposed that the Pastinaca of the Romans included the carrot and the parsnip, and that the elaphoboscon of Pliny was the parsnip. Pliny describes the medicinal virtues of the elaphoboscon and says it is much esteemed as a food. The references, however, do not prove this plant to be cultivated, nor do the references to the pastinaca satisfactorily indicate the parsnip. One is willing to accept such evidence as we find that the cultivated parsnip was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Among the early botanists, there is much confusion in names between the carrot and the parsnip. The root must, however, have come into general use long before these records and perhaps its culture started in Germany, as it seems to have been unknown to Ruellius, 1536, but is recorded by Fuchsius in Germany, 1542, who gives a figure but calls it gross zam mosen. The parsnip is figured by Roeszlin, 1550, under the name pestnachen and in 1552 is recorded by Tragus as having a sweet root, used especially by the poor and better known in the kitchens than fat.

The following is a synonymy founded on pictures and descriptions combined, all representing our long parsnip-form of root but some indicating the hollow crown, upon which some of the modern varieties are founded, especially Camerarius in 1586:
Sisarum sativum magnum. Fuch. 751. 1542.
Pestnachen. Roeszl. 106. 1550.
Pastinaca saliva. Matth. 353. 1558; 500. 1570; 548. 1598; Pin. 318. 1561
Pastinaca domestica vulgi. Lob. Obs. 407. 1576; Icon. 1:709. 1591.
De Pastinaca. Pastenay, gerlin oder moren. Pictorius 94. 1581.
Pastinaca domestica. Cam. Epit. 507. 1586; Dur. C. 837. 1617
Pastinaca sativa vulgi, Matthioli. Dalechamp 719. 1587.
Pastinaca latifolia sativa. Ger. 870. 1597; Dod. 680. 1616.
Pastinaca sativa latifolia, Germanica, luteo flore. Bauh. J. 2: pt. 2, 150, 25i. 1651.

Long parsnips of the moderns
In 1683, the long parsnips are figured in England as in great use for a delicate, sweet food; are spoken of by Ray, 1686; Townsend, 1726;

Mawe, 1778; and Miller, 1807.

The round parsnip is called siam by Don, 1834. Its roots are funnelshaped, tapering very abruptly, often curving inwards. There is little known of its early history. It was noted in the Bon Jardinier for 1824; as also by Pirolle in Le Hort. Francois; by Mclntosh, Burr and other more recent writers.

The parsnip was brought to America by the earliest colonists. It is mentioned at Margarita Island by Hawkins, 1564; in Peru by Acosta, 1604; as cultivated in Virginia in 1609 and 1648; in Massachusetts in 1629 and as common in 1630; and was among the Indian foods destroyed by Gen. Sullivan ls in western New York in 1779.


P. (Lomatium) triternatum Nutt.
Western North America.
The roots are of the size of peanuts and are collected very largely by the Indians. When dried, they are hard and brittle and have a mild, sweet taste. They afford a good proportion of the food of some tribes. The fusiform root when roasted is one of the grateful vegetables of the Indians.


Peumus boldus Molina. Monimiaceae. BOLDU.
Chile.
The white, buttery pulp of the fruit is of an agreeable taste. The aromatic fruits, about the size of haws, are eaten.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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