Apios tuberosa (americana) Moench. Leguminosae. GROUNDNUT.
The tubers are used as food. Kalm says this is the
kopniss of the Indians on the Delaware, who ate the roots; that the
Swedes ate them for want of bread, and that in 1749 some of the
English ate them instead of potatoes. Winslow says that the Pilgrims,
during their first winter, "were enforced to live on ground nuts." At Port
Royal, in 1613, Biencourt and his followers used to scatter about the
woods and shores digging ground nuts. In France, the plant is grown in
the flower garden.
Apium graveolens Linn. Umbelliferae. ACHE. CELERY.
A plant of marshy places whose habitat extends from Sweden
southward to Algeria, Egypt, Abyssinia and in Asia even to the
Caucasus, Baluchistan and the mountains of British India and has
been found in Tierra del Fuego, in California and in New Zealand.
Celery is supposed to be the selinon of the Odyssey, the selinon heleion
of Hippocrates, the eleioselinon of Theophrastus and Dioscorides and
the helioselinon of Pliny and Palladius. It does not seem to have been
cultivated, although by some commentators the plant known as
smallage has a wild and a cultivated sort. Nor is there one clear
statement that this smallage was used as food, for sativus means
simply planted as distinguished from growing wild, and we may
suppose that this Apium, if smallage was meant, was planted for
medicinal use. Targioni-Tozzetti says this Apium was considered by the
ancients rather as a funereal or ill-omened plant than as an article of
food, and that by early modern writers it is mentioned only as a
medicinal plant. This seems true, for Fuchsius, 1542, does not speak of
its being cultivated and implies a medicinal use alone, as did
Walafridus Strabo in the ninth century; Tragus, 1552; Pinaeus, 1561;
Pena and Lobel, 1570, and Ruellius' Dioscorides, 1529.
Epitome of Matthiolus, 1586, says planted also in gardens; and
Dodonaeus, in his Pemptades, 1616, speaks of the wild plant being
transferred to gardens but distinctly says not for food use. According to
Targioni-Tozzetti, Alamanni, in the sixteenth century, speaks of it, but
at the same time praises Alexanders for its sweet roots as an article of
food. Bauhin's names, 1623, Apium palustre and Apium officinarum,
indicate medicinal rather than food use, and J. Bauhin's name, Apium
vulgare ingratus, does not promise much satisfaction in the eating.
According to Bretschneider, celery, probably smallage, can be identified
in the Chinese work of Kia Sz'mu, the fifth century A. D., and is
described as a cultivated plant in the Nung Cheng Ts'nan Shu, 1640.
We have mention of a cultivated variety in France by Olivier de Serres,
1623, and in England the seed was sold in 1726 for planting for the
use of the plant in soups and broths; and Miller says, 1722, that
smallage is one of the herbs eaten to purify the blood. Cultivated
smallage is now grown in France under the name Celeri a couper,
differing but little from the wild form. The number of names that are
given to smallage indicate antiquity.
The prevalence of a name derived from one root indicates a recent
dispersion of the cultivated variety. Vilmorinl gives the following
synonyms: French Celeri, English celery, German Selleree, Flanders
Selderij, Denmark Selleri, Italy Sedano, Spain apio, Portugal Aipo. The
first mention of the word celery seems to be in Walafridus Strabo's
poem entitled Hortulus, where he gives the medicinal uses of Apium
and in line 335 uses the word as follows: "Passio turn celeri cedit
devicia medelae." "The disease then to celery yields, conquered by the
remedy," as it may be literally construed, yet the word celeri here may
be translated quick-acting and this suggests that our word celery was
derived from the medicinal uses. Strabo wrote in the ninth century; he
was born A. D. 806 or 807, and died in France in 849.
Targioni-Tozzetti says, it is certain that in the sixteenth century celery
was grown for the table in Tuscany. There is no mention of celery in
Fuchsius, 1542; Tragus, 1552; Matthiolus' Commentaries, 1558;
Camerarius' Epitome, 1558; Pinaeus, 1561; Pena and Lobel, 1570;
Gerarde, 1597; Clusius, 1601; Dodonaeus, 1616; or in Bauhin's Pinax,
1623; Parkinson's Paradisus, 1629, mentions Sellery as a rarity and
names it Apium dulce. Ray, in his Historia Plantarum, 1686, says,
"smallage transferred to culture becomes milder and less ungrateful,
whence in Italy and France the leaves and stalks are esteemed as
delicacies, eaten with oil and pepper. The Italians call this variety"
Sceleri or Celeri. The French also use the vegetable and the name. Ray
adds that in English gardens the cultivated form often degenerates into
smallage. Quintyne, who wrote prior to 1697, the year in which the
third edition, of his Complete Gardener was published, says, in France
we know but one sort of it. Celeri is mentioned, however, as Apium
dulce, Celeri Italorum by Toumefort, 1665. In 1778, Mawe and
Abercrombie note two sorts of celery in England, one with the stalks
hollow and the other with the stalks solid. In 1726, Townsend
distinguished the celeries as smallage and "selery" and the latter he
says should be planted "for Winter Sallads, because it is very hot."
Tinburg says celery is common among the richer classes in Sweden and
is preserved in cellars for winter use. In 1806, McMahon mentions four
sorts in his list of garden esculents for American use. It is curious that
no mention of a plant that can suggest celery occurs in Bodaeus and
Scaliger's edition of Theophrastus, published at Amsterdam in 1644.
There is no clear evidence, then, that smallage was grown by the
ancients as a food plant but that if planted at all it was for medicinal
use. The first mention of its cultivation as a food plant is by Olivier de
Serres, 1623, who called it ache, while Parkinson speaks of celery in
1629, and Ray indicates the cultivation as commencing in Italy and
extending to France and England. Targioni-Tozzetti states, however, as
a certainty that celery was grown in Tuscany in the sixteenth century.
The hollow celery is stated by Mawe to have been the original kind and
is claimed by Cobbett, even as late as 1821, as being the best.
The first celeries grown seem to have differed but little from the wild
plant, and the words celery and (cultivated) smallage were apparently
nearly synonymous at one time, as we find cultivated ache spoken of in
1623 in France and at later dates petit celeri or celeri a couper, a
variety with hollow stalks, cultivated even at the present time for use of
the foliage in soups and broths. Among the earlier varieties we find
mention of hollow-stalked, stalks sometimes hollow, and solid-stalked
forms; at the present time the hollow-stalked forms have been
discarded. Vilmorin describes twelve sorts as distinct and worthy of
culture in addition to the celeri a couper but in all there is this to be
noted, there is but one type.
In Italy and the Levant, where celery is much grown, but not blanched,
the green leaves and stalks are used as an ingredient in soups. In
England and America, the stalks are always blanched and used raw as
a salad or dressed as a dinner vegetable. The seeds are also used for
flavoring. In France, celery is said by Robinson never to be as well
grown as in England or America. By cultivation, celery, from a
suspicious if not poisonous plant, has become transformed into the
sweet, crisp, wholesome and most agreeable cultivated vegetable.
A. graveolens rapaceum DC. CELERIAC. TURNIP-ROOTED
Europe, Orient, India and California.
This variety of celery forms a stout
tuber, irregularly rounded, frequently exceeding the size of one's fist,
hence it is often termed turnip-rooted celery. In France, it is commonly
grown in two varieties. The tuber, generally eaten cooked, is sometimes
sliced and used in salads. In Germany, it is commonly used as a
vegetable, cooked in soups or cooked and sliced for salads. In England,
celeriac is seldom grown. In this country, it is grown only to a limited
extent and is used only by our French and German population. When
well grown, these bulbs should be solid, tender and delicate.
In 1536, Ruellius, in treating of the ache, or uncultivated smallage as
would appear from the context, says the root is eaten, both raw and
cooked. Rauwolf, who travelled in the East, 1573-75, speaks of Eppich,
whose roots are eaten as delicacies, with salt and pepper, at Tripoli and
Aleppo; and J. Bauhin, who died in 1613, mentions a Selinum
tuberosum, sive Buselini speciem, as named in Honorius Bellus, which
seems to be the first mention of celeriac, as the earlier references quoted
may possibly refer to the root of the ordinary sort, although probably
not, for at this date the true celery had scarcely been sufficiently
developed. In 1729, Switzer describes the plant in a book devoted to
this and other novelties but adds that he had never seen it; this
indicates that celeriac was little known in England at this date, for he
adds that the gentleman, who had long been an importer of curious
seeds, furnished him with a supply from Alexandria. Celeriac is again
named in England in 1752, 1765, and by succeeding writers but is
little known even at the present time. In 1806, McMahon includes this
in his list of American garden esculents, as does Randolph for Virginia
before 1818. Burr describes two varieties, and two varieties are offered
in our seed catalogs. The history of celeriac is particularly interesting,
as we seem to have a record of its first introduction and of a size at that
time which is not approached in modern culture.
Jo. Baptista Porta, a Neapolitan, writes thus in his Villae, published at
Frankfurt in 1592 (lib. 10, chap. 21), the translation being liberal:
"There is another kind of celery called Capitatum, which is grown in the
gardens of St. Agatha, Theano and other places in Apulia, granted from
nature and unseen and unnamed by the ancients. Its bulb is spherical,
nearly of the size of a man's head. It is very sweet, odorous and grateful.
Except in rich land, it degenerates, until it differs from the common
apium in no respects, except in its root, round like a head."
A. prostratum Labill. AUSTRALIAN CELERY.
Australian and Antarctic regions.
Mueller says this plant can be utilized
as a culinary vegetable.
Apocynum reticulatum Linn. Apocynaceae. DOGBANE.
According to Unger, this plant furnishes a food.
Aponogeton distachyum Thunb. Naiadaceae (Aponogetonaceae).
CAPE ASPARAGUS. CAPE POND-WEED.
This plant has become naturalized in a stream near
Montpelier, France. Its flowering spikes, known as water untjie, are in
South Africa in high repute as a pickle and also afford a spinach. In
Kaffraria, the roasted roots are reckoned a great delicacy.
A. fenestralis Hook. LATTICE-LEAP. WATER-YAM.
Ellis says this plant is not only extremely curious but also
very valuable to the natives who, at certain seasons of the year, gather it
as an article of food, the fleshy root, when cooked, yielding a
farinaceous substance resembling the yam.
A. monostachyon Linn. f.
Tropical eastern Asia.
The natives relish the small tubers as an article of
diet; they are said to be as good as potatoes, and are esteemed a great
Aporusa lindleyana Baill. Euphorbiaceae.
The small, berry-like fruit is edible.