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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Tabemaemontana utilis Am. Apocynaceae. COW TREE. HYA- HYA.
Guiana.
From an incision in the bark is obtained a good flow of thick, white, creamy sap of a rich, nutty flavor, but Brown says a little of it goes a long way. Brandis 9 calls it a thick, sweet, nutritious milk.


Tacca dubia Schult. f. Taccaceae. TACCA.
Malayan Archipelago.
It is used as tacca.


T. palmata Blume. TACCA.
Java.
This is one of the taccas of the Malayan Archipelago which furnishes a food-fecula.


T. pinnatifida Forst. PIA. SALEP. TACCA.
Asia and African tropics and islands of Pacific.
The tubers of the tacca furnish a mealy nutriment to the inhabitants of the Society Islands and the Moluccas, where the plant is found both wild and in a state of cultivation. In the latter case, the tuberous root loses some of its original acridity and bitterness. The roots are rasped and macerated for four or five days in water and a fecula is separated in the same manner that sago is and, like it, is employed as an article of food by the inhabitants of the Malayan Islands and the Moluccas. In Otaheite, they make cakes of the meal of the tubers. The tubers form an article of diet in China and Cochin China and in Travancore, where they are much eaten, the natives mix agreeable acids with them to subdue their natural pungency. From the tubers, the main supply of the Fiji arrowroot is prepared, and an arrowroot is also made from this plant in the East Indian province of Arracan.


Tacsonia (Passiflora) mollissima H. B. & K. Passifloraceae.
New Granada.
In India, says Finninger, this plant bears a great abundance of a pale green fruit of the size of a goose egg and of a rather agreeable flavor.


T. (Passiflora) mixta Juss.
Tropical America.
The fruit is edible.


T. (Passiflora) tripartita Juss.
Ecuador.
It bears edible fruit.


Tagetes lucida Cav. Compositae. SWEET MACE.
Mexico.
This plant, says Loudon, is much used in Nottinghamshire, England, as an ingredient of soups instead of tarragon. In France, it is grown in the flower garden.


Talauma plumierii DC. Magnoliaceae.
West Indies.
The flowers are used by the distillers of Martinique to sweeten liquors.


Talinum patens Willd. Portulaceae.
Tropical America.
In Brazil, St. Hilaire says the leaves are cooked as are those of purslane.


Talisia olivaeformis Radlk. Sapindaceae.
New Granada.
The fruit is the size and shape of an olive, jet black and of a pleasant taste.


Tamarindus indica Linn. Leguminosae. TAMARIND.
Asia and tropical Africa.
The tamarind furnishes a fruit in southern Asia and middle Africa, which is used for food and is manufactured into cooling drinks. This large tree is planted before the houses in Senegal, Egypt, Arabia and India. The acid pulp in India is used in the preparation of a beer. The seeds or stones in India in times of famine are boiled or fried and then eaten as they are also in Ceylon. Tamarinds form an important ingredient in Indian cookery, especially in curries, and in western India are used in preserving or pickling fish. In Timor, Cunningham saw the fruit exposed in large quantities for sale in the markets, the husk having been taken off and the fruit then dried in the sun.

The West Indian form of T. indica is cultivated for its fruit in the West Indies, the pulp of which is mixed and boiled with sugar and forms an important article of commerce. In Curacao, the natives eat the pulp raw. In Martinique, they eat even the unripe fruit. Fresh tamarinds are occasionally brought to this country. They have an agreeable, sour taste, without any mixture of sweetness. As we usually find them, in the preserved state, they form a dark colored, adhesive mass, consisting of syrup mixed with the pulp, membrane, strings and seeds of the pod. They are of a sweet, acidulous taste. On account of their laxative and refrigerant effect, convalescents often find the pulp a pleasant addition to their diet The tree is very abundant in Jamaica and is grown in the government collection of fruits at Washington.


Tamarix artculata Vahl. Tamaricaceae.
Arabia, Persia and East Indies.
Tamarisk manna is produced on the twigs by the puncture of an insect in parts of the Punjab and in Sind. This manna is chiefly collected during the hot weather and is used medicinally or to adulterate sugar. This plant is said by Prosper Alpinus to be the atle of the Egyptians, written ati by Forskal and atleh by Delile.


T. gallica Linn. MANNA PLANT.
Europe, Asia and Africa.
This species descends in Senegal to the neighborhood of the equator. It is called in Egypt and Fezzan attil and tarfe by the Arabs, whence the name taray of the Spaniards, and tarajol of the Canarians. It supplies a manna in the southern Punjab. Burckhardt states that this manna is used by the Bedouin Arabs near Mt. Sinai with their food. Arnold says, in Persia, the ground beneath the bushes is swept clean and a cotton cloth spread under the branches. The trees are then shaken, the manna collected and made into cakes with sugar or honey and flour. Sweet almonds are sometimes added to the sweetmeat before it is baked.


Tamus communis Linn. Dioscoreaceae. BLACK BRYONY. MANDRAKE.
Europe, Persia and north Africa.
Dioscorides says the young shoots were eaten, and the young shoots are now cooked and eaten in Cyprus. Gerarde says "they are served at men's tables also in our age in Tuscania; others report the like also to be done in Andalusia." The young suckers, in which the acrid principle is not much developed, are eaten as asparagus, as Lindley says, after careful boiling and changing the water. In France, black bryony is grown in the flower gardens.


Tanacetum vulgare Linn. Compositae. TANSY.
A strong-scented plant of Europe and Asia; now naturalized in the United States. Tansy is still included in the herb garden as a condimental and medicinal herb, yet it is very little grown, the wild plant usually sufficing for all purposes. Tansy very readily becomes an escape, thriving in out-of-the-way places without culture. It was formerly in greater esteem than at present. In 1633, Gerarde says: "In the spring-time are made with the leaves hereof newly sprung up, and with egs, cakes, or tansies, which be pleasant in taste, and good for the stomacke." In 1778, Mawe says: "This herb, for its economical uses in the kitchen and medicine, merits culture in every garden," and names for varieties the plain-leaved, the curled-leaved, the variegated-leaved and the scentless. Both the common and the curled are figured by Dodonaeus, 1616, and are mentioned in other botanies of this period. It was in American gardens before 1806.


Tanaecium lilacinum Seem. Bignoniaceae.
Panama.
Dr. Seemann says the edible berry is called in Guiana emosseberry.


Taraxacum officinale Wigg. Compositae. DANDELION.
Temperate regions, north and south.
The dandelion is highly spoken of as a spring green by various authors and has been used as a food plant in many regions but it has only recently come under cultivation. When a swarm of locusts destroyed vegetation in the Island of Minorca, the inhabitants subsisted on this plant, and, in Gottingen, the dried root has been used as a substitute for coffee. In 1749, Kalm speaks of the French in New York preparing and eating the roots as a common salad but not usually employing the leaves. The plant is now eaten raw or cooked by the Digger Indians of Colorado and the Apaches of Arizona. In 1828, Fessenden says the wild plant is used by our people but is never cultivated. In 1853, Mclntosh, an English author, had never heard of dandelions being cultivated. They are now extensively cultivated in France, and, in 1879, five varieties appeared in the French catalogs.

Dandelions are blanched for use as a winter salad. They are now very largely grown by our market gardeners, and Thorbum, in 1881, offers seed of two sorts. In 1871, four varieties were exhibited at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society under the names of the French Large-leaved, French Thick-leaved, Red-seeded and the American Improved. Fearing Burr, who exhibited them, makes no mention of dandelions in his Garden Vegetables, 1866. The common name is a corruption of dent de lion, a word which is found in the Welsh Dant y Llew of the thirteenth century. Its vernacular names in various languages have usually reference to the peculiar indentation of the leaves, or to some other resemblance or character of the plant. By commentators, the dandelion has been identified with the aphake of Theophrastus, in composition signifying absence of and phake, lentils, or the name, perhaps, signifying that the plant can be used as a green before lentils appear in the spring. The dandelion may be the ambubeia of Pliny and the name may suggest the scattering of the seed, ambulo meaning the going backward and forward, but some commentators assign this name to the wild endive or chicory; the hedypnois of Pliny is but doubtfully identified with our dandelion and appears to be derived from two Greek words signifying sweet breath and may refer to the sweet smell of the flowers.

Bauhin, in his Pinax, 1623, enumerates two varieties of dandelion: one, the Dens Leonis latiore filio, carried back in his synonymy to Brunselsius, 1539; the other, Dens Leonis angustiore folio, carried back in like manner to Caesalpinus, 1583. The first kind, he says, has a large and a medium variety, the leaves sometimes pointed, sometimes obtuse. In the Flore Naturelle et Economique, Paris, 1803, the same varieties, apparently, are mentioned, one with narrow leaves and the other with large and rounded leaves. In Martyn's Miller's Dictionary, 1807, the leaves of the dandelion are said to vary from pinnatifid or deeply runcinate in a very dry situation to nearly entire in a very moist one, generally smooth but sometimes a little rough; and Leontodon palustris is described as scarcely more than a variety, varying much in its leaves, which have few notches or are almost entire, the plant smoother, neater, more levigated and more glaucous than the common dandelion.

In Geneva, New York, on the grounds of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, a large number of variations are to be commonly noted, both in the habit and appearance of the plant and irrespective of difference of soil or exposure, as varieties may readily be separated whose roots are intertwined. Some plants grow with quite erect leaves, others with their leaves closely appressed to the soil; some have broad, others narrow leaves; some have runcinate leaves, others leaves much cut and almost fringed and yet others the leaves nearly entire; some have almost sessile leaves; some have smooth leaves, others roughened leaves; some have thin, others thick leaves; some grow to a larger size, others are always dwarfer; some have an open manner of growth, others a close manner.

The use of the wild plant as a vegetable seems to have been common from remote times, but its culture is modem. In 1836, a Mr. Corey, Brookline, Massachusetts, grew dandelions for the Boston market from seed obtained from the largest of the wild plants. In 1863, dandelions are described among garden esculents by Burr, but the context does not indicate any especial varieties. In 1874, perhaps earlier, the seed appears for sale in seed catalogs, and the various seed catalogs of 1885 offer six names, one of which is the "common." In England, dandelion culture is not mentioned in Mawe's Gardener, 1778, nor in Martyn's Miller's Dictionary, 1807; the first notice is in the Gardeners' Chronicler where an instance of cultivation is noted, the herbage forming "a beautiful and delicate blanched salad." In 1880, its culture had not become common, as this year its cultivation in France, and not in England, is noted. In France, Noisette gives cultural directions and says the wild plant furnishes a spring potherb. The dandelion is not, however, mentioned in L'Horticulteur Francaise, nor in Nouveau Dictionnaire du Jardinage, 1826. Vilmorin mentions its culture in France as dating from 1868, and the firm of Vilmorin-Andrieux et Cie., 1885, offers four sorts of seed, one, the Improved Moss, as new. In Vilmorin's Les Plantes Potageres, 1883, two forms are figured: Pissenlit ameliore a coeur plein and Pissenlit ameliore tres hatif. The first of these is named in Album de Cliches, Pissenlit ameliore frise, and a fourth name or third form is figured, the Pissenlit mousse. The type of the Pissenlit mousse can be readily found among the wild plants on the grounds of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, very closely resembling Vilmorin's figure in every respect when growing on rich soil, except that the leaf divisions are scarcely as much crowded. The type of the Pissenlit ameliore a coeur plein is perhaps to be recognized in Anton Pinaeus' figure, 1561, and is certainly to be found growing wild at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station. The Pissenlit ameliore tres hatif is figured in 1616; the resemblance between the two figures, the one by Dodonaeus and the other by Vilmorin, is very close. It is also to be found growing wild on the New York Station grounds.


Taxus baccata Linn. Coniferae (Taxaceae). YEW.
North temperate Europe and Asia.
The berries, says Johns, are of a mawkish, disagreeable taste but are eaten with impunity by children. The nut contains a kernel which has an agreeable flavor like that of the stone-pine. Brandis says the berries are sweet and harmless and are eaten by the natives of the northwest Himalayas.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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