From various acacias comes gum arable which is stated by some to be
a highly nutritrious article of food. During the whole time of the gum
harvest in Barbary, the Moors of the desert live almost entirely upon it.
It is claimed that six ounces are sufficient for the support of a man
during twenty-four hours. Gum arable is also used as food by the
Hottentots of southern Africa, and Sparmann states that, in the absence
of other provisions, the Bushmen live on it for days together At Swan
River, Australia, an acacia, called manna by the natives, produces a
large quantity of gum resembling gum arable, and this, says
Drummond, forms an important article of native food. The experiment
of Magendie, however, showed that dogs could not support life on gum,
and Dr. Hammond believes that, so far from having any value as an
alimentary substance, it is positively injurious.
A. abyssinica Hochst.
Hildebrant mentions that gum is collected from this species.
A. arabica Willd. BABOOL-BARK. GUM ARABIC TREE.
North and central Africa and Southwest Asia.
It furnishes a gum arable
of superior quality. The bark, in times of scarcity, is ground and mixed
with flour in India, and the gum, mixed with the seeds of sesame, is an
article of food with the natives. The gum serves for nourishment, says
Humboldt,9 to several African tribes in their passages through the
dessert. In Barbary, the tree is called atteleh.
A. bidwilli Benth.
The roots of young trees are roasted for food after peeling.
A. catechu Willd. CATECHU. KHAIR. WADALEE-GUM TREE.
Furnishes catechu, which is chiefly used for chewing in
India as an ingredient of the packet of betel leaf.
A. concinna DC. SOAP-POD.
The leaves are acid and are used in cookery by the
natives of India as a substitute for tamarinds. It is the fei-tsau-tau of
the Chinese. The beans are about one-half to three-fourths inch in
diameter and are edible after roasting.
A. decora Reichb.
The gum is gathered and eaten by Queensland natives.
A. decurrens Willd. BLACK WATTLE. GREEN WATTLE. SILVER
It yields a gum not dissimilar to gum arable.
A. ehrenbergiana Hayne
Desert regions of Libya, Nubia, Dongola.
It yields a gum arabic.
A. farnesiana Willd. CASSIE-OIL PLANT. HUISACHE. OPOPANAX.
POPINAC. SPONGE TREE. WEST INDIAN BLACKTHORN.
This species is cultivated all over India and is indigenous in
America, from New Orleans, Texas and Mexico, to Buenos Aires and
Chile, and is sometimes cultivated. It exudes a gum which is collected
in Sind. The flowers distil a delicious perfume.
A. ferruginea DC.
The bark steeped in "jaggery water"-fresh, sweet sap from any of
several palms - is distilled as an intoxicating liquor. It is very
A. flexicaulis Benth.
The thick, woody pods contain round seeds the size of peas
which, when boiled, are palatable and nutritious.
A. glaucophylla Steud.
This species furnishes gum arabic.
A. gummifera Willd. BARBARY-GUM. MOROCCO-GUM.
It yields gum arabic in northern Africa.
A. homalophylla A. Cunn. MYALL-WOOD. VIOLET-WOOD.
This species yields gum in Australia.
A. horrida Willd. CAPE-GUM TREE. DORNBOOM.
This is the dornboom plant which exudes a good kind of
A. leucophloea Willd. KUTEERA-GUM.
The bark is largely used in the preparation of spirit
from sugar and palm-juice, and it is also used in times of scarcity,
ground and mixed with flour. The pods are used as a vegetable, and the
seeds are ground and mixed with flour.
A. longifolia Willd. SYDNEY GOLDEN WATTLE.
The Tasmanians roast the pods and eat the starchy seeds.
A. pallida F. Muell.
The roots of the young trees are roasted and eaten.
A. penninervis Sieber. BLACKWOOD. MOUNTAIN HICKORY.
This species yields gum gonate, or gonatic, in Senegal.
A. Senegal Willd. GUM ARABIC TREE.
Old World tropics.
The tree forms vast forests in Senegambia. It is called
nebul by the natives and furnishes gum arable.
A. seyal Delile GUM ARABIC TREE. THIRSTY THORN.
North Africa, Upper Egypt and Senegambia.
It furnishes the best gum
arabic. It is called glute by the Arabs of the upper Nile and whistling
tree by the natives of Sudan. The holes left by the departure of a gall
insect are rendered musical by the wind.
A. stenocarpa Hochst. GUM ARABIC TREE.
Southern Nubia and Abyssinia.
The gum of this tree is extensively
collected in the region between the Blue Nile and the upper Atbara. It is
called taleh, talha or kakul.
A. suaveolens Willd.
The aromatic leaves are used in infusions as teas.
A. tortilis Hayne
Arabia, Nubia and the desert of Libya and Dongola.
It furnishes the
best of gum arabic.
Acaena sanguisorbae Vahl. Rosaceae. NEW ZEALAND BUR.
The leaves are used as a tea by the natives of the Middle
Island in New Zealand, according to Lyall. It is the piri-piri of the natives.
Acanthorhiza (Cryosophila) aculeata H. Wendl. Palmae.
The pulp of the fruit is of a peculiar, delicate, spongy
consistence and is pure white and shining on the outside. The juice has
a peculiar, penetrating, sweet flavor, is abundant, and is obviously well
suited for making palm-wine. The fruit is'oblong about one inch in
longest diameter. It is grown in Trinidad.
Acanthosicyos horrida Welw. Cucurbitaceae. NARAS.
Tropics of Africa.
The fruit grows on a bush from four to five feet high,
without leaves and with opposite thorns. It has a coriaceous rind,
rough with prickles, is about 15-18 inches around and inside
resembles a melon as to seed and pulp. When ripe it has a luscious
sub-acid taste. The bushes grow on little knolls of sand. It is described,
however, by Andersonl as a creeper which produces a kind of prickly
gourd about the size of a Swede turnip and of delicious flavor. It
constitutes for several months of the year the chief food of the natives,
and the seeds are dried and preserved for winter consumption.
Acer dasycarpum Ehrh. Sapindaceae (Aceraceae). SILVER
MAPLE. SOFT MAPLE. WHITE MAPLE.
The sap will make sugar of good quality but less in
quantity than the sugar maple. Sugar is made from this species, says
Loudon, in districts where the tree abounds, but the produce is not
above half that obtained from the sap of the sugar maple.
A. platanoides Linn. NORWAY MAPLE.
Europe and the Orient.
From the sap, sugar has been made in Norway,
Sweden and in Lithuania.
A. pseudo-platanus Linn. MOCK PLANE. SYCAMORE MAPLE.
Europe and the Orient.
In England, children suck the wings of the
growing keys for the sake of obtaining the sweet exudation that is upon
them. In the western Highlands and some parts of the Continent, the
sap is fermented into wine, the trees being first tapped when just
coming into leaf. From the sap, sugar may be made but not in
A. rubrum Linn. RED MAPLE. SWAMP MAPLE.
The French Canadians make sugar from the sap which
they call plaine, but the product is not more than half that obtained
from the sugar maple. In Maine, sugar is often made from the sap.
A. saccharinum Wangenh. ROCK MAPLE. SUGAR MAPLE.
This large, handsome tree must be included among
cultivated food plants, as in some sections of New England groves are
protected and transplanted for the use of the tree to furnish sugar. The
tree is found from 48� north in Canada, to the mountains in Georgia
and from Nova Scotia to Arkansas and the Rocky Mountains. The sap
from the trees growing in maple orchards may give as an average one
pound of sugar to four gallons of sap, and a single tree may furnish
four or five pounds, although extreme yields have been put as high as
thirty-three pounds from a single tree. The manufacture of sugar from
the sap of the maple was known to the Indians, for Jefferys, 1760, says
that in Canada "this tree affords great quantities of a cooling and
wholesome liquor from which they make a sort of sugar," and Jonathan
Carver, in 1784, says the Nandowessies Indians of the West consume
the sugar which they have extracted from the maple tree." In 1870, the
Winnebagoes and Chippewas are said often to sell to the Northwest Fur
Company fifteen thousand pounds of sugar a year. The sugar season
among the Indians is a sort of carnival, and boiling candy and pouring
it out on the snow to cool is the pastime of the children.
A. tataricum Linn. TARTARIAN MAPLE.
The Calmucks, after depriving the seeds of their wings, boil
them in water and afterwards use them for food, mixed with milk and
Achillea millefolium Linn. Compositae. HUNDRED-LEAVED
GRASS. MILFOIL. NOSEBLEED. SANGUINARY. THOUSAND-SEAL.
Europe, Asia and America.
In some parts of Sweden, yarrow is said to
be employed as a substitute for hops in the preparation of beer, to
which it is supposed to add an intoxicating effect.
Achras (Manilkara) sapota Linn. Sapotaceae. NASEBERRY.
This is a tree found wild in the forests of Venezuela and
the Antilles. It has for a long time been introduced into the gardens of
the West Indies and South America but has been recently carried to
Mauritius, to Java, to the Philippines, and to the continent of India. The
sapodilla bears a round berry covered with a rough, brown coat, hard
at first, but becoming soft when kept a few days to mellow. The berry is
about the size of a small apple and has from 6 to 12 cells with several
seeds in each, surrounded by a pulp which in color, consistence, and
taste somewhat resembles the pear but is sweeter. The fruit, when treeripe,
is so full of milk that little rills or veins appear quite through the
pulp, which is so acerb that the fruit cannot be eaten until it is as rotten
as medlars. In India, Firminger says of its fruit: " a more luscious, cool
and agreeable fruit is not to be met with in any country in the world; "
and Brandis says: "one of the most pleasant fruits known when
completely ripe." It is grown in gardens in Bengal.
Achyranthes bidentata Blume. Amaranthaceae.
The seeds were used as food during a famine in
Rajputana, India. Bread made from the seeds was very good. This was
considered the best of all substitutes for the usual cereals.
Aciphylla glacialis F. Muell. Umbelliferae.
This species is utilized as an alimentary root.
Aconitum lycoctonum Linn. Ranunculaceae. WOLFSBANE.
Middle and northern Europe.
The root is collected in Lapland and
boiled for food. This species, says Masters in the Treasury of Botany,
does not possess such virulent properties as others.
A. napellus Linn. ACONITE. BEAR'S-FOOT. FRIAR'S-CAP.
HELMET-FLOWER. LUCKIE'S MUTCH. MONKSHOOD. SOLDIER'SCAP.
Northern temperate regions.
Cultivated in gardens for its flowers. A
narcotic poison, aconite, is the product of this species and the plant is
given by the Shakers of America as a medicinal herb. In Kunawar,
however, the tubers are eaten as a tonic.
Acorus calamus Linn. Aroideae (Araceae) . MYRTLE FLAG.
Northern temperate regions.
The rhizomes are used by confectioners as
a candy, by perfumers in the preparation of aromatic vinegar, by
rectifiers to improve the flavor of gin and to give a peculiar taste to
certain varieties of beer. In Europe and America, the rhizomes are
sometimes cut into slices and candied or otherwise made into a
sweetmeat. These rhizomes are to be seen for sale on the street corners
of Boston and are frequently chewed to sweeten the breath. In France it
is in cultivation as an ornamental water plant.
A. gramineus Soland. GRASS-LEAVED SWEET FLAG.
The root of this species is said to possess a stronger and more
pleasant taste and smell than that of A. calamus. It is sometimes
cultivated in gardens.
Acrocomia lasiospatha Mart. Palmae. MACAW. MUCUJA PALM.
West Indies and Brazil.
Its fruit is the size of an apricot, globular and of
a greenish-olive color, with a thin layer of firm, edible pulp of an orange
color covering the nut, and, though oily and bitter, is much esteemed
and eagerly sought after by the natives. This is probably the macaw tree
A. mexicana Karw. COQUITO HABRASO. COYOLI PALM.
The fruit, in Mexico, is eaten by the inhabitants but is not
A. sclerocarpa Mart. MUCUJA PALM.
Tropics of America.
The young leaves of this palm are eaten as a
vegetable. It is cultivated in British hot-houses. The fruit is the size of a
crab and contains a sweet, edible kernel. The husks are full of oil.
Acronychia laurifolia Blume. Rutaceae. JAMBOL.
Tropics of Asia.
The black, juicy, sweetish-acid fruit is an esculent. In
Cochin China the young leaves are put in salads. They have the smell of
cumin and are not unpleasant. In Ceylon the berries are called jambol.
Actinidia callosa Lindl. Ternstroemiaceae (Actinidiacea).
Japan and Manchuria.
This vine is common in all the valleys of Yesso
and extends to central Nippon. It is vigorous in growth and fruits
abundantly. The fruit is an oblong, greenish berry about one inch in
length; the pulp is of uniform texture, seeds minute and skin thin.
When fully ripe it possesses a very delicate flavor.
A. polygama Franch. & Sav.
This is somewhat less desirable than A. callosa, as it
fruits less abundantly and the vine is not so rich in foliage.