Edible Plant Species

Tropical America.
This plant is now under cultivation in warm climates for the seeds which are largely eaten as nuts, and from which an oil is extracted to be used as a substitute for olive oil to which it is equal in quality. Although now only under field cultivation in America, yet, in 1806, McMahon included this plant among kitchen-garden esculents. For a long time, writers on botany were uncertain whether the peanut was a native of Africa or of America, but, since Squier has found this seed in jars taken from the mummy graves of Peru, the question of its American origin seems settled. The first writer who notes it, is Oviedo in his Cronica de las Indias, who says "the Indians cultivate very much the fruit mani." Before this, the French colonists, sent in 1555 to the Brazilian coast, became acquainted with it under the name of mandobi. The peanut was figured by Laet, 1625, and by Marcgravius, 1648, as the anchic of the Peruvians, the mani of the Spaniards. It seems to be mentioned by Garcilasso de la Vega, 1609, as being raised by the Indians under the name, ynchic. The Spaniards call it mani but all the names, he observes, which the Spaniards give to the fruits and vegetables of Peru belong to the language of the Antilles. The fruit is raised underground, he says, and "is very like marrow and has the taste of almonds." Marcgravius, 1648, and Piso, 1658, describe and figure the plant, under the name of mandubi, as common and indigenous in Brazil. They cite Monardes, an author late in the sixteenth century, as having found it in Peru with a different name, anchic. Father Merolla, 1682, under the name of mandois, describes a vegetable of Congo which grows "three or four together like vetches but underground and are about the bigness of an ordinary olive. From these milk is extracted like to that drawn from almonds." This may be the peanut. In China, especially in Kwangtung, peanuts are grown in large quantities and their consumption by the people is very great. The peanut was included among garden plants by McMahon, 1806; Burr, 1863, describes three varieties; and Jefferson speaks of its culture in Virginia in 1781. Its culture was introduced into France in 1802, and the peanut was described among pot-herbs by Noisette, 1829.

Aralia cordata Thunb. Araliaceae. UDO.
The young shoots of this species provide an excellent culinary vegetable. They are used in soups in Japan. According to Siebold, this plant is universally cultivated in Japan, in fields and gardens. It is valued for its root which is eaten like scorzonera, but the young stalks are likewise a delicious vegetable.

A. (Panax) quinquefolia Decne & Planch. GINSENG.
North America.
The root is collected in large quantities in the hilly regions of Ohio, western Virginia, Minnesota and other parts of eastern America for export to China where it is valued as a medicine. Some persons in this country are in the habit of chewing the root, having acquired a relish for its taste, and it is chiefly to supply the wants of these that it is kept in the shops.

Araucaria bidwillii Hook. Coniferae (Araucariaceae). BUNYABUNYA.
Australia; the bunya-bunya of the natives.
The cones furnish an edible seed which is roasted. Each tribe of the natives has its own set of trees and each family its own allotment among them. These are handed down from generation to generation with the greatest exactness and are believed to be the only hereditary personal property possessed by the aborigines.

A. brasiliana A. Rich. BRAZILIAN PINE.
The seeds are very large and are eatable. They are sold as an article of food in the streets of Rio de Janeiro.

Southern Chili.
The seeds are eaten by the Indians, either fresh, boiled or roasted, and from them is distilled a spirituous liquor. Eighteen good-sized trees will yield enough for a man's sustenance all the year round.

Arbutus andrachne Linn. Ericaceae. STRAWBERRY TREE.
East Mediterranean countries.
Its fruit was eaten during the Golden Age. Don says the fruit seems to be used in Greece.

A. canariensis Duham.
Canary Islands.
The berries are made into a sweetmeat.

A. menziesii Pursh. MADRONA.
Pacific Coast of North America.
The berries resemble Morello cherries. When ripe they are quite ornamental and are said sometimes to be eaten.

Mediterranean countries.
Theophrastus says the tree produces an edible fruit; Pliny, that it is not worth eating. Sir J. E. Smith describes the fruit as uneatable in Ireland, but W. Wilson says he can testify from repeated experience that the ripe fruit is really very palatable; In Spain, a sugar and a sherbet are obtained from it.

Archangelica (Angelica) atropurpurea Hoffm. Umbelliferae. GREAT ANGELICA. MASTERWORT.
North America.
This plant is found from New England to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and northward. Stillel says the stems are sometimes candied. The root is used in domestic medicines as an aromatic and stimulant.

A. gmelini DC. ANGELICA.
Northwest Asia.
This species is used for culinary purposes by the Russians in Kamchatka. The root, dug in the autumn of the first year, is used in medicine as an aromatic tonic and possesses the taste and smell of the seeds.

A. officinalis (archangelica) Hoffm. ANGELICA. ARCHANGEL. WILD PARSNIP.
Europe, Siberia and Himalayan regions.
This plant is a native of the north of Europe and is found in the high, mountainous regions in south Europe, as in Switzerland and among the Pyrenees. It is also found in Alaska. Angelica is cultivated in various parts of Europe and is occasionally grown in American gardens. The whole plant has a fragrant odor and aromatic properties. Angelica is held in great estimation in Lapland, where the natives strip the stem of leaves, and the soft, internal part, after the outer skin has been pulled off, is eaten raw like an apple or turnip. In Kamchatka, the roots are distilled and a kind of spirit is made from them, and on the islands of Alaska, where it is abundant and called wild parsnip, it is stated by Dall to be edible. Angelica has been in cultivation in England since 1568. The leaf-stalks were formerly blanched and eaten like celery. The plant is in request for the use of confectioners, who make an excellent sweetmeat with the tender stems, stalks, and ribs of the leaves candied with sugar. The seeds enter into the composition of many liquors. In the north of Europe, the leaves and stalks are still used as a vegetable.

The medicinal properties of the root were highly prized in the Middle Ages. In Pomet, we read that the seed is much used to make angelica comfits as well as the root for medicine. Bryant deems it the best aromatic that Europe produces. This plant must be a native of northern Europe, for there are no references to it in the ancient authors of Greece and Rome, nor is it mentioned by Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century. By Fuchsius, 1542, and succeeding authors it receives proper attention. The German name, Heilige Geist Wurz, implies the estimation in which it was held and offers a clue to the origin of the word Angelica, or angel plant, which occurs in so many languages, as in English, Spanish, Portugese, and Italian, becoming Angelique and Archangelique in French, and Angelickwurz in German. Other names of like import are the modern Engelwurz in Germany, Engelkruid in Flanders and Engelwortel in Holland.

The various figures given by herbalists show the same type of plant, the principal differences to be noted being in the size of the root. Pena and Lobel, 1570, note a smaller variety as cultivated in England, Belgium, and France, and Gesner is quoted by Camerarius as having seen roots of three pounds weight. Bauhin, 1623, says the roots vary, the Swissgrown being thick, those of Bohemia smaller and blacker. Garden angelica is noticed amongst American garden medicinal herbs by McMahon, 1806, and the seed is still sold by our seedsmen.

Arctium majus (lappa) Bernh. Compositae. BEGGAR'S BUTTONS. BURDOCK. CLOTBUR. CUCKOLD. GOBO. HARLOCK.
Europe and Asia and occurring as a weed in the United States.
In Japan, burdock is said to be cultivated as a vegetable. Gerarde says "the staike of the clotburre before the burres come forth, the rinde peelld off, being eaten raw with salt and pepper, or boyled in the broth of fat meate, is pleasant to be eaten. Kalm, in his Travels in North America," writing of Ticonderoga, N. Y., says: "and the governor told me that its tender shoots are eaten in spring as radishes, after the exterior part is taken off." In Japan, says Johns, the tender stalks are eaten as an asparagus, and its roots are said to be edible. Penhallow says the Japanese cultivate the root, but as an article of food it is tasteless, hard and fibrous.

Arctostaphylos alpina Spreng. Ericaceae. ALPINE BEARBERRY.
Arctic regions and mountain summits farther south.
The berries are eaten in Lapland but are a mawkish food, according to Linnaeus. Richardson says there are two varieties, that both are eaten in the autumn and, though not equal to some of the other native fruits, are not unpleasant. They are called amprick by the Russians at the mouth of the Obi.

A. glauca Lindl. MANZANITA.
The fruit grows in clusters, is first white, then red and finally black. This berry is regarded as eatable but is dry and of little flavor.

A. tomentosa Lindl. MANZANITA
Southern California.
The red berries are used by the Spanish inhabitants of Texas to make a cooling, subacid drink. The fruit is used when not quite ripe as a tart apple. Dried and made into bread and baked in the sun, the fruit is relished by the Indians.

North America and Arctic regions.
The Chinook Indians mix its dried leaves with tobacco. It is used for the same purpose by the Crees who call it tchakoshe-pukk; by the Chippewaians, who name it kleh; and by the Eskimos north of Churchill, by whom it is termed at-tung-a-wi-at. It is the iss-salth of the Chinooks. Its dry, farinaceous berry is utterly inedible.

Ardisia coriacea Sw. Myrsineae. BEEF-WOOD.
West Indies.
According to Sloane, the drupes are eaten in Jamaica and are accounted a pleasant dessert.

A. esculenta Pav.
South America.
The berries are esculent.

Areca catechu Linn. Palmae. ARECA NUT. BETEL NUT. CATECHU. PINANG.
East Indies.
This handsome palm is cultivated throughout the Indian Archipelago, in Ceylon and the west side of India for the sake of its seed which is known under the names areca nut, pinang and betel nut; the nut is about the size of a nutmeg. These nuts are consumed, when dry, in great quantity, a small portion being separated, put into a leaf of piper-betle over which a little quick-lime is laid, then rolled up and chewed altogether. It tinges the saliva red and stains the teeth. Whole shiploads of this nut, so universally in use among the Eastern natives, are exported annually from Sumatra, Malacca, Siam and Cochin China. The heart of the leaves, according to Seemann, is eaten as a salad and has not a bad flavor as Blanco writes.

A. glandiformis Lam.
In Cochin China the leaves are chewed with the betel nut.

A. laxa Buch.-Ham.
Andaman Islands.
The nuts of this plant are used instead of the betel nut by the convicts confined on, Andaman Islands.

Arenaria peploides Linn. Caryophylleae. SEA CHICKWEED.
North temperate and Arctic regions.
In Iceland, the plant is fermented and in that state used as food, like sauerkraut; the plant also forms a wholesome vegetable when boiled5 and is used for a pickle.

Arenga saccharifera Labill. Palmae. ARENG PALM.
Tropical eastern Asia.
This palm has been called the most useful of all palms. Griffith says, the young albumen preserved in sugar forms one of the well-known preserves of the Straits. Brandis says, the heart of the stem contains large quantities of sago, and the cut flower-stalks yield a sugary sap of which sugar and palm-wine are made. Graham says, at Bombay this palm affords tolerably good sago and the sap, palm-wine and sugar. Seemann says, the bud, or cabbage, is eaten. The sap, of which some three quarts a day are collected, furnishes toddy and from this toddy, jaggery sugar is prepared. The seed, freed from its noxious covering, is made into a sweetmeat by the Chinese. From the pith, a species of sago is prepared which, however, has a peculiar flavor.

Argania sideroxylon Roem. et Schult. Sapotaceae. ARGAN TREE. MOROCCO IRON-WOOD.
From the seeds, the natives extract an oil that is used for cooking and lighting. When ripe, the fruit, which is an egg-shaped drupe, falls from the trees and the goats then enter into competition with their masters for a share in the harvest. The goats, however, swallow the fruit only for the sake of the subacid rind and, being unable to digest the hard seeds, eject them during the process of rumination, when they are gathered and added to the general store for oil making.

Arisaema atrorubens Blume. Aroideae (Araceae). DRAGON ROOT. JACK-IN-THE-PULPIT. INDIAN TURNIP.
North America.
Cutler says, the shredded roots and berries are said to have been boiled by the Indians with their venison. Bigelow says, the starch of the root is delicate and nutritious. It must, however, be obtained from the root by boiling in order that the heat may destroy the acrimonious principle.

A. costatum Mart.
This is said by Ellis to be a large aroid, called ape in Tahiti, which is frequently planted in dry ground. It is considered inferior to taro.

A. curvatum Kunth.
The Lepchas of India prepare a food called tong from the tuberous root. The roots are buried in masses until acetous fermentation sets in and are then dug, washed and cooked, by which means their poisonous properties are in part dispersed, but not entirely, as violent illness sometimes follows a hearty meal of tong.

A. tortuosum Schott.
The root is considered esculent by the mountaineers of Nepal.

Arisarum vulgare Targ. Aroideae (Araceae).
Mediterranean regions.
In north Africa, the roots are much used in, seasons of scarcity. The root, which is not as large as our ordinary walnut, contains an acid juice, which makes it quite uneatable in the natural state. This is, however, removed by repeated washings and the residue is innoxious and nutritive.

Aristotelia macqui L'Herit. Tiliaceae (Elaeocarpaceae). MOUNTAIN CURRANT.
A large shrub called in Chile, maqui.
The berries, though small, have the pleasant taste of bilberries and are largely consumed in Chile.

A. racemosa Hook.
New Zealand.
The natives eat the berries.

Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancr. Umbelliferae. ARRACACHA. PERUVIAN CARROT.
Northern South America.
This plant has been cultivated and used as a food from early times in the cooler mountainous districts of northern South America, where the roots form a staple diet of the inhabitants. The root is not unlike a parsnip in shape but more blunt; it is tender when boiled and nutritious, with a flavor between the parsnip and a roasted chestnut. A fecula, analogous to arrowroot, is obtained from it by rasping in, water. Arracacha yields, according to Boussingault, about 16 tons per acre. The plant is also found in the mountain regions of Central America. The roots are nutritious and palatable and there are yellow, purple and pale varieties. Attempts to naturalize this plant in field culture in Europe have been unsuccessful. It was introduced into Europe in 1829 and again, in 1846, but trials in England, France and Switzerland were unsuccessful5 in obtaining eatable roots. It was grown near New York in 1825 4 and at Baltimore in 1828 or 1829 but was found to be worthless. Lately introduced into India, it is now fairly established there and Morris considers it a most valuable plant-food, becoming more palatable and desirable the longer it is used. It is generally cultivated in Venezuela, New Granada and Ecuador, and in the temperate regions of these countries, Arracacha is preferred to the potato. The first account which reached Europe concerning this plant was published in the Annals of Botany in 1805. It was, however, mentioned in a few words by Alcedo, 1789.

Artemisia abrotanum Linn. Compositae. OLD MAN. SOUTHERNWOOD.
Europe and temperate Asia.
This artemisia forms an ingredient, says Lindley, in some continental beers.

A. absinthium Linn. ABSINTHE. WORMWOOD.
Cultivated in Europe and in England in cottage gardens on a large scale.
Bridge-man, 1832, is the first writer on American gardening who mentions absinthe but now its seeds are cataloged for sale by all our larger dealers. It is classed among medicinal herbs but is largely used in France to flavor the cordial, absinthe, and in America in compounding bitters. The seed is used by the rectifiers of spirits and the plant is largely cultivated in some districts of England for this purpose. It is said occasionally to form an ingredient of sauces in cookery.

A. dracunculus Linn. TARRAGON.
East Europe, the Orient and Himalayan regions.
Tarragon was brought to Italy, probably from the shores of the Black Sea, in recent times. The first mention on record is by Simon Seth, in the middle of the twelfth century, but it appears to have been scarcely known as a condiment until the sixteenth century. It was brought to England in or about 1548. The flowers, as Vilmorin says, are always barren, so that the plant can be propagated only by division. Tarragon culture is mentioned by the botanists of the sixteenth century and in England by Gerarde, 1597, and by succeeding authors on gardening. Rauwolf, 1573-75, found it in the gardens of Tripoli. In America, it is mentioned by McMahon, 1806. Its roots are now included in our leading seed catalogs. Tarragon has a fragrant smell and an aromatic taste for which it is greatly esteemed by the French. In Persia, it has long been customary to use the leaves to create an appetite. Together with the young tips, the leaves are put in salads, in pickles and in vinegar for a fish sauce. They are also eaten with beefsteaks, served with horseradish. Tarragon vinegar, says Mclntosh, is much esteemed.

A. maritima Linn. WORM-SEED.
Caucasian region, Siberia and Europe.
It is a bitter tonic and aromatic. It was formerly used to make a conserve with sugar.

A. mutellina Vill. ALPINE WORMWOOD.
The plant is used on the continent in the preparation of Eau d'absinthe, which is in request amongst epicures.

A. spicata Wulf. SPIKED WORMWOOD.
The plant is used on the continent in the preparation of Eau d'absinthe.

A. vulgaris Linn. FELLON-HERB. MUGWORT.
Northern temperate regions.
Mugwort was employed, says Johnson, to a great extent for flavoring beer before the introduction of the hop. It is still used in England to flavor the home-made beer of the cottagers. On the continent, it is occasionally employed as an aromatic, culinary herb.

Artocarpus brasiliensis Gomez. Urticaceae (Moraceae). JACK.
Professor Hartt says the jack is cultivated in the province of Bahia and to the north, at Sao Matheus and occasionally as far south as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The fruit is of immense size, being sometimes a foot and a half in the longer diameter. The seeds are largely used as food and the pulp is nutritious. In some parts, a kind of farina is prepared from the seeds, but this use is by no means general.

A. hirsuta Lam.
East Indies.
The fruit is the size of a large orange. The pulpy substance is much relished by the natives, being almost as good as the fruit of the jack.

A. incisa Linn. f. BREADFRUIT.
This most useful tree is nowhere found growing wild but is now extensively cultivated in warm regions.
It is first described by the writer of Mendana's Voyage to the Marquesas Islands, 1595. It has been distributed from the Moluccas, by way of Celebes and New Guinea, throughout all the islands of the Pacific Ocean to Tahiti. Breadfruit is also naturalized in, the Isle of France, in tropical Americal and bears fruit in Ceylon and Burma. It is more especially an object of care and cultivation in the Marquesas and the Friendly and Society Islands. The tree was conveyed to the Isle of France from Luzon in the Philippines by Sonnerat. In 1792, from Tahiti and Timor, Capt. Bligh, who was commissioned by the British Government for this purpose, took a store of plants and in 1793 landed 333 breadfruit trees at St. Vincent and 347 at Port Royal, Jamaica. In the cultivated breadfruit, the seeds are almost always abortive, leaving their places empty which shows that its cultivation goes back to a remote antiquity. This seedlessness does not hold true, however, of all varieties, of which there are many. Chamisso describes a variety in the Mariana Islands with small fruit containing seeds which are frequently perfect. Sonnerat found in the Philippines a breadfruit, which he considered as wild, which bears ripe seeds of a considerable size. In Tahiti, there are eight varieties without seeds and one variety with seeds which is inferior to the others. Nine varieties are credited by Wilkes to the Fiji Islands and twenty to the Samoan. Captain Cook, at Tahiti, in 1769, describes the fruit as about the size and shape of a child's head, with the surface reticulated not much unlike a truffle, covered with a thin skin and having a core about as big as the handle of a small knife.

The eatable part of breadfruit lies between the skin and the core and is as white as snow and somewhat of the consistence of new bread. It must be roasted before it is eaten. Its taste is insipid, with a slight sweetness, somewhat resembling that of the crumb of wheaten bread mixed with a Jerusalem artichoke. Wilkes says the best varieties when baked or roasted are not unlike a good custard pudding. If the breadfruit is to be preserved, it is scraped from the rind and buried in a pit where it is allowed to ferment, when it subsides into a mass somewhat of the consistency of new cheese. These pits when opened emit a nauseous, fetid, sour odor, and the color of the contents is a greenish-yellow. In this state it is called mandraiuta, or native bread, of which several kinds are distinguished. It is said that it will keep several years and is cooked with cocoanut milk, in which state it forms an agreeable and nutritious food. This tree affords one of the most generous sources of nutriment that the world possesses. According to Poster, twenty-seven breadfruit trees, which would cover an English acre with their shade, are sufficient for the support of from ten to twelve people during the eight months of fruit-bearing. Breadfruit is called in Tahiti maiore, in Hawaii aeiore.

A. integrifolia Linn. f. JACK.
East Indies.
On account of its excellent fruit, this tree is a special object of cultivation on the two Indian peninsulas, in Cochin China and southern China. It has only recently been introduced into the islands of the Pacific Ocean, as well as upon the island of Mauritius, the Antilles and the west coast of Africa. It is scarcely to be doubted that it occurs here and there growing wild and that perhaps Ceylon and the peninsula of Further India may be looked upon as its original native land. The jack seems to be the Indian fruit described by Pliny, who gives the name of the tree as pala, of the fruit, ariena; and to be the chagui of Friar Jordanus, about 1330, whose "fruit is of such size that one is enough for five persons." Firminger says the fruit of this tree is perhaps about one of the largest in existence and is an ill-shapen, unattractive-looking object. The interior is of a soft, fibrous consistency with the edible portions scattered here and there, of about the size and color of a small orange. It is considered delicious by those who can manage to eat it, but it possesses the rich, spicy scent and flavor of the melon to such a powerful degree as to be quite unbearable to persons of a weak stomach, or to those not accustomed to it. There are two varieties in India. Lunan says the thick, gelatinous covering which envelopes the seeds, eaten either raw or fried, is delicious. The round seeds, about half an inch in diameter, eaten roasted, have a very mealy and agreeable taste. The fruit, says Brandis, is an important article of food in Burma, southern India and Ceylon. The tree has a very strong and disagreeable smell.

A. lakoocha Roxb.
Malay and East Indies.
The ill-shapen fruit, the size of an orange and of an austere taste, is sometimes eaten. Firminger says also that he has met with those who said they liked it, a fact which he could otherwise have hardly credited. Brandis says the male flower-heads are pickled.

Arum Aroideae (Araceae).
The several species of arum possess a combination of extremely acrid properties, with the presence of a large quantity of farina, which can be separated from the poisonous ingredient by heat or water and in some instances by merely drying. The arums form the most important plants of the tropics. In a single Polynesian Island, Tahiti, the natives have names for 33 arums. Taro, the general name, is grown in vast quantities in the Fiji group on the margins of streams under a system of irrigation. When the root is ripe, the greater part is cut off from the leaves and the portion which is left attached to them is at once replanted. These roots are prepared for use by boiling and are then pounded into a kind of flour, which is preserved until wanted for use. Large quantities of taro are also stored in pits where it becomes solid and is afterwards used by the natives as mandrai. In former times, the common spotted arum furnished food to the English during the periods of scarcity. It seems impossible to determine in all cases to which species of arum travelers refer in recording the use of this genera of plants. The information given under the heading of the species will show the generality of their use and their importance.

A. dioscoridis Sibth. & Sm.
East Mediterranean countries.
Theophrastus mentions that the roots and leaves of this plant, steeped in vinegar, were eaten in ancient Greece. The roots, as Pickering remarks, are cooked and eaten in the Levant.

A. italicum Mill. ITALIAN ARUM.
Mediterranean countries.
This arum is described by Dioscorides, who says its root is eaten either raw or cooked. Westward, the cooked root is further mentioned by Dioscorides as mixed with honey by the Balearic islanders and made into cakes. This plant was in cultivation for seven years in Guernsey for the purpose of making arrow-root from its conns.

The thick and tuberous root, while fresh, is extremely acrid, but by heat its injurious qualities are destroyed, and in the isle of Portland the plant was extensively used in the preparation of an arrowroot. According to Sprengel,4 its roots are cooked and eaten in Albania, and in Slavonia it is made into a kind of bread. The leaves, even of this acrid plant, are said by Pallas 5 to be eaten by the Greeks of Crimea. "Dioscorides showeth that the leaves also are prescribed to be eaten and that they must be eaten after they be dried and boy led."

Arundinaria japonica Sieb. & Zucc. Gramineae. CANE.
Northern Japan.
When the young shoots appear in early summer, they are carefully gathered and, under the name of take-no-ko, are used for food as we would employ young asparagus; though by no means so tender as the latter, they make a very desirable dish.

A. macrosperma Michx. LARGE CANE.
North America.
This is the species of cane which forms cane brakes in Virginia, Kentucky and southward. Flint, in his Western States, says: "It produces an abundant crop of seed with heads very like those of broom corn. The seeds are farinaceous and are said to be not much inferior to wheat, for which the Indians and occasionally the first settlers substituted it."