Nectandra cinnamomoides Nees. Lauraceae. AMERICAN
Pickering says the American cinnamon is a tree of the eastern slope of
the equatorial Andes and is cultivated in the region about Quito. Its
dried calices are brought also from forests to the eastward and are used
as a spice.
N. rodioei Hook. GREENHEART.
A tree of Guiana.
The timber is much valued in ship building. The fruit,
of the size of a small apple, has a single seed about as large as a walnut.
Though the fruit is very bitter, its seeds yield a starch which the Indians
mix with rotten wood and make into a bitter, disagreeable kind of
Negundo (Acer) aceroides (negundo) Moench. Sapindaceae
(Aceraceae). ASH-LEAVED MAPLE. BOX ELDER.
A tree of northern North America.
This tree, says Hough, is tapped for
sugar in Canada and is now being planted in Illinois for sugar-making.
Vasey says experiments in Illinois show the box elder to give more sap
and a more saccharine sap than the sugar maple and that this sap
makes a whiter sugar. Douglas says the Crow Indians make sugar from
its sap, and Richardson says this is the tree which yields most of the
sugar in Rupert's Land.
Nelumbo luteum Willd. Nymphaeaceae. AMERICAN WATERLOTUS.
WATER CHINQUEPIN. YELLOW NELUMBO.
North America and West Indies.
The seeds are very agreeable to eat and
are eagerly sought for by children and Indians. The long and thick,
creeping roots, says Rafinesque, are acrimonious when fresh but are
easily deprived of their dangerous juice by washings and are then an
agreeable food to the Indians.
N. speciosum Willd. LOTUS.
Northern Africa and tropical Asia.
The lotus is an eastern flower which
seems from time immemorial to have been, in native estimation, the type
of the beautiful. It is held sacred throughout the East, and the deities of
the various sects in that quarter of the world are almost invariably
represented as either decorated with its flowers, seated or standing on a
lotus throne or pedestal, or holding a sceptre framed from its flowers. It
is fabled that the flowers obtained their red color by being dyed with the
blood of Siva when Kamadeva wounded him with the love-shaft arrow.
Lakeshmi is called the lotus-born, from having ascended from the ocean
on its flowers. The lotus is often referred to by the Hindu poets. The
lotus floating in the water is the emblem of the world. It is also symbolic
of the mountain Meru, the residence of the gods and the emblem of
female beauty. Both the roots and seeds are esculent, sapid and
wholesome and are used as food by the Egyptians. In China, some
parts of India and in Ceylon, the black seeds of this plant, not unlike
little acorns in shape, are served at table. Temient found them of
delicate flavor and not unlike the pine cones of the Apennines. In the
southern provinces of China, large quantities are grown. The seeds and
slices of its hairy root are served at banquets and the roots are pickled
for winter use. In Japan, the stems are eaten. These stalks are not
dissimilar in taste to our broad beet with a somewhat sharp after-taste.
The seeds are also eaten like filberts. The roots furnish a starch, or
arrowroot, in China, called gaou fun.
Nemopanthus fascicularis Rafin. Ilicineae (Aquifoliaceae).
Northeast North America.
The berries, according to Pickering, are eaten
by the Indians.
Nepenthes distillatoria Linn. Nepenthaceae. PITCHER PLANT.
This plant has been introduced into India and is now common
in some of the mission gardens and is grown in conservatories in
Europe and America. The leaves are broad, oblong, smooth, with a very
strong nerve running through the middle, ending in a long tendril,
generally twisted, to which hangs a long receptacle or bag, which, on
being pressed, yields a sweet, limpid, pleasant, refreshing liquor in such
quantity that the contents of six or eight of them are sufficient to
quench the thirst of a man.
Nepeta cataria Linn. Labiatae. CATNIP.
Europe, Orient and the Himalayas.
Catnip holds a place as a
condiment. In 1726, Townsend says it is used by some in England to
give a high relish in sauces. It is mentioned among the plants of Virginia
by Gronovius, as collected by Clayton preceding 1739-
N. (Glechoma) glechoma (hederacea) Benth. ALEHOOF. GROUND
Europe and naturalized in northeastern North America.
The leaves are
in great repute among the poor in England as a tea and in ancient times
were used for flavoring ale.
Nephelium lappaceum Linn. Sapindaceae. RAMBUTAN.
Malay Archipelago, where it is found in the greatest abundance but
does not appear to be cultivated. This tree yields the well-known and
favorite rambutan fruit which in appearance very much resembles a
chestnut with the husk on and, like the chestnut, is covered with small
points which are soft and of a deep red color. Under this skin is the
fruit, and within the fruit a stone; the eatable part thereof is small in
quantity, but it perhaps is more agreeable than any other in the whole
N. litchi Cambess. LICHI.
China, Cambodia and the Philippines.
This tree furnishes one of the
most common fruits of China. The Chinese recognize some 15 or 20
varieties, but Williams says there are only two or three which are
distinctly marked. It has been cultivated for ages in that country and
furnishes a large amount of food to the people, a single tree often
producing four bushels of fruit. It is now cultivated in Bengal and the
West Indies. In Trinidad, says Pnstoe, the fruit is of the consistence and
flavor of a high class Muscat grape and is invariably relished as
delicious by all. The most common variety, says A. Smith, is nearly
round, about an inch and a half in diameter, with a thin, brittle shell of
red color covered all over with rough, wartlike protuberances; others
are larger and heart-shaped. When fresh, they are filled with a white,
almost transparent, sweet, jelly-like pulp, surrounding a rather large,
shining, brown seed; after they have been gathered some time, the pulp
shrivels and turns black, and the fruit then bears some resemblance to
N. longana Cambess. LONGAN.
East Indies, Burma and southern China, where it is much cultivated for
its fruits, which are sold in the Chinese markets. It is also grown in
Bengal. The longan is a smaller fruit than the lichi, varying from half an
inch to an inch in diameter and is quite round, with a nearly smooth,
brittle skin of a yellowish-brown color. It contains a similar semitransparent
pulp of an agreeable, sweet or subacid flavor.
N. rimosum G. Don.
This species furnishes a fruit which is eaten.
Nephrodium (various taxa) esculentum Don. Filices (various
In Nepal, says Unger, the rootstocks of this fern are eaten by the
Nephrolepsis cordifolia Presl. Polypodiaceae (Oleandraceae).
Mexico, Japan and New Zealand.
This fern, says J. Smith, produces
underground tubers like small potatoes, which are used for food by the
Natives of Nepal.
Neptunia oleracea Lour. Leguminosae.
This plant is used in Cochin China in salads, its spongy,
floating stems being crisp and juicy but not easily digested.
Nesodaphne (Beilschmiedia) tarairi Hook. f. Lauraceae. TARAIRE
The plant bears an ovoid and deep purple fruit used by
the aborigines, but, as the seeds contain a poisonous principle, they
require to be well boiled in order to make them harmless.
N. tawa Hook. f. TAWA.
The fruit is edible but the seeds are poisonous unless well
boiled before eaten.