Orchis coriophora Linn. Orchideae. BUG ORCHIS.
Europe and adjoining Asia.
In the Levant, its dried root is cooked and
eaten and is also used to furnish salep.
O. longicruris Link.
Mediterranean region. This orchid furnishes a portion of the salep of
O. mascula Linn. SPOTTED ORCHIS.
Europe and Asia Minor.
The spotted orchis yields part of the inferior
English salep. In the Peloponnesus, its dried root is cooked and eaten.
O. militaris Linn.
North Asia and Europe.
This orchid produces a starchy, mucilaginous
substance known as salep, obtained by macerating the pulp in water.
O. mono Linn. GANDERGOOSE. SALEP ORCHIS.
Europe and adjoining Asia.
In the Levant, the dried root is cooked and
eaten. This is one of the species which furnishes salep to commerce.
O. pyramidalis Linn.
Europe and north Africa.
This is one of the species used to furnish
salep to commerce.
O. ustulata Linn.
This is one of the species which furnish salep to commerce.
Large quantities of salep are prepared in, Macedonia and Greece, but
the finest comes from Turkey. In the Himalayas and Kashmir regions,
many species of bulbous-rooted orchids yield salep, which is largely
used as food by the natives.
Oreodoxa oleracea Mart. Palmae. CABBAGE PALM.
This is the cabbage palm of tropical America. The terminal
bud, of a white color internally and of delicate flavor, serves as a
vegetable. Seemann says the heart is made into pickles or, when boiled,
is served at table. The pith makes a sort of sago.
Origanum heracleoticum Linn. Labiatae. WINTER SWEET
This species has been identified with the Cunila
gallinacea of Pliny. It is mentioned in the early botanies, is said to have
reached England in 1640 and is recorded in American gardens in
1806. It finds mention by Burr in 1863 but seems now to have
disappeared from our seed-lists. It is frequently mentioned by early
garden writers under the name winter sweet marjoram and has a
variegated variety. It is an aromatic of sweet flavor and is much used for
soups, broths and stuffings.
O. majorana Linn. SWEET MARJORAM.
Sweet marjoram was introduced into British gardens in 1573.
This is the species usually present in the herb garden. It is supposed to
be the amaracus of Pliny, who speaks of it as cultivated. It is also the
marjorana of Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century and is
mentioned as cultivated in the early botanies. Its modern culture is
quite extended, and at Bombay it is considered sacred to Siva and
Vishnu. It is said to have reached Britain in 1573 and was a wellknown
inmate in American gardens in 1806. This biennial, always
treated as an annual, is highly aromatic and is much used, both in the
green state and when dried, for flavoring broths, soups and stuffings.
O. onites Linn. POT MARJORAM.
Southeast Europe, Asia Minor and Syria.
Pot marjoram is a perennial
species from Sicily. Pliny 10 speaks of this species as called onitin, or
prasion, in the first century. Its introduction into Britain is said to have
taken place in i759.11 It was in American gardens in i8o6 12 but does
not appear to have been much cultivated, although recorded by Burr in
1863. Its name does not now occur in our seed-lists as it is inferior to
the preceding variety.
O. vulgare Linn. ORGANY. WILD MARJORAM.
North Africa, Europe and adjoining Asia.
This species has become
sparingly naturalized in eastern America. Don says it is used in cookery
Only in default of one of the other majorams. McIntosh says that the
leaves and tender tops are in constant demand and that the leaves are
used in many places as a substitute for tea. Lightfoot says in some
parts of Sweden the peasantry put the leaves into their ale to give it an
intoxicating quality and to prevent its turning sour. It is included
among garden herbs by Burr.
Ornithogalum pilosum Linn. f. Liliaceae.
The roots, according to Pallas, are eaten by the Greeks of
O. pyrenaicum Linn. PRUSSIAN ASPARAGUS. STAR-OFBETHLEHEM.
Europe and adjoining Asia.
In England, the young shoots of this plant
are used as asparagus.
O. umbellatum Linn. DOVE'S DUNG. STAR-OF-BETHLEHEM.
Northern Africa, Asia Minor and Europe.
The bulbs, says Johnson, are
very nutritious and form a palatable and wholesome food when boiled.
In the East they are often eaten and were probably the dove's dung
mentioned in the Bible.
Orontium aquaticum Linn. Araceae. GOLDEN CLUB.
The seeds of this species were gathered and dried by
the Indians. Repeated boilings were necessary to fit them for use, the
product resembling peas. The root is acrid but is rendered edible by
Orthanthera viminea Wight Asclepiadeae.
In India, the flower-buds, raw or cooked, according to
Brandis, are eaten as a vegetable.
Orthosiphon rubicundus Benth. Labiatae.
East Indies and Burma.
The tubers are said to be eaten in Madagascar.
Oryza sativa Linn. Gramineae. RICE.
This important grain, which supplies food for a greater
number of human beings than are fed on the produce of any other
known plant, is supposed to be of Asiatic origin. Unger says it is
indigenous to further India and the Isle of Sunda. Barth says it grows
wild in central Africa, and recent travelers mention the plant as growing
wild in South America. Rice had been introduced into China 3000
years before Christ. Even in the time of Strabo, rice was cultivated in
Babylon, Khuzistan and Syria. The Arabians brought it to Sicily. It was
found by Alexander's expedition under cultivation in Hindustan but
the account of Theophrastus seems to imply that the living plant
continued unknown in the Mediterranean countries. Rice was known,
however, to Celsus, Pliny, Dioscorides and Galen. According to some,
rice was known in Lombardy in the tenth century but Targioni-Tozzetti
says that in the year 1400 it was still known in Italy only as an article of
import from the East. Its cultivation was introduced into Piedmont and
Lombardy in the end of the fifteenth, or commencement of the sixteenth,
century, either directly from India by the Portuguese or through Spain
and Naples by the Spaniards. It was not cultivated in fields in
Lombardy until 1522.
Rice was introduced into Virginia by Sir William Berkeley in 1647, who
caused half a bushel of seed to be sown, and the yield was fifteen
bushels of excellent rice. This grain is stated to have been first brought
into Charleston, South Carolina, by a Dutch brig from Madagascar in
1694, the captain of which left about a peck of paddy with Governor
Smith, who distributed it among his friends for cultivation. Another
account is that Ashby sent a bag of seed rice, 100 pounds, from which
in 1698 sixty tons were shipped to England. The culture of rice was
introduced into Louisiana by the Company of the West in 1718.
Upland, or mountain rice, was introduced into Charleston, South
Carolina, from Canton, in 1772. Father Baegert, 1751-68, speaks of
rice as nourishing in California.
The varieties of rice are almost endless. At the Madras exhibition of
1857, one exhibitor sent 190 varieties from Tanjore; another sent 65
from Travancore; 50 were received from Chingleput; 50 from Paghot;
and from these 107 varieties of paddy were selected as distinct. In
Moon's Catalogue of Ceylon Plants, no less than 161 varieties are
enumerated as growing in Ceylon, and Carey describes 40 varieties in
Coromandel, all well known to native farming. The most general
divisions are into upland rice, valley rice, summer rice and spring rice.
The finest rice in the world is that raised in North and South Carolina.
Rice in the husk is called paddy.
Oryzopsis asperifolia Michx. Gramineae. MOUNTAIN RICE.
The grain is large and affords a fine and abundant
farina, deserving the attention of agriculturists.
O. cuspidata Benth.
Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.
This grass produces a small, black,
nutritious seed, which is ground into flour and made into bread by the
Zuni Indians, who, when their crops fail, become wandering hunters
after these seeds.