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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Sparaxis bulbifera Ker-Gawl. Irideae. HARLEQUIN FLOWER.
South Africa.
The bulbous tubers are edible.


Specularia (Legousia) speculum A. DC. Campanulaceae. VENUS'S LOOKING-GLASS.
Europe and Mediterranean region.
Henfrey says this plant has been used in salads. It is grown in the flower garden in France.


Spergula arvensis Linn. Caryophylleae. CORN SPURRY. TOADFLAX.
Europe; naturalized in North America.
In Finland and Scandinavia, says Johnson, in time of scarcity bread has sometimes been made of the seeds.


Sphaerococcus cartilaginens Good. & Wood. Algae.
Balfour says this seaweed is used in China as a substitute for edible birds-nests. It is to be found in Chinese markets and differs but little from Irish moss and is used as a substitute for the more expensive birds-nest.


Sphagnum obtusifolium Ehrh. Sphagnales. BOG MOSS. SPHAGNUM.
Temperate climates.
Sphagnum, says Lindley, is a wretched food in barbarous countries.


Spilanthes acmella Murr. Compositae. ALPHABET-PLANT. PARA CRESS.
Cosmopolitan tropics and subtropics.
This plant is used as a salad plant in Brazil. It is the Cresson du Bresil of the French and is cultivated as a seasoning plant. In South America, it is the cress of Para and is cultivated as a salad and potherb in tropical countries. It is eaten as a salad in the Mascarenhas, in the East Indies, South America and in Japan, where it is called hoko so.


Spinacia oleracea Linn. Chenopodiaceae. SPINACH.
Cultivated everywhere.
Spinach appears to have been introduced into Europe through Spain by the Mauro-Spaniards. According to Beckman, the first notice of its use as an edible in Europe occurs in 1351 in a list of vegetables used by monks on fast days, but, in the Nabataean agriculture in Spain, in the twelfth century, Ibn-al-Awam speaks of it as a prince of vegetables. Albertus Magnus, who lived in Germany and died in the year 1280, knew the prickly-seeded form, and the Ortus Sanitatis of 1511 figures spinach and gives a Greek name aspenach. It was also well known to Agricola in 1539. In England, the name spynoches occurs in a cook book of 1390, compiled under the name of The Forme of Cury for the use of the court of King Richard the Second; in 1538, spinach is spoken of by Turner in his Libellus as well known in England and, in 1536 by Ruellius, as if well known in France. These dates are interesting, as De Candolle calls it new to Europe in the sixteenth century and other authors date its first mention in England as not preceding 1568. The smooth-seeded spinach is described by Tragus in 1552. According to Sprengel, spinach is noticed by Crescentius in the thirteenth century and is badly figured in the Ortus Sanitatis, edition of 1491. According to Bretschneider, spinach is noticed in a Chinese work on husbandry of the seventh or eighth century. There is no early notice of its introduction into America, but, in 1806, three varieties were known to our gardens. Two races are now known in American gardens; one with prickly seed, and the other with smooth seed. These have been described as follows:
I. PRICKLY-SEEDED SPINACH.
Spinacia spinosa Moench.
Spinachia. Alb. Mag. 13thCent. Jessen Ed. 563; Fuchsius. 666. cum ic. 1542; Dod. 619. cum ic. 1616.
Binetach, Spinat, Spinacia. Roeszl. cum ic. 1550.
Olus hispanicus. Trag. 325. cum ic. 1552.
Spinacia. Matth. 342. cum ic. 1570; Lob. Obs. 129. 1576. cum ic.
1591; ic. l:257. 1591: Dalechamp 544 cum ic. 1587; Ger. 260. cum ic. 1597
Spanachum. Cam. Epit. 245. cum ic. 1586.
Lapathum hortense alterum, sue Spinacia semine spinoso. Bauh. Phytopin.
Spinachia was. Bauh, J. 2; 964. cum ic. 1651.
Spinacia oleraceae. Linn. var. A. Linn. Sp. 2d ed. 1456.
Epinard d'Angleterre. Vilm. 203. 1883.
Large Prickly or Winter Spinage. Vilm. 533. 1885.

II. SMOOTH-SEEDED SPINACH.
Spinacia inermis Moench.
Spinachia nobilis. Trag. 324. 1552.
Phytopin. 184. 1596.
Spinacia II. Ger. 260. 1597.
Spinachia foemina. Bauh. J. 2:964. 1651.
1686; Chabr. 303. cum ic. 1677.
Spinacia glabra. Mill. Diet. 1733.
Spinacia oleracea. Linn. var. B. Linn. Sp. 1456. 1762.
Epinards a graine ronde. Vilm. 204. 1883.
Round-seeded Spinage. Vilm. 534. 1885.
Spinach was in American gardens in 1806. But one variety of the prickly-seeded is described by Vilmorin and five of the smooth-seeded form.


Spiraea (Filipendula) filipendula (ulmaria) Linn. Rosaceae. DROPWORT. MEADOW SWEET.
Europe and northern Asia; common in gardens in the United States. Linnaeus says the roots have been eaten by men instead of bread.


Spondias lutea Linn. Anacardiaceae. BRAZILIAN PLUM. JEW PLUM. OTAHEITE APPLE.
Cosmopolitan tropics.
At Tahiti, says Ellis, the vi, or Brazilian plum, is an abundant and excellent fruit of an oval or oblong shape and bright yellow color. In form and taste, it somewhat resembles a Magnum Bonum plum but is larger and, instead of a stone, has a hard and spiked core containing a number of seeds. Firminger says its appearance is very inviting, as is also its exquisite fragrance, resembling that of the quince; to the taste, however, it is very acid, with a flavor like that of an exceedingly bad mango. This is the Jew plum of Mauritius. Lunan says the fruit is purple, yellow, or variegated; pulp sweet, slightly acidulated, yellow, thin, having a singular but not unpleasant taste and a sweet smell. It varies somewhat in form. The seed scarcely ever ripens, but the tree is readily increased by cuttings, and if a branch laden with young fruit be set in the ground it will grow and the fruit will come to maturity. Masters says the flower-buds are used as a sweetmeat with sugar.


S. mangifera Willd. HOG PLUM.
Tropical Asia.
The fruit, when, largest, is of the size of a goose egg, of a rich olive-green, mottled with yellow and black, with but a trifling degree of scent and none of the quince-like odor of the other species. The inner part nearest the rind is rather acid; that being removed, the part nearest the stem is sweet and eatable, but withal it is not an agreeable fruit. Brandis says the ripe fruit has an astringent acid and turpentine taste but is eaten and pickled.


S. purpurea Linn. HOG PLUM. SPANISH PLUM.
Tropical America; cultivated in the northern regions of the tropical parts of Brazil. This fruit has very recently been introduced at Jacksonville, Florida, under the name of Spanish plum. Lunan says the fruits are yellow with sometimes a slight mixture of redness, sweet smelling, covered with a thin skin, the size of a pigeon's egg, having within a little sweetish, acidulous pulp and a very large nut; eaten by some. The natives, says Unger, eat the sweetish, acid flesh, prepare a sauce and manufacture a drink from it.


S. tuberosa Arruda.
Brazil.
The fruit is about twice the size of a large gooseberry, of an oblong shape and of a yellowish color when ripe; beneath its coriaceous skin there is a juicy pulp of a pleasant, sweetish-acid taste. The fruit is fit to eat only when it is so ripe as to fall to the ground, when a large quantity may be eaten without inconvenience.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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