Sabal adansoni Guems. Palmae.
Southern United States.
The soft interior of the stem is edible.
S. palmetto Lodd. PALMETTO PALM.
Coast of North Carolina and southward.
In Florida, the cabbage, is
eaten and is excellent. The drupes are said to afford nourishing food to
the Indians and hunters but are not palatable to whites until they
become accustomed to them. In Plaine Description of Barmudas, 1613,
it is said: "there is a tree called a Palmito tree, which hath a very sweet
berry, upon which the hogs doe most feede; but our men, finding the
sweetnesse of them, did willingly share with the hogs for them, they
being very pleasant and wholesome, which made them carelesse almost
of any bread with their meate." "The head of the Palmito tree is verie
good meate either raw or sodden." "Of necessitie, I must needs mention
a Palme-tree once againe, I have found it so good; take a hatchet and
cut him, or an augur and bore him, and it yields a very pleasant liquor,
much like unto your sweete wines."
Saccharum officinarum Linn. Gramineae. SUGAR CANE.
From the elaborate investigation of Ritter, it appears that this
species was originally a native of Bengal and of the Indo-Chinese
countries, as well as of Borneo, Java, Ball, Celebes and other islands of
the Malay Archipelago. There is no evidence that it is now found
anywhere in a wild state. The first historical allusion to sugar seems to
be by Theophrastus (others say by Strabo), who lived 321 B. C. He
speaks of a sort of honey procured from canes or reeds. Varro, 68 B. C.,
mentions the exceeding sweetness of the Indian reed, but says the juice
is derived from the root of the plant. Lucan says of the Indians near the
Ganges "they drink the sweet juices of the tender reed." Dioscorides
says there is a sort of concreted honey which is called sugar and is
found upon canes in India and Arabia Felix and it is as hard as salt
and is brittle under the teeth. Pliny adds to this description by saying it
comes in fragments as large as a filbert and is used only in medicine.
Paulus Aegineta quotes Archigenes as saying, "The Indian salt is like
common salt in color and consistence but resembles honey in taste."
Sugar is mentioned, however, in the Institutes of Menu, and the Sama
The Venetians imported sugar cane from India by the Red Sea, prior to
1148, and it is supposed to have been introduced into the islands of
Sicily, Crete, Rhodes and Cypress by the Saracens, as an abundance of
sugar was made in those islands previous to the discovery of the West
Indies. Cane was cultivated afterwards in Spain, in Valentia, Granada
and Murcia by the Moors, and sugar is still made in these provinces.
Other authorities believe that, in the ninth century, the Arabians
obtained sugar from the sugar cane which at that time was cultivated in
Susiana. Sugar was brought from Alexandria to Venice in the year 996.
In 1087, 10,000 pounds of sugar are said to have been used at the
wedding of the Caliph Mostadi Bemvillah. In 1420, Don Henri
transported sugar cane from Sicily to Madeira, whence it was carried to
the Canary Isles in 1503. Thence it was introduced into Brazil in the
beginning of the sixteenth century. Columbus carried sugar canes from
Spain to the West Indies before 1494, for at this time he says "the small
quantity that we have planted has succeeded very well. Sugar cane was
carried to Santo Domingo about 1520. In 1610, the Dutch began to
make sugar in the Island of St. Thomas, and, from the cane introduced
in 1660, sugar was made in Jamaica in 1664. Sugar cane reached
Guadeloupe about 1644 and Martinique about 1650. It was carried to
Bourbon at the formation of the colony. In 1646, the Barbados began to
export sugar. Plants appear to have been carried to Cuba by Velasquez
about 1518 and to Mexico by Cortez about 1524, and, before 1530, we
find mention of sugar mills on the estates of Cortez. The plant seems to
have been cultivated on the banks of the Mississippi for the first time
about 1751, and the first sugar mill was erected in 1758. In 1770,
sugar had become one of the staple products of the colony about New
Orleans. The first variety cultivated was the Creole. The Ribbon cane,
originally from Java, was introduced about 1820 to 1825. The Otaheite
cane, brought to the West Indies by Bougainville and Bligh, was
introduced far later.
According to Hallam, Gesner, who died in 1564, was the first botanist
who mentions sugar cane. Sugar cane, according to various observers,
never bears seed in the West Indies, Malaga, India, Cochin China, or the
Malay Archipelago, but Lunan speaks of the seed in Jamaica as being
oblong, pointed and ripening in the valve of the flower.
The use of sugar is well known. In South America a cane-wine called
guarapo is in common use, prepared from the juice of the stalk allowed
to run into fermentation. The natives of Easter Island, who suffer great
distress from want of fresh water, drink the juice. In southern China,
the stalks, cut into six- or ten-inch lengths, raw and boiled, are
continually hawked around the streets for eating. The elephant cane of
Cochin China is grown for the stalks, which are chewed. The epidermis
of the stalk is so brittle, that, instead of crushing in the mills, the stalks
break into small fragments. In central Africa, a red-stalked variety is the
most frequent and the negroes make no further use of it than eating the
cane, and the Uganda may often be seen passing, chewing the end of a
long cane that trails behind them. This cane also appears in the
markets of Paraguay, where it is eaten. This species is, undoubtedly,
says Unger, a plant peculiar to China, and has been cultivated there
independently and perhaps still earlier than the Indian sugar cane. This
is also the sugar cane of the Malays, according to Ainslie. De Candolle
says it was introduced into the gardens of Calcutta in 1796.
S. sara Roxb. PENREED GRASS.
East Indies, Afghanistan and India.
In the southern part of the Punjab,
the delicate part of the pith in the upper part of the stem is eaten by the
Sageretia brandrethiana Aitch. Rhamnaceae.
Orient and northwestern India.
The fruit is sweet and is a great favorite
with the Afghans.
S. oppositifolia Brongn.
East Indies and Malay.
The sweetish fruit is eaten in India.
S. theezans Brongn.
Northwestern India, Burma and China.
The poor in China use the
leaves as a tea. The fruit is also eaten in China and the Himalayas. It is
globular, the size of a small pea, dark brown when ripe, and is called tia
by the Chinese.
Sagittaria chinensis Sims. Alismataceae. ARROW-HEAD.
The Chinese arrow-head is sold in the markets of China and
Japan as food, the corns being full of starch. It is extensively cultivated
about San Francisco, California, to supply the Chinese markets, and
the tubers are commonly to be found on sale.
S. sagittifolia Linn. SWAMP POTATO. SWAN POTATO.
Europe, Asia and North America.
The bulbs, which dig themselves into
the solid earth below the mud, constitute an article of food with the
Chinese, and, on that account, the plant is extensively cultivated. This
species is enumerated by Thunberg as among the edible plants of
Japan. In eastern America, the Indians boil or roast this root which they
called katniss. It is called by the Oregon Indians wapstoo and
constitutes an important article of diet.
Salacia dulcis Benth. Celastraceae.
A shrub of Brazil.
The fruit is the size of a crab apple, yellow, sweet, and
juicy and is much eaten by the Indians on the Rio Negro, who call it
S. pyriformis Steud.
This plant produces a sweet-tasted fruit the size of a
Bergamot pear. Wight says the fruit is eatable and is said to be of a rich
and sweet flavor.
S. roxburghii Wall.
The plant bears a dull red fruit the size of a crab apple, of
which the white pulp is eaten.
S. scabra DC.
The berries are edible.
Salicornia brachiata Roxb. Chenopodiaceae.
The shoots are pickled by the natives of India.
S. fruticosa Linn
Europe and Africa.
The plant is of a brackish taste but is eaten as a
salad by the soldiers and some few others at the Cape of Good Hope.
S. herbacea Linn. CRAB GRASS. MARSH SAMPHIRE.
Seashores of the Mediterranean and north Atlantic and interior salines
throughout North America and Asia. The tender shoots of this plant in
England are used as a pickle and are sometimes boiled for the table.
This species is found about the salt springs in Syracuse, New York, and
is much used for pickling.
Salix alba Linn. Salicaceae. WHITE WILLOW.
Europe, Asia and north Africa.
The inner bark, though extremely bitter
in the fresh state, when dried and powdered, Johnson says, is used in
northern countries in times of scarcity for making bread. Dall says the
half-digested willow-tips in the stomach of the adult deer are regarded
as a delicacy by the Eskimos of the Yukon River, and the mess is eaten
as a salad. The bark of a species of willow is mixed with tobacco and
smoked by the Indians of Maine. In China, the leaves of this and other
willows are often eaten by poor people in times of want. Willow leaves
have long been used to make "sweet-tea," and about Shanghai the
leaves of S. alba are used to adulterate tea.
S. fragilis Linn. CRACK WILLOW.
Europe and Asia.
In Persia, this willow yields a saccharine exudation,
as stated by Haussknecht.
Salvadora persica Linn. Salvadoraceae, MUSTARD TREE. TOOTHBRUSH
Orient, East Indies and north Africa.
The fruit is sweet and is eaten
largely in the Punjab; when dried it forms an article of trade and tastes
somewhat like currants. The fruit is globose, two and one-half lines in
diameter, yellow when ripe, dark brown or red when dry. The shoot and
leaves are pungent, says Brandis, and are eaten as salad and are
celebrated as antidotes against poison. This shrub or small tree has
been identified as the mustard tree of Scripture. The small, red, edible
berries, says Ainslie, have an aromatic smell and taste not unlike the
garden cress. According to Stewart, these berries are much eaten, and
Royle says the seeds, having an aromatic pungency, are substituted for
Salvia columbariae Benth. Labiatae. CHIA.
Southern and central California.
The seeds are collected, roasted,
ground by the Indians and used as a food by mixing with water and
enough sugar to suit the taste. This mixture soon develops into a
copious, mucilaginous mass several times the original bulk. The taste
for it is soon acquired, and it is then found very palatable and
S. horminum Linn. HORMIUM CLARY.
South Europe; introduced into Britain in 1596.
The leaves are used as
a sage. Gerarde says of it, that the leaves are good to be put into pottage
or broths among other potherbs. It is included in Thorbum's seed
catalog of 1881.
S. indica Linn.
This species, according to Ainslie,6 is much cultivated in
India for its leaves, which are put into country beer because of their
fresh and pleasant smell.
S. lanata Roxb.
The stems are peeled and eaten.
S. officinalis Linn. SAGE.
This plant is one of the most important
occupants of the herb garden, being commonly used for seasoning and
also in domestic medicine. It has been under cultivation from a remote
period and is considered to be the elelisphakos of Theophrastus, the
elelisphakon of Dioscorides, the salvia of Pliny. Its medicinal virtues
are noted by Oribasius and others of the early writers on medicine. In
the Middle Ages, sage found frequent mention, as by Albertus Magnus
in the thirteenth century, and the plant and its uses are noticed in
nearly all of the early botanies. Although but one variety is now grown
in our gardens, yet formerly a number of sorts were noted, the red,
green, small and variegated being named by Worlidge in 1683. Sage
was in American gardens in 1806 and doubtless long before. Six
varieties are described by Burr, 1863, all of which can perhaps be
included among the four mentioned in 1683 and all by Mawe in 1778.
The French make an excellent pickle of the young leaves. The Chinese
value the leaves for making a tea, and at one time the Dutch carried on
a profitable trade in exchanging sage for tea, pound for pound. In
Zante, the apples or tumors on the sage, the effect of a puncture of a
species of Cynips, are made into a conserve with honey, according to
S. plebeia R. Br.
Eastern Asia and Australia.
The seeds are used as a mustard by the
S. sclarea Linn. CLARY.
Mediterranean region and the Orient; introduced into Britain in 1562.
In Europe, the leaves are said to be put into wine to impart to it a
muscatel taste. Clary was formerly much more cultivated in gardens
than at present. Townsend, 1726, says, "the leaves of it are used in
Omlets, made with Eggs and so must be in a garden." In 1778, Mawe
gives three varieties; the broad-leaved, the long-leaved and the
wrinkled-leaved. Clary is mentioned as cultivated in England by Ray,
1686; Gerarde, 1597; and it is the Orminum of Turner, 1538. It was in
American gardens preceding 1806 and now occurs wild in
Pennsylvania, naturalized as an escape. The leaves are used for
seasoning, but their use in America has been largely superceded by
sage; although the seed is yet sold by some of the seedsmen, it is now
but little grown.
Sambucus caerulea Rafin. Caprifoliaceae.
Western North America.
In California, the Indians eat the berries. In
Utah, its clusters of fruit often weigh several pounds, and the berries
are more agreeable than those of S. canadensis.
S. canadensis Linn. CANADIAN ELDERBERRY.
The unopened flower-buds form, when pickled, an
excellent substitute-for capers. The berries are often used to make a
S. ebulus Linn. DANEWORT. DWARF ELDER. WALLWORT.
Europe and adjoining Asia.
The plant has a nauseous smell and
drastic properties. Buckman says the berries are used as are those of S.
S. mexicana Presl.
Western North America.
The berries are deep purple when ripe,
agreeable to the taste and almost equal to the blackberry. The plant
bears flowers, green and ripe fruit on the same branches.
S. nigra Linn. ELDERBERRY. EUROPEAN ELDER.
Europe and northern Asia.
The elderberry is cultivated for its fruits,
which are generally purplish-black, but a variety occurs of a greenishwhite
hue. In Europe, a wine is made from the berries and they are even
marketed in London for this purpose. The berries are largely consumed
in Portugal for coloring port wine. The flowers are fried in a batter and
eaten. There are many superstitions which cluster about the elderberry.
S. xanthocarpa F. Muell. AUSTRALIAN EDLER.
This species furnishes one of the edible wild fruits of
Sandoricum indicum Cav. Meliaceae. SANDAL.
In the Moluccas, Lindley says the fruit is globular, the
size of a small orange and somewhat three-sided. Its color is dull
yellow, and it is filled with a firm, fleshy, agreeable, acid pulp, which
forms a thick covering around the gelatinous substance, in which the
seeds are lodged. Rumphius says the fruit is chiefly used for culinary
purposes. Mason says the fleshy, acid pulp of the mangosteen-like fruit
is highly relished by the natives.
Santalum lanceolatum R. Br. Santalaceae. SANDALWOOD.
The fruit is a brown or a black drupe, oblong, of a sweet taste
and is the size of a small plum.
Sapindus attenuatus Wall. Sapindaceae.
The fruit is eaten by the natives of Silhet.
S. esculentus A. St. Hil. PITTOMBERA.
Gardner says the fruit is produced in large bunches, resembling in size
the common grape. The outer covering is hard but the embryo, or
kernel, is covered with a thin, transparent, sweetish-acid pulp, which
alone is eaten.
S. fruticosus Roxb.
Unger says this plant furnishes a sweetish-sour, edible fruit.
S. marginatus Willd. SOAPBERRY.
Northern North America.
The Alaska Indians pound the berries and
press the pulpy mass into round cakes to be used for food. It is an
exceedingly repulsive food to Whites.
S. senegalensis Poir. CHERRY OF SENEGAL.
The pulp of its fruit is edible but the seeds are
Sapium indicum Willd. Euphorbiaceae.
The young fruit is acid and is eaten as a condiment while at
the same time the fruit is one of the ingredients used for poisoning
Sarcocephalus (Nuclea) esculentus Afzel. Rubiaceae
Sabine says the plant bears a large, fleshy fruit of the
size of a peach, with a brown and granulated surface. The core is solid
and rather hard but edible, much resembling the center of a pineapple
in substance. The surrounding flesh is sottish, full of small seeds and,
in consistence and flavor, much resembles a strawberry.
Sarcostemma brevistigma Wight & Arn. Asclepiadeae.
East Indies and Burma.
Royle says this plant yields a milky juice of an
acid nature, which is taken by the natives of India to quench thirst.
S. forskalianum Schult.
The "young shoots are eaten.
S. intermedium Decne.
Wight says the young, succulent branches yield a large
quantity of mild, milky, acid juice, which the natives suck to allay thirst
or eat as a sort of salad.
S. stipitaceum Schult.
The young shoots are eaten.
Sassafras officinale Nees & Eberm. Lauraceae. SASSAFRAS.
Eastern United States.
The dried leaves are much used as an ingredient
in soups, for which they are well adapted by the abundance of mucilage
they contain. For this purpose, the mature, green leaves are dried and
powdered, the stringy portions being separated, and are sifted and
preserved for use. This preparation, mixed with soups, gives them a
ropy consistence and a peculiar flavor much relished by those
accustomed to it. To such soups are given the names of gombo file or
gombo zab. Rafinesque says it is called gombo sassafras. In
Pennsylvania, says Kalm, the flowers of sassafras are gathered and
used as a tea. Sassafras tea, mixed with milk and sugar, says Masters,
forms the drink, known as saloop, which is still sold to the working
classes in the early morning at the corners of the London streets. In
Virginia, the young shoots are made into a kind of beer.
Satureia hortensis Linn. Labiatae. SUMMER SAVORY.
South Europe; supposed to have been introduced into Britain in 1562
and known to Gerarde in 1597. This species seems to be the satureia of
Palladius in the third century and of Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth
and is mentioned in England by Turner, 1538, which would indicate its
presence there at this date. Summer savory was also well known to all
the earlier botanists and is mentioned as a common potherb by all the
earlier writers on gardening. In 1783, Bryant says that, besides being
used as a potherb, it is frequently put into cakes, puddings and
sausages. Summer savory was in American gardens in 1806 or earlier
and, as an escape from gardens, is now sparingly found. The whole
plant is highly odoriferous and it is usually preferred to the other
S. montana Linn. WINTER SAVORY.
Caucasus and south Europe.
This species was known to the earlier
botanists and was probably known in ancient culture, although it is
not identified with any certainty. It is mentioned in Turner's Herbal,
1562, and this is as far back as we have printed registers; but there can
be little doubt that this, with summer savory, was much cultivated in
far earlier times in England. It was in American gardens in 1806. The
uses are the same as for the preceding species.
Saurauia napaulensis DC. Ternstroemiaceae
A fine tree of Nepal, called gokul. The natives eat the
berries. This is the gogina or goganda of northwest India. The
palatable, viscid fruit is eaten.
Sauvagesia erecta Linn. Violaceae (Ochnaceae).
The negroes and Creoles of Guiana use the leaves as
a spinach. It is called in Guiana adima or yaoba; in Peru Yerba de St.
Saxifraga crassifolia Linn. Saxifragaceae.
This plant is called badan, and its leaves are used by the
Mongols and Bouriates as a substitute for tea. It is an inmate of French