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  Section: Edible Plant Species
 
 
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Edible Plant Species

 
     
 
Thapsia moniza Masf. Umbelliferae. CARROT TREE.
Canary Islands.
This plant can be gathered, says Black, only by expert cragsmen let down the cliffs by ropes. The roots are eaten raw or boiled, when raw tasting like earth-nuts, and stringy and insipid when boiled. It is called the carrot tree, says Mueller, but the root is inferior to a carrot.


Theligonum cynocrambe Linn. Urticaceae (Theligoniaceae). DOG'S CABBAGE.
Orient, East Indies and Mediterranean countries.
This plant, says Syme, is sub-acid and slightly purgative but is sometimes used as a potherb.


Theobroma bicolor Humb. & Bonpl. Sterculiaceae. CACAO.
New Granada.
This species replaces the cacao in part in the West Indies and South America and the seeds are brought into commerce.


T. cacao Linn. CACAO. COCOA.
Tropical America.
This is the best-known species of the genus and the bulk of the cacao, or cocoa, of commerce is produced by it. It is largely cultivated in Guayaquil, Venezuela, Trinidad, Grenada, Jamaica and elsewhere in tropical America. Cacao is also grown as an introduced plant in the Mauritius and Bourbon. The fruit is an oblong-ovate capsule or berry, six or eight inches in length, with a thick, coriaceous and somewhat ligneous rind, enclosing a whitish pulp in which numerous seeds are embedded. These are ovate, somewhat compressed, about the size of an almond and consist of an interior thin shell and a brown, oily kernel. Separated from the matter in which they are enveloped, they constitute the cacao of commerce. Chocolate and cocoa are variously prepared from the nuts.

When Cortez was entertained at the court of the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma, he was treated to a sweet preparation of the cocoa, called chocollatl, flavored with vanilla, and other aromatic spices. Cacao was carried to Spain from Mexico, and the Spaniards kept the cacao secret for many years, selling it very profitably as chocolate to the wealthy and luxurious classes of Europe. Chocolate reached France, however, only in 1661 and did not reach Britain until a few years later. It is now more largely consumed in Spain than elsewhere in Europe. The European consumption of chocolate is estimated at quite 40,000,000 pounds. In the United States, the imports in 1880 were 7,411,045 pounds. Cacao was cultivated by the nations of Central America before the arrival of Europeans. The Nahua nations used the nibs, or grains, as circulating medium instead of money. Stephens states that the nuts are still used in Yucatan as currency, as of old, by the Indians. After maize, says Landa, cacao was perhaps the crop to which the most attention was paid. It was called cacaguat in Nicaragua and several species which grew wild were also much used. In the month of Muan, the cacao planters even held a festival in honor of their patron deities Ekohuah, Chac and Hobnil. Humboldt states that he met with no tribe on the Orinoco that prepared a beverage with the seeds of the cacao, but the savages sucked the pulp of the pod and threw away the seeds. Hartt says the cacao tree is quite extensively cultivated at Bahia but is not often cultivated south of the Amazon. In Jamaica, Lunan rates the average produce of cacao per acre at 1000 pounds, allowing for bad years. It is called in Mexican cacautl.


T. guyanensis Voigt.
Guiana.
This species furnishes a portion of the cacao of the West Indies and South America.


T. speciosa Willd.
Brazil.
In the West Indies, this species replaces cacao and its seeds enter into commerce.


Theophrasta jussieui Lindl. Myrsineae (Theophrastaceae).
South America and Santo Domingo.
The fruit is succulent, and bread is made from the seeds.


Thladiantha dubia Naud. Cucurbitaceae.
China.
The fruit is oblong, very succulent and is eaten by the natives of the Himalayas.


Thiaspi arvense Linn. Cruciferae. PENNY CRESS.
Europe and northern Asia.
This plant is classed as an edible cress by Loudon. It is a cultivated vegetable.


Thrinax argentea Lodd. Palmae. BROOM PALM. SILVER THATCH.
A palm of the West Indies and Panama.
The undeveloped leaves, or cabbage, form an excellent vegetable.


Thuja gigantea (plicata) Nutt. Coniferae (Cupressaceae).
Western North America.
Nuttall says the cambium is used as food by the Indians of Oregon.


T. occidentalis Linn. AMERICAN ARBOR VITAE. WHITE CEDAR.
North America and Siberia.
Thoreau, In the Maine Woods, says, "This night we had a dish of arbor-vitae, or cedar tea, which the lumberman sometimes uses when other herbs fail." He did not find it very palatable.


Thymus capitatus Hoffmgg. & Link. Labiatae. HEADED SAVORY.
The Levant; introduced into Britain in 1596.
This plant is used as savory for seasoning. This species is omitted from our most modem books on gardening, although recorded in American gardens as late as 1863. It is mentioned as under culture in many of the early works on botany and gardening.


T. serpyllum Linn. LEMON THYME. WILD THYME.
Europe and sparingly naturalized in some localities in northeastern America. In 1726, Townsend speaks of it in English gardens but not as a potherb. It is placed among American potherbs by McMahon, 1806. At the present time, lemon thyme is occasionally used for seasoning in England. In Iceland, it is used to give an agreeable flavor to sour milk. The odor of the leaves is quite agreeable, and they are thought to be a desirable seasoning for veal. Don says the flavor of the leaves is milder and more grateful than those of T. vulgaris.


T. vulgaris Linn. THYME.
Southern countries of Europe but long cultivated in more northern countries. In English culture, thyme is recorded about 1548 and is mentioned by Gerarde, 1597, and succeeding authors. It succeeds as an annual even in Iceland and is recorded as grown in the tropical gardens of the Mauritius. Three varieties are known: the narrow-leaved, Thymus vulgaris, tenuiore folio of Bauhin, 1596; the broad-leaved, Thymus vulgaris, latiore folio of Bahuin, 1596; and the variegated, Thymus varie goto folio of Tournefort and also mentioned by Bauhin, 1623. Thyme was known in American gardens in 1806 or earlier. The broad-leaved kind is the one now principally grown in the herb garden for use in seasonings.
 
     
 
 
     



     
 
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