Pectinaria articulata Haw. Asclepiadeae.
Thunberg n says this thick plant without leaves, is eaten,
after being pickled, by the Hottentots, and also by the colonists.
Pedalium murex Linn. Pedaliaceae.
Tropical eastern Asia.
The leafy stems, says Drury, are used in
thickening buttermilk, to which they give a rich appearance. Roxburgh
says venders of buttermilk are in the habit of diluting their merchandise
with water and then thickening the mixture with this plant, which
makes the adulterated article seem rich and of the best sort. A. Smith
says that water becomes mucilaginous by being simply stirred with the
fresh branches of this plant.
Pedicularis langsdorffi Fisch. Scrophulariaceae. LOUSEWORT.
Ainslie says the leaves are employed as a substitute for
tea by the inhabitants of the Kurile Islands.
Pelargonium acetosum Soland. Geraniaceae. STORK'S BILL.
Cape of Good Hope.
The buds and acid leaves are eaten.
P. peltatum Ait.
At the Cape of Good Hope, the buds and acid leaves are
P. triste Ait.
Syme says the tubers are eaten at the Cape of Good Hope.
P. zonale L'Herit.
The leaves and stalks are eaten in Yemen.
Peltandra virginica Rafin. Araceae. ARROW ARUM. VIRGINIAN
Eastern North America.
Bartram told Kalm that the Indians ate the
boiled spadix and berries as a luxury. When the berries are raw they
have a harsh, pungent taste, which they lose in great measure upon
boiling. The Indians also eat the roots cooked but never raw, as they are
then reckoned poisonous.
Peltaria alliacea Jacq. Cruciferae. GARLIC CRESS.
This plant is classed as an edible by botanists.
Pemphis acidula Forst. Lythraceae.
Tropical Asia and islands of the Pacific.
The leaves are used as a
potherb along the shores.
Pennisetum dasystachyum Desv. Gramineae.
Earth, in Travels in Northern Africa, says, at Agades, the slaves
were busy collecting and pounding the seeds of the karengia, or uzak,
which constitutes a great part of their food. Livingstone says the seeds
are collected regularly by the slaves over a large portion of central Africa
and are used as food.
P. typhoideum Rich. SPIKED MILLET.
This grass is supposed by Pickering to be a native of tropical
America. It is extensively cultivated about Bombay and forms a very
important article of food to the natives. In Africa, Livingstone found it
cultivated in great quantities as food for man. This species is cultivated
in many varieties in India, where it is a native. Drury says it is much
cultivated in Coromandel, and that the grain is a very essential article of
diet among the natives of the northern Circars. The seeds, says Unger,
constitute the principal article of food for the negroes in various parts of
Africa. Four varieties are cultivated by the native farmers of Bengal who
eat the grain and feed their cattle with the straw.
Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth. Leguminosae.
A tree, known in Gabun as owala and in the Eboo
country as opachalo. The seeds are eaten by the natives, who also
extract a limpid oil from them.
Pentadesma butyracea Sabine. Guttiferae. BUTTER TREE.
The fruit is eaten. The yellow, greasy juice, which flows
from the fruit when it is cut, is mixed by the inhabitants of Sierra Leone
with their food but is not used by Europeans on account of the strong,
Pentatropis cynanchoides R. Br. Asclepiadeae.
Abyssinia, Persia and northwest India.
Its follicles are eaten.
Peplis portula Linn. Lythraceae. WATER PURSLANE.
Europe and adjoining Asia.
This plant is mentioned by Theophrastus
as cultivated, by Dioscorides as esculent; it is mentioned also by Pliny,
Varro and Columella. About Athens, it is eaten in salads.
Pereskia aculeata Mill. Cactaceae. BARBADOES GOOSEBERRY.
The fruit is yellow, edible, pleasant to the taste and is
used in the West Indies for preserving.
P. bleo DC.
Mexico and New Granada.
The leaves are eaten as a salad in Panama
and are called bleo by the natives.
Pergularia edulis Thunb. Asclepiadeae.
The young leaves are eaten as a potherb in Japan.
Perilla arguta Benth. Labiatae.
China and Japan.
An infusion of this plant is used, says Mueller, to
impart to table vegetables and other substances a deep red color. The
plant is an inmate of French flower gardens.
Periploca aphylla Decne. Asclepiadeae.
Northwest India, Afghanistan, south Persia, Arabia and Egypt.
flower-buds, says Brandis, are sweet and are eaten, raw or cooked, as a
Persea gratissima Gaertn. f. Lauraceae. ABACATE. AHUACATE.
ALLIGATOR PEAR. AVOCADO. AVOCATE. VEGETABLE MARROW.
A tree of tropical America.
The avocado has been naturalized on the
islands of Bourbon and Mauritius since 1758. In Brazil, it is one of the
most highly-prized fruits. The fruit is like a large pear, with a green,
leathery rind and a tender, juicy flesh which incloses a hard nut. The
flesh, made into a sauce with citron juice and sugar, has a delightful
taste. In itself, the flesh is insipid but tender and soft, tasting like
artichokes. Moritz Wagner says it may be called vegetable butter as it
melts upon the tongue. Arruda says the fruit is very pleasant and that
there are in Brazil two varieties, one of which is called cayenne. Morelet
says the variety in Central America called avocate is a pulpy fruit with a
thin, smooth, leathery skin of a green color, spotted with red,
resembling much a large pear. It contains a large, oval stone, which,
when the fruit ripens and is ready to eat, becomes loose and rattles in
its center. The pulp is of a delicate coffee color, unctuous, without odor,
resembles fresh butter and is eaten with a spoon. This fruit is rarely
Palatable at first to the stranger, but it finally recommends itself by its
wonderfully delicate, agreeable and peculiar flavor. The second variety
is called by the Indians omtchon. It differs from the first by the
contraction of the part nearest the stem, by its sharp, conic base, by its
thick, wrinkled, light green skin and by the tenacity with which the skin
adheres to the pulp. A third kind is also known, called anison. It is not
as highly esteemed as the others and has a very strong, peculiar odor.
In Jamaica, says Long, there are two species, the green and the red, the
latter preferred, but the quality of the fruit varies; that produced in a
wild state is small and often bitter. The pulp is in universal esteem and
is called by some vegetable marrow and is generally eaten with sugar
and lime juice or pepper and salt. It has a delicate, rich flavor. Lunan
says few people relish the fruit at first but it soon becomes agreeable. In
an immature state, the fruit is very dangerous. It is cultivated to a
limited extent in south Florida.
Petasites japonicus F. Schmidt. Compositae.
The young, tender petioles of the leaves are said by
Penhallow to be largely used by the Japanese of Yeso as a food. The
native name is fuki. It is held in high esteem among the Ainos, although
devoid of flavor. The plants are cultivated for their succulent petioles.
Peteria scoparia A. Gray. Leguminosae.
This is a stout, spiny, suffruticose herb with a small,
edible, tuberous rootstock.
Peucedanum (Lomatium) ambiguum Nutt. Umbelliferae.
BISCUITROOT. BREADROOT. KONSE.
Western North America.
The root is called breadroot or biscuitroot by
travelers and konse by the Indians of Oregon and Idaho. The
Canadians call it racine blanc. When fresh, it is like the parsnip in taste
and, as the plant dies, the root becomes brittle and very white with an
agreeable taste of mild celery. It is easily reduced to flour and is much
used for food.
P. (Lomatium) farinosum Geyer.
Western North America.
The round to oblong, white root is gathered by
the Oregon Indians.
P. (Lomatium) foeniculaceum Nutt.
Western North America.
The roots are eaten by the Indians.
P. (Lomatium) geyeri S. Wats.
The tubers are an Indian food.
P. (Anethum) graveolens Benth. & Hook. f. DILL.
Europe and Asia.
This hardy, biennial plant was introduced to Britain
in 1570. Masters says this is supposed to be the plant which is called
arrise in the New Testament narrative. Dill is commonly regarded as the
anethon of Dioscorides and the anethum of Pliny, Palladius and others.
The name dill is found in writings of the Middle Ages, and dill is spoken
of as a garden plant in the early botanies. In England, it was called dyll
by Turner, 1538, which proves its presence at that date. It also occurs
in the vocabulary of Alfric, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the tenth
century. Dill was in American gardens before 1806. It seems to be
spontaneous in the far West as its roots are used as food by the Snake
and Shoshoni Indians, by whom it is called yampeh3 It is cultivated for
its leaves and seeds. The former are used as flavors in soups and
sauces, and the seeds are added to piclded cucumbers to heighten the
flavor. In India, the seeds are much used for culinary and medicinal
purposes. The seeds are to be found in every Indian bazaar and form
3 Yampeh is actually several species of Perideridia, Umbelliferae
one of the chief ingredients in curry powder.
P. (Lomatium) nudicaule Nutt. SYMRNIUM.
Western North America.
The Indians boil the tops in soups the same as
we use celery. Beckwith says the roots are used as food by the Indians
of the West.
P./Imperatoria ostruthium Koch. MASTERWORT.
The foliage was formerly boiled and eaten as a potherb.
P. palustre Moench. MARSH HOG'S FENNEL. MILK PARSLEY.
The roots are used in Russia as a substitute for ginger.
P. (Pastinaca) sativum Benth. & Hook. f. PARSNIP.
Europe and North America.
The parsnip is a biennial, the root of which
has been in use as an esculent from an early period. The Emperor
Tiberius, according to Pliny, was so fond of parsnips that he had them
brought annually from Germany, from the neighborhood of Gelduba on
the Rhine, where they were said to be grown in great perfection. The
wild plant, according to Don, is a native of Europe even to the
Caucasus; in North America, on the banks of the Saskatchewan and
Red River; in South America about Buenos Aires; and is naturalized in
northeastern America. The root of the wild plant is spindle-shaped,
white, aromatic, mucilaginous and sweet, with a degree of acrimony.
From the seeds of the wild variety in the garden of the Royal
Agricultural Society at Cirencester, originated the highly-appreciated
garden variety known as Student. It has been supposed that the
Pastinaca of the Romans included the carrot and the parsnip, and that
the elaphoboscon of Pliny was the parsnip. Pliny describes the
medicinal virtues of the elaphoboscon and says it is much esteemed as
a food. The references, however, do not prove this plant to be cultivated,
nor do the references to the pastinaca satisfactorily indicate the
parsnip. One is willing to accept such evidence as we find that the
cultivated parsnip was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Among the early botanists, there is much confusion in names between
the carrot and the parsnip. The root must, however, have come into
general use long before these records and perhaps its culture started in
Germany, as it seems to have been unknown to Ruellius, 1536, but is
recorded by Fuchsius in Germany, 1542, who gives a figure but calls it
gross zam mosen. The parsnip is figured by Roeszlin, 1550, under the
name pestnachen and in 1552 is recorded by Tragus as having a sweet
root, used especially by the poor and better known in the kitchens than
The following is a synonymy founded on pictures and descriptions
combined, all representing our long parsnip-form of root but some
indicating the hollow crown, upon which some of the modern varieties
are founded, especially Camerarius in 1586:
Sisarum sativum magnum. Fuch. 751. 1542.
Pestnachen. Roeszl. 106. 1550.
Pastinaca saliva. Matth. 353. 1558; 500. 1570; 548. 1598; Pin. 318. 1561
Pastinaca domestica vulgi. Lob. Obs. 407. 1576; Icon. 1:709. 1591.
De Pastinaca. Pastenay, gerlin oder moren. Pictorius 94. 1581.
Pastinaca domestica. Cam. Epit. 507. 1586; Dur. C. 837. 1617
Pastinaca sativa vulgi, Matthioli. Dalechamp 719. 1587.
Pastinaca latifolia sativa. Ger. 870. 1597; Dod. 680. 1616.
Pastinaca sativa latifolia, Germanica, luteo flore. Bauh. J. 2: pt. 2,
150, 25i. 1651.
Long parsnips of the moderns
In 1683, the long parsnips are figured in England as in great use for a
delicate, sweet food; are spoken of by Ray, 1686; Townsend, 1726;
Mawe, 1778; and Miller, 1807.
The round parsnip is called siam by Don, 1834. Its roots are funnelshaped,
tapering very abruptly, often curving inwards. There is little
known of its early history. It was noted in the Bon Jardinier for 1824;
as also by Pirolle in Le Hort. Francois; by Mclntosh, Burr and other
more recent writers.
The parsnip was brought to America by the earliest colonists. It is
mentioned at Margarita Island by Hawkins, 1564; in Peru by Acosta,
1604; as cultivated in Virginia in 1609 and 1648; in Massachusetts in
1629 and as common in 1630; and was among the Indian foods
destroyed by Gen. Sullivan ls in western New York in 1779.
P. (Lomatium) triternatum Nutt.
Western North America.
The roots are of the size of peanuts and are
collected very largely by the Indians. When dried, they are hard and
brittle and have a mild, sweet taste. They afford a good proportion of the
food of some tribes. The fusiform root when roasted is one of the
grateful vegetables of the Indians.
Peumus boldus Molina. Monimiaceae. BOLDU.
The white, buttery pulp of the fruit is of an agreeable taste. The
aromatic fruits, about the size of haws, are eaten.