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  Section: Edible Plant Species
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Edible Plant Species

Secale cereale Linn. Gramineae. RYE.
Rye, according to Karl Koch, is found wild in the mountains of the Crimea. De Candolle thinks he has discovered rye in a wild state in Australia, and a species seems to have existed in the Bronze Age of Europe, as shown by the lacustrine debris of Switzerland. Kotzebur is said to have found it growing wild near Fort Ross, North America, where it is gathered by the Indians. Syria, Armenia, Candia and south Russia have all been indicated as the native locality of rye. Pickering says it is native in northeastern Europe and the adjoining portions of Asia. Rye is now found in Norway, at 67 north, but its cultivation is usually given as extending between 50 and 60 north in Europe and Asia and in America between 40 and 50 north. Fraser found rye in large fields at an elevation of 11405 feet near the temple of Milun in the Himalayas. Neither the people of ancient India nor the Egyptians were acquainted with rye. The Greeks received rye from Thrace and Macedonia. Pliny mentions its cultivation at the foot of the Alps and thought the grain detestable and good only to appease extreme hunger. Rye early reached northeastern America. In 1606, L'Escarbot sowed rye at Port Royal, Nova Scotia, and, in 1610, it was growing in Champlain's garden at Quebec. Rye is mentioned in New England, 1629-1633, by Wood. Rye is less variable than other cultivated plants and there are but few varieties.

Sechium edule Sw. Cucurbitaceae. CHAYOTE.
West Indies.
This species is cultivated in tropical America, the West Indies and Madeira for its fruit, which is about four inches long, three inches in diameter, of a green color outside and white within. It is used as a vegetable. The roots of the old vine, on being boiled, are farinaceous and wholesome, and the seeds are very good boiled and fried in butter. It is called chocho. In South America, it is known as choko and chayote and the fruit is used. In Mexico, chayote was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called it chayotli. In Madeira, the unripe fruit is eaten boiled and called chocho. In the London market, where it is sent, it is known under the name, chayote.

Sedum album Linn. Crassulaceae. STONE CROP.
Europe, north Asia.
The leaves serve as a salad.

S. anacampseros Linn. EVERGREEN ORPINE.
The plant is used in soup as a vegetable.

In Greenland, this species is eaten.

S. rupestre Linn. STONE CROP.
Europe and adjoining Asia.
The Dutch cultivated this species to mix with their salads. Gerarde mentions its use as a salad under the name of small summer sengreene and says it has a fine relish.

S. telephium Linn. ORPINE.
Europe and northern Asia.
This plant is used in preparation of soups as a vegetable.

Semecarpus anacardium Linn. f. Anacardiaceae. MARKING-NUT TREE. VARNISH TREE.
Asia and Australian tropics.
The ripe fruit is collected. Fresh, it is acrid and astringent; roasted, it is said to taste somewhat like roasted apples; and when dry somewhat like dates.

S. cassuvium Roxb.
Burma and Malay.
The fruit has a fleshy, edible peduncle.

S. forstenii Blume.
The fruit has a fleshy, edible peduncle.

Senebiera (Coronopus) coronopus (didymus) Poir. Cruciferae. SWINE CRESS. WART CRESS.
The whole herb is nauseously acrid and fetid and requires much boiling to render it eatable.

S. nilotica DC.
The cress is eaten as a salad in Egypt.

Senecio cacaliaster Lam. Compositae.
In Thibet, this plant serves for the manufacture of chong, a spirituous and slightly acid liquor.

S. ficoides Sch.
South Africa.
The leaves are wholesome.

Sesamum indicum Linn. Pedaliaceae. SESAME.
Tropics; cultivated from time immemorial in various parts of Asia and Africa. The seeds are largely consumed as food in India and tropical Africa, but their use in European countries is mainly for the expression of oil. In Sicily, the seeds are eaten scattered on bread, an ancient custom mentioned by Dioscorides. In central Africa, sesame is cultivated as an article of food, also for its oil. This oil, which is largely exported from British India and Formosa, is an excellent salad oil; it is used in Japan for cooking fish. In China, the species is extensively cultivated for the seeds to be used in confectionery. During a famine in Rajputana, the press-refuse was sold at a high price for food. This seems to be the species, which is used by the negroes of South Carolina, who parch the seeds over the fire, boil them in broths, and use them in puddings.

Sesame was cultivated for its oil in Babylonia in the days of Herodotus and Strabo, also in Egypt in the time of Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Pliny. Its culture in Italy is mentioned by Columella, Pliny and Palladius. The seeds are used as a food by the Hindus, after being parched and ground into a meal which is called, in Arabic, rehshee, The expressed oil has a pleasant taste and is also used in cookery. In Japan, sesame is highly esteemed, but Miss Bird says the use of this oil in frying is answerable for one of the most horrific smells in Japan. In China also, the oil is used. In Greece, the seeds are made into cakes.

Sesbania cavanillesii S. Wats. Leguminosae.
The seeds are used as a substitute for coffee.

S. grandiflora Poir. VEGETABLE HUMMING-BIRD.
East Indies, Malay and Australia.
Its flower, says La Billardiere, is the largest of that of any of the leguminous plants, of a beautiful white, or sometimes red color, and the natives of Amboina often eat it dressed, and occasionally even raw, as a salad. About Bombay, the plant is cultivated for its large flowers and pods, both of which are eaten by the natives. The pods are upwards of a foot long, compressed, four sided, and the tender leaves, pods and flowers are eaten as a vegetable in India. In Burma, this is a favorite vegetable with the natives, and, in the Philippines, its flowers are cooked and eaten1 In the West Indies the flower is not used as a food but is called, at Martinique, vegetable humming-bird.

Sesuvium portulacastrum Linn. Ficoideae (Aizoaceae). SAMPHIRE. SEASIDE PURSLANE.
Common on the sandy shores of the tropical and warm regions of the Western Hemisphere. Sloane says this plant is pickled in Jamaica and eaten as English samphire. Royle says the succulent leaves are used as a potherb.

Setaria glauca Beauv. Gramineae.
Europe, temperate Asia and eastern equatorial Africa.
This plant is infested with a small, round fungus, the dust of which is eaten by the natives. It was observed by Grant at 2 north and was described by Hochst.

Tropics and subtropics.
This species is frequently cultivated in Italy and other warm countries. The seeds are found in the debris of the lake villages of Switzerland. This millet was introduced into France in 1815, where its cultivation as a forage plant has become considerably extended. In the United States, its seed was distributed through the Patent Office in 1854, and its cultivation as a fodder crop has become quite extended.

This plant seems to have been known to the ancient Greeks as elumos and to the Romans as panicum. It is now grown in Italy as a fodder plant and for the grain to form polenta. This millet forms a valued crop in southern Europe as also in some parts of central Europe. It is not mentioned among American grasses by Flint, 1857, and is barely mentioned by Gould, 1870, except by description. It is mentioned as introduced from Europe and now spontaneous, by Gray, 1868, but millet, probably this species, is mentioned prior to 1844. In India, this millet is considered by the natives as one of the most delicious of cultivated grains and is held in high estimation by the Brahmans. At Mysore, three varieties are cultivated: bili, on watered land; kempa, in palm gardens, and mobu, in dry fields. In more western tracts, other varieties are grown.

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