Avena brevis Roth. Gramineae. FLY'S LEG. SHORT OAT.
The Germans call this species a native plant and say that it
grows wild among grain. It is cultivated in mountainous districts of
Europe, as in those of Auvergne and Forez, because it ripens quickly,
where the country people call it piedo de mouche, or fly's leg, because
of the appearance of the dark awns. In some parts of France, on
account of its excellence for fodder, it is called avoine a fourrage.
A. fatua Linn. DRAKE. FLAVER. POTATO OAT. TARTAREAN OAT.
Europe, the Orient and Asia.
This is the common wild oat of California.
It may have been introduced by the Spaniards but it is now spread over
the whole country many miles from the coast. The grain is gathered by
the Indians of California and is used as a bread corn. In 1852,
Professor Buckman sowed a plat of ground with seeds collected in
1851 and in 1856 had for the produce poor, but true, samples of what
are known as the potato and Tartarean oat. In 1860, the produce was
good white Tartarean and potato oats.
A. nuda Linn. NAKED OAT. PEELCORN. PILLCORN.
This is probably an oat produced by cultivation. The
Chinese are said to cultivate a variety of it with a broad, flat rachis. It
was growing in England, according to Turner, in 1538. It is now, and
has been for some time, among the seeds of our seedsmen.
A. orientalis Schreb. SIBERIAN OAT. TARTAREAN OAT.
Southern Europe and the Orient.
Although the name leads to the
supposition that this oat had its origin in the dry table-lands of Asia,
yet we are not aware, says Lindley, that any evidence exists to show that
it is so. We only know it as a cultivated plant. Phillips4 says the
Siberian oat reached England in. 1777, and Unger says it was brought
from the East to Europe at the end of the preceding century.
A. sativa Linn. HAVER. OAT.
The native land of the common oat is given as Abyssinia by Pickering.
Unger says the native land is unknown, although the region along the
Danube may pass as such. The oat is probably a domesticated variety
of some wild species and may be A. strigosa Schreb., found wild in
grain fields throughout Europe. Professor Buckman believed A. fatua
Linn., to be the original species, as in eight years of cultivation he
changed this plant into good cultivated varieties. Unger says the Celts
and the Germans, as far as can be ascertained, cultivated this oat 2000
years ago, and it seems to have been distributed from Europe into the
temperate and cold regions of the whole world. It was known to the
Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and Romans. De Candolle, however, writes
that the oat was not cultivated by the Hebrews, the Egyptians, the
ancient Greeks or the Romans and is now cultivated in Greece only as
an object of curiosity. The oat is not cultivated for human food in India.
This grain is not mentioned in Scripture and hence would seem to be
unknown to Egypt or Syria. The plant is noticed by Virgil in his
Georgics with the implication that its culture was known. Pliny
mentions the plant. It is, hence, quite probable that the Romans knew
the oat principally as a forage crop. Pliny says that the Germans used
oatmeal porridge as food. Dioscorides and Galen make similar
statements, but the latter adds that although it is fitter food for beasts
than men yet in times of famine it is used by the latter. From an
investigation of the lacustrine remains of Switzerland, Heer finds that
during the Bronze age oats were known, the oat-grain being somewhat
smaller than that produced by our existing varieties. Turner observes,
in 1568, that the naked oat grew in Sussex, England. The bearded oat
was brought from Barbary and was cultivated in Britain about 1640;
the brittle oat came from the south of Europe in 1796; the Spanish oat
was introduced in 1770; the Siberian, in 1777; the Pennsylvanian, in
1785; the fan-leaved, from Switzerland in 1791. In Scotland, the oat
has long been a bread grain and, about 1850, Peter Lawson gives 40
varieties as cultivated. This cereal was sown by Gosnold on the
Elizabeth Islands, Massachusetts, in 1602; is recorded as cultivated in
Newfoundland in 1622; was growing at Lynn, Mass., in 1629-33. It was
introduced into New Netherland prior to 1626 and was cultivated in
Virginia previous to 1648. The Egyptian, or winter oat, was known in
the South in 1800. In 1880, 36 named kinds were grown in the state of
Kansas. The oat grows in Norway and Sweden as far north as 64� to
65� but is scarcely known in the south of France, Spain or Italy, and in
tropical countries its culture is not attempted.
A. strigosa Schreb. BRISTLE-POINTED OAT. MEAGRE OAT.
Pickering says this plant is of the Tauro-Caspian countries; it
was first observed in. Germany in 1771 by Retz in Sweden in 1779; and
the same year by Withering in Britain. Lindley says it is found wild in
abundance in grain fields all over Europe. The smallness of the grain
renders this oat unfit for cultivation except on poor, mountainous
places, where nothing better may be had. The Germans, however, have
much improved it
Averrhoa bilimbi Linn. Geraniaceae (Averrhoaceae/
Oxalidaceae). BILIMBI. BLIMBING. CUCUMBER TREE.
East Indies and China.
The fruit is of the form and size of a gherkin,
with a smooth, thin, pale green, translucent rind like that of a ripe
grape. When ripe, the flesh is as soft as butter and has somewhat the
flavor of an unripe gooseberry, too acid to be eaten except when cooked.
Brandis speaks of it as pickled or preserved in sugar, and Smith writes
that the flowers are made into conserves.
A. carambola Linn. BLIMBING. CARAMBA. CARAMBOLA.
East Indies and China.
This plant has been cultivated for its fruit for
ages in tropical and subtropical India. The form of the fruit is oblong,
with five prominent angles; its skin is thin, green at first and yellowish
afterwards; the flesh is soft and exceedingly juicy like a plum, with a
grateful, acid flavor. In Hindustan and Ceylon, the fruit is sometimes as
big as the two fists. In Sumatra, there are two sorts which are used
chiefly in cookery. In Bengal, there are two varieties, one with acid, the
other with sweet fruit, as also in Burma. The fruit is used as a pickle by
Europeans and the flowers are said to be made into a conserve.
Avicennia officinalis Linn. Verbenaceae (Avicenniaceae). NEW
Region of the Caspian.
This plant transudes a gum which the natives of
New Zealand esteem as a food. The kernels are bitter but edible.
Aydendron (Aniba) firmulum Nees. Lauraceae. PICHURIM BEAN.
The Portugese of the Rio Negro, a branch of the Amazon, gather
the aromatic seeds, known in trade by the names of the pichurim bean
and toda specie. The seed is grated like nutmeg.