Solanum aethiopicum Linn. Solanaceae. GOLDEN APPLE. LOVE
Asia and tropical Africa; cultivated there and elsewhere for its edible
berries, which are large, red, globular and uneven. The fruits are eaten
in China, Japan and in Egypt.
S. anguivi Lam. MADAGASCAR POTATO.
The small, red, glabrous berries are eaten.
S. aviculare Forst. f. KANGAROO APPLE.
New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania.
The fruit is eaten by the
islanders of the Pacific. The greenish-yellow berry, the size of a plum, is
edible but acerb unless fully ripe. The berries lose their unpleasant
acidity only after they have dropped in full maturity from the branches,
and then their taste resembles, in some degree, Physalis peruviana, to
which they are also similar in size. The native tribes eagerly collect the
fruit as an article of food.
S. cari Molina.
This is a distinct species of potato which has been long cultivated
in Chile but is still unknown not only in Europe but also in Quito and
S. commersonii Dun.
Valparaiso to Buenos Aires.
The species resembles the common potato.
S. elaeagnifolium Cav.
The Mexicans use the fruit for curdling milk and,
according to Dr. Gregg, call it trompillo.
S. fendleri A. Gray.
This species is found growing in great abundance in northern New
Mexico. The tuber is one of the chief articles of winter diet with the
Navajo Indians. These tubers are quite small, one-half to three-quarters
of an inch in diameter, of a good taste and are somewhat like a boiled
chestnut. This species has been suggested as the original of the
cultivated potato, but the history of the cultivated potato is against this
S. gilo Raddi.
The plant is much cultivated for its large, spherical, orangecolored
berries, which are eatable.
S. maccai Dun.
The red, globose berry is edible.
S. maglia Schlecht.
This is a wild potato of Chile called maglia by the natives. The
tubers are very small and of a slightly bitter taste.
S. melongena Linn. EGGPLANT. JEW'S APPLE. MAD APPLE.
Old World tropics.
The eggplant seems not to have been known in
Europe in the time of the ancients. The Arab physician, Ebn Baithar,
who wrote in the thirteenth century, speaks of it and cites Rhases, who
lived in the ninth century. Albertus Magnus, who lived in Europe in the
thirteenth century, mentions it. Ibn-al-awam, a Moorish Spaniard of the
twelfth century, describes four species, and six are noted in the
Nabathaean agriculture. According to Jessen, Avicenna, who flourished
about A. D. 595, knew it, and called it badingan. Bretschneider says
the eggplant can be identified in the Ts'i min yao shu, a Chinese work
on agriculture of the fifth century, and is described in later writings of
1590, 1640, and 1742. Acosta mentions, as among the vegetables
carried from Spain to America, the "berengenas, or apples of Love;" and
Piso, 1658, figures the eggplant among Brazilian plants, under the
name of belingela.
The eggplants first known in Europe appear to belong to the class we
now grow for ornament, the fruit resembling an egg. They were of
various colors. Fuchsius, 1542, mentions the purple and the yellow;
Tragus, 1552, who says they have recently reached Germany from
Naples, names the same colors; Lyte's Dodoens, 1586, names two
kinds, one purple and the other pale or whitish. In 1587, Dalechamp
figures three kinds, the one long, another obscurely pear-shaped and
the third rounded; he mentions the colors purple, yellow and ashcolored;
Gerarde, 1597, says white, yellow or brown; Dodonaeus, 1616,
mentions the oblong and round, white and purple; Marcgravius, 1648,
describes a round and yellow fruit; J. Bauhin, 1651, names various
sorts, the long, the deep and the round, yellow, purple and whitish.
Bontius, 1658, describes the wild plant of Java as oblong and round, or
spherical, the color yellow; the cultivated sorts purple or white. Rauwolf
particularly describes these plants at Aleppo, 1574, as ash-colored,
yellow and purple.
At present, the purple eggplant is almost the only color grown in our
kitchen gardens but there are many sorts grown in other regions. The
purple and the white ornamental are mentioned for American gardens
in 1806; as also in England, 1807; in France, 1824. In the Mauritius,
Bojer names three varieties of purple and white colors. In India, Carey
says, there are several varieties in constant cultivation by the natives,
such as green, white, purple, yellow. Pirminger describes purple-,
black- and white-fruited forms; and Speede names the purple and
white in six varieties. In Cochin China, Loureiro describes five sorts:
purple, white, and variegated.
There are two sorts of plants to be recognized: (a) The one with the
stems, leaves and calyxes unarmed, or nearly so. (b) The other with the
stems, leaves and calyxes more or less aculeate. The first sort is figured
by Fuchsius, 1542, and by succeeding authors up to the present date.
The second sort is first noticed by Camerarius, 1588, and has
continued to the present time.
The varieties now grown in American gardens can be divided very
readily into four types, the oval, round, long and the oblong or pearshaped.
The following synonymy can be established:
This, at present, includes but ornamental sorts, and present forms
show a marked improvement in evenness and regularity over the older
Calyx not spiny.-
Mala insana. Fuch. 513. 1542; Roeszl. 117. 1550; Tragus 894.
1552; Pineaus 514. 1561; Ger. 274. 1597; Sweert. t. 20, p. i. 1612;
Dod. 458. 1616.
Melongena sive mala insana vel melanzana. Lob. Obs. 138.
1576; Icon. i, 268. 1591.
Melongena, seu mala insana. Cam. Epit. 820. 1586.
Melongena. Matth. Opera. 760. 1598.
Melanzane. Dur. C. 279. 1617.
Solanum pomiferum fructu rotundo. Bauh. J. 3:618. 1651.
Melongena arabum. Chabr. 524. 1673.
Aubergine blanche. Vilm. 27. 1883.
Melanzana fructu pallido. Hort. Eyst. 1713; Aut. Ord. 1:3; also
White Egg-Plant. N. Y. Sta. 1886.
Calyx not spiny.-
Belingela. Marcg. 24. 1648; Piso. 210. 1658.
Aubergine rende de Chine. Decaisne and Naudin. Man. 4:288.
Black Pekin. Ferry. 1883; Hovey. 1866.
Black Pekin. Greg. 1886; Thorb. 1886.
This type varies much in size and proportion, if the Chinese variety
described by Kizo Tamari as recently introduced into Japan belongs to
this class. He says it is about one inch in diameter by one foot and a
half long. This form may be either straight or curved.
Calyx not spiny.-
Melantzana arabum melongena. Dalechamp 2: app. 23. 1587.
Solanum pomiferum fructu incurvo. Bauh. J. 3:619. 1651; Chabr.
524. 1673; Pluk. Phyt. t. 226, p. 2. 1691.
Aubergine violette longue. Decaisne and Naudin. Man. 4:287.
Aubergine violette longue. Vilm. 24. 1883.
THE OBLONG OR PEAR-SHAPED.
This form is a swollen fruit with an elongation towards the summit, in
some of its varieties shaped like the powder-hom gourd.
Calyx not spiny.-
Melantzana nigra. Dalechamp. 2: app. 23. 1587.
Aubergine violette nain ires hative. Vilm. 26. 1883.
Early Round Violet. Damman. 1884.
Solanum pomiferum magnus fructu, etc. Pluk. Phyt. t. 226, p. 3.
Melongena. Tourn. t. 65. 1719.
American Large Purple. Burr. 609. 1863.
We may note that the Arabic words melongena and bedengaim were
applied by Rauwolf to the long-fruited form, the calyx not spiny, while
the word betleschaim or melanzana batleschaim was applied to the
spiny-calyx form of the pear-shaped, if Gronovius's synonymy is to be
Every type in the varieties under cultivation can with certainty be
referred to one of the four forms above named. The oval type is figured
in 1542, as we have shown; the round type in 1648, in Brazil; the long
type, by Dalechamp, in 1587; and the pear-shaped type also in 1587.
All the colors now noted, and more, receive notice by the ancient
writers. As we have confined our synonymy to those authors who have
given figures and have omitted those who but described, however
certainly the descriptions would apply, we can claim accuracy as to our
We, hence, have no evidence that types have originated through
cultivation in recent years and we have strong evidence that types have
continued unchanged through long-continued cultivation, under
diverse climates. It is but as we examine variation within types that we
see the influences of cultivation. The oval-fruited is described by Dodonaeus,
1616, as of the form and size of an egg, but he says that in
Egypt, where the plant is wild, it attains double or three times the size
which it has in France and Germany. Ray, 1686, compares the size of
the long-fruited to that of an egg, or of a cucumber, a comparison that
would answer for to-day, as cucumber-size covers a wide range; but, he
adds, that the curved form is like a long gourd. The figures of the pearshaped
in 1719 indicate a fruit which compares well with the usual
sizes grown at the present time. It is in regularity of form and in the
large size of selected strains that we see the influence arising from
careful selection and protected growth. What other influence has
climate exercised? We do not know.
This sketch illustrates the point already made in studies of the
dandelion, celery and other vegetables - that types of varieties have
great fixity, are not produced through human selection and cultivation,
and, we wish we could add in this case, originated from wild
prototypes; but, unfortunately, there are no records of the variation
observed in feral or spontaneous plants.
S. montanum Linn.
The Peruvian Indians are stated to use the roots in soups.
S. muricatum Ait. PEPINO.
Chile and Peru.
This is a shrubby species with egg-shaped, edible
berries, which are white, with purple spots, and attain a length of six
S. nigrum Linn. BLACK NIGHTSHADE. COMMON
This plant, says Vilmorin, is not as yet used in France as
a vegetable, but, in warm countries, the leaves are sometimes eaten as
spinach. It is mentioned by Galen among aliments in the second
century but was not cultivated in Germany in Fuchsius' time, 1542,
although it retained its name, Solanum hortense, perhaps from its
former cultivation. It is a plant of wide distribution, occurring in the
northern hemisphere from Sweden and the northeast of America from
Hudson Bay, even to the equatorial regions; as, for example, at Timor,
the Galapagos, the Antilles, Abyssinia, the Mascarene Isles, Mauritius,
Van Diemen's Land and Chile. It is found as a potherb in the markets of
Mauritius and is used as a spinach in central Africa. In China, the
young shoots are eaten, as also its black berries, and, in the Mississippi
Valley, the little black berries are made into pies and other pastry.
S. quitoense Lam.
The berries resemble in size, color and taste small oranges and
are of a peculiar fragrance. The Peruvians eat this fruit.
S. repandum Forst. f.
In Viti, the fruit is eaten by the natives, either in soups or
S sessiliflorum Dun.
The berries are eaten in Para, where they are called cubios and
the leaves are also eaten in Brazil.
S. topiro Humb. & Bonpl. TURKEY BERRY.
Banks of the Orinoco.
The berry is edible.
S. torvum Sw.
West Indies to Peru. This species is shrubby with
yellow, spherical berries of good size which seem wholesome.
S. trilobatum Linn.
The leaves are eaten by the Hindus.
S. tuberosum Linn. POTATO.
Western South America.
A native of southern Chile, becoming an object
of cultivation in northern Chile and Peru in the time of the Incas.
Mueller says the potato is found wild also in Argentina. Darwin states
that the wild potato now grows on the islands of the Chonos
Archipelago in great abundance, on the sandy, shelly soil near the sea
beach. The tubers were generally small, but he found one of oval shape
two inches in diameter, resembling in every respect and having the
same smell as English potatoes. When boiled, these potatoes shrunk
much and were watery and insipid, without any bitter taste. They grow
as far south as latitude 50 and are called aquinas by the wild Indians
of that part. Frezier, 1732, speaks of the potatoes of the Chile Indians
as called by them papas and as being quite insipid in taste.
According to Humboldt, the potato was cultivated at the time of the
discovery of America in all the temperate regions of Chile to New
Granada but not in Mexico. The earliest mention of the potato, if it be
not the sweet potato, is that of Peter Martyr, who, referring to the time of
Columbus' voyages, says that the Indians of Darien "dygge also out of
the grounds certayne rootes growing of themselves, which they call
betatas, muche lyke unto the navie rootes of Millane, or the great puffes
or mushroomes of the earth. Howsoever they be dressed, eyther fryed or
sodde, they geve place to no suche kynde of meate in pleasant
tendemes. The skinne is somewhat tougher than eyther the navies or
mushromes, and of earthy colour, but the inner meate thereof is very
white: These are nourished in gardens. . . . They are also eaten rawe
and have the taste of rawe chestnuts but are somewhat sweeter." In
1519, Pigafetta Vicentia, the chronicler of the voyage of Magellan, says,
on the coast of Brazil, 20� south, the natives brought the Spaniards
baskets of potatoes, or "batates," a root resembling "turnips, and tasted
like chestnuts," but these may have been the sweet potato.
In 1553, Peter Cieca says the inhabitants of Peru and vicinity had a
tuberous root which they eat and call papas. Cieza de Leon, who
traveled between 1532 and 1550, says the country of the Collao has for
the principal food of its inhabitants potatoes, which are like the earthnut.
They dry these potatoes in the sun and keep them from one
harvest to another. After they are dried, they call them chunus, and
they are highly esteemed and valued among them. Chunus, or frozen
potatoes, are still the ordinary food in the Collao. Garcilasso de la Vegal
also speaks of the papas of the Collao, round and moist, and inclined to
rot soon. Prescott says the potato formed the great staple of the more
elevated plains of Peru, under the Incas. Acosta, who wrote about
1590, says they call "papas these rootes (which) are like to ground
nuttes, they are small roots which cast out many leaves. They gather
this papas, and dry it well in the sunne, then beating it they make that
which they call chuno which keepes many daies, and serves for bread...
they likewise eat of these papas boyled or roasted." Zarata, 1555,
speaks of the potato being cultivated by the Peruvians and called
papas. In 1565, Hawkins found potatoes at Santa Fe de Bogata and
carried some thence.
In the West Indies, we find no mention of the potato until some time
after the discovery of the islands. In 1564, Hawkins says the potatoes at
Margarita Island, just, off the coast of Venezuela, are "the most delicate
rootes that may be eaten, and doe far exceede parssnips or carets." In
1595, Captain Preston and Sommers, on their way to Virginia, stopped
at Dominica Islands, and the Indians brought to them "plantans and
potatos." In 1633, White found this root in great abundance in
It is quite possible that Hawkins carried the potato to North America in
1565 when he relieved the famine among the French on the banks of
the river May, now St. Johns, Florida, and sailed northward towards
Virginia, where, in 1584, Hariot "describes under the name of openawk
what is supposed to be the potato: "The roots of this plant grow in
damp soils, many hanging together as if fixed on ropes. They are good
food, either boiled or roasted." Round potatoes, says Jefferson, "were
found in Virginia when first visited by the English; but it is not said
whether of spontaneous growth, or by cultivation only." In 1597,
Gerarde says, "it groweth naturally in America, where it was first
discovered, as reports Clusius, since which time I have received roots
thereof from Virginia, otherwise called Norembega;" his description
applies to the potato. The potato is mentioned under cultivation in
Virginia in 1609," in 1648 and in 1649 as better than those grown in
England, "excellently delicious and strongly nourishing." Potatoes are
said to have been introduced into New England by a colony of
Presbyterian Irish, who settled in Londonderry, New Hampshire, in
1719, but cultivation did not become general for many years; potatoes
appeared in Salem, Massachusetts, about 1762, as a field crop. In
1830, Col. Morris, then in his ninetieth year, informed Watson that the
potatoes used in his early life were very inferior to those of the present;
they were called Spanish potatoes and were very sharp and pungent in
the throat and smell, but a better sort was received from Liverpool.
Tench Frances, of Philadelphia, first imported an improved stock,
which, by frequent cultivation, he much improved. About 1817, says
Goodrich, the potato bore seed to the amount, perhaps, of a gill to the
hill; from 1842 to 1847, in the annual cultivation of two and a half
acres, he recollects having found but two branches, and his experience,
he says, has not been exceptional. In 1806, McMahon mentions but
one kind; and in 1832, Bridgeman says there are many varieties. In
1848, nearly 100 kinds were exhibited at the Massachusetts
Horticultural Society; in 1876, at the Centennial Exhibition, 500 named
varieties were shown. The potato now extends over North America to
Labrador and Fort Simpson, 65� north, where Richardson says they
Sir J. Banks considers that the potato was first brought into Europe
from the mountainous parts of South America in the neighborhood in
Quito in the early part of the sixteenth century. Yet the Spanish name of
battatas corresponds to the "betatas" of Peter Martyr and would
indicate that these tubers came from the coast region of South America;
yet, strangely enough, they are now called batatas Inglezas according
to McIntosh. Bowles, in his introduction to the Natural History of
Spain, is quoted by M. Drouyn de Thuys as saying that the potato was
first transported from Spain into Galicia and thence to Italy where it
was so common in the sixteenth century as to be fed to animals; but the
first date we find is from Nuttall, who says that, according to Bauhin,
the potato was introduced into Europe from the mountainous parts of
Peru in the year 1590, and this strangely enough-too strange to be
true-is after the potato was known elsewhere. In Bauhin's Phytopinax,
1596, appears, according to Hallam, the first accurate description of the
potato, which he says was already cultivated in Italy. In Italy, it received
the name of the truffle, taratoufle, which reminds one of the description
of P. Martyr. Sismondi, whose work on agriculture was published in
1801, says the potato, little known in Lombardy, was introduced by
himself into the hills of Tuscany, where it was then known only to the
gardeners of Florence and Leghorn. Glasspoole says its cultivation in
Tuscany began in 1767. In 1588, Clusius, at Vienna, received a present
of two of the tubers from Flanders and gives a plate of the plant in his
book published in 1601. In 1600, Olivier de Serres speaks of the potato
as recently brought to France from Switzerland. It was not, however,
until the middle of the eighteenth century that, under the urging of
Parmentier, it became an object of general culture. The potato was
introduced into Sweden in 1720, where, notwithstanding the exertions
of Linnaeus, it did not come into general cultivation until aided by royal
edict in 1764. It has now reached the North Cape, where it is grown in
gardens. The potato has been grown on a large scale in Saxony only
since 1717; in Prussia, since 1738; in Germany since 1710.
It is said by Glasspoole, that Hawkins, in 1565, brought the potato into
Ireland, but Lindley says it was first introduced by Raleigh on his Irish
estate. As the return of Raleigh's ships and the acquisition of these
estates took place in 1585, this is probably the date of the introduction.
Dr. Campbell, however, in his Political Survey, says the potato was not
introduced into Ireland until 1610. In 1597, Gerarde had the potato
growing in his garden in England. Woolridge, who wrote in 1687, says:
"I do not hear that it has been yet essayed whether they may not be
propagated in great quantities for the use of swine and other cattle."
Lisle, in his Husbandry, 1694-1722, does not mention potatoes.
Mortimer, in his Gardeners' Kalendar for 1708, says, "The root is very
near the nature of the Jerusalem artichoke, although not so good and
wholesome, but it may prove good to swine." Bradley, about 1719,
says, "They are of less note than horseradish, radish, scorzoners, beets
and skirret; but, as they are not without their admirers, I will not pass
them by in silence." Miller, 1754, says they are "despised by rich and
deemed only proper food for the meaner sort of persons." The potato
was introduced into Lancashire in, 1728, where its cultivation soon
became general and whence it gradually spread over other counties of
England. In Scotland, the potato was first cultivated in 1739, in the
county of Sterling, and was not known in the Highlands until 1743.
Booth says it was introduced in 1725 and came into field culture about
The potato is mentioned as among the edible products of Japan by
Thunberg, 1776, and its cultivation, says Humboldt, has become
common. In New Zealand, where it had become common by 1840, the
first tubers were left by Captain Cook 1770. In China, at the present
time, the potato is grown chiefly for consumption by foreigners and has
not found favor with the natives. It is now also grown in the Island of
Java, in the Buton, in Bengal and from the extremity of Africa to
Labrador, Iceland and Lapland, says Humboldt in 1811.
The tenor of the whole history of the potato seems such as to imply that
at first its tuber was of such poor quality as not to obtain general liking,
that it was only as the quality was improved that its acceptance became
assured and that it is to the effort of growers that it has secured at the
present time a quality that forces universal approval.
The varieties of the potato are now innumerable and, while of several
distinct types of form and color, are all supposed to have been derived
from a common wild progenitor. It is interesting to observe, therefore,
that varieties were under culture in South America even before the
discovery. In a vocabulary of a now extinct tribe, the Chibcha, who once
occupied the region about the present Bogota, ten different varieties are
identified, one of which, "black inside," has not as yet appeared in
modern culture. At the present time, Vilmorin makes an extremely
artificial classification as follows:
(1) The round, yellow varieties.
long, yellow varieties.
(3) The variegated, long, yellow varieties.
round, red varieties.
(5) The flat, pink, or red varieties. (
6) The smooth,
long, red varieties.
(7) The notched, long, red varieties.
(8) The violetcolored
and variegated varieties. The yellow and red varieties are
mentioned by Bauhin, 1596, as the tawny and the purple. In 1726,
Townsend mentions the white and the red in England, as does Bryant
in 1783. In 1785, Varlo describes eight sorts: "the White Round, the
Red Round, the Large Irish White Smooth, the Large Round Red, the
Culgee, the Early-wife, the White Kidney, the Bull's-eye Red." In further
description he says "the Jerusalem is long and full of eyes, the Culgee is
red on one side, the Early-wife does not blossom and is of a light red,
and the Toadback is nearly akin to the large Irish, the skin almost
black, and rough like a russetting; the Kidney is oblong, white with a
yellowish cast." In 1828, Fessenden says there are many varieties, and,
in 1832, Bridgeman says the varieties are very numerous. In 1848,
nearly 100 sorts were exhibited at the Massachusetts Horticultural
Society in Boston. Decaisne and Naudin give the number of varieties in
France in 1815 as 60, in 1855 as 493, in 1862 as 528.
A number of wild varieties of the potato have been grown at the New
York Agricultural Experiment Station, including the Solanum maglia.
One sort, which has not as yet been identified with its specific name,
corresponds to the notched class of Vilmorin. The maglia corresponds
to the round and oblong-flattened forms; the jamesii to the round form.
The colors of these wild potatoes are said by some growers to include
the white, the red, and the variegated. In their habits of growth, the
maglia forms its tubers deep under the ground, the jamesii very much
scattered and extending a long distance from the plant.
The synonymy of our types can include those described by Vilmorin, as
I.- Round yellow. Vilm. 1885.
Round as a ball. Ger. 781. 1597; 927. 1633.
Solanum tuberosum. Blackw. Herb. pi. 523. b. 1773.
White round. Varlo Husb. 2:97. 1785.
II.- Long yellow. Vilm. 1885.
Ovall or egge fashion. Ger. 781. 1597:927. 1633.
Oblonga. Bauh. Prod. 90. 1671;Matth. 757. cum ic. 1598.
Papas peruanorum. Clus. Rar. 2:79. cum ic. 1601. 777.-
Variegated long yellow. Vilm. 1885.
IV.- Round red. Vilm. 1885.
Pugni magnitudine. Matth. 757. 1598.
Red round. Varlo Husb. 2:97. 1785.
V.- Flat pink or red. Vilm. 1885.
VI.- Smooth long red. Vilm. 1885.
Solanum tuberosum. Blackw. Herb. pi. 523. b, 1773
VII.- Notched long red. Vilm. 1885.
Membri virilis forma. Bauh. Prod. 90. 1671.
VIII.- Violet colored and variegated.
Atrorubens. Bauh. Phytopin. 301. 1596.
Toadback. Varlo. Husb. 2:97. 1785.
Solanum tuberosum tuberibus nigricantibus. Blackw. Herb. 7.
The figures which seem to be referable to the maglia species are:
Batata virginiana sive virginianorum pappus. Ger. 781. i597.
Solanum tuberosum esculentum. Matth. Op. 758. 1598; Bauh.
Prod. 89. 1671.
Arachidna theophrasti forte, Papas peruanorum. Clus.-Rar. 2:79.
Papas americanus. Sweertius Florelig. 7. 28. fig. 4. i6i2.
The potatoes which are now grown in the United States were derived
from several sources; from England of late years; from Bogota in 1847;
and from Chile in 1850.
S. uporo Dun.
Islands of the Pacific.
In Viti, the fruit is prepared by the natives into a
sauce which is used at their cannibal feasts. The white settlers
occasionally use the fruit to prepare a sauce like the tomato and use
the leaves as a potherb. It is used as a vegetable in the Society Islands
and New Zealand.
S. xanthocarpum Schrad. & Wendl. YELLOW-BERRIED
Old World tropics.
This species is cultivated for its fruit in the Circars.
The fruits are much esteemed by the natives, who eat them in their
Solidago odora Ait. Compositae. SWEET GOLDEN-ROD.
Eastern North America.
Pursh says the dried flowers make a pleasant
and wholesome tea substitute. In the American Naturalist 1879, it is
said this plant is used as a tea in Pennsylvania.
Sonchus oleraceus Linn. Compositae. SOW THISTLE.
Europe, Asia and naturalized in the United States.
This thistle is
mentioned as an esculent by Dioscorides. Pliny records that the
hospitable Hecate regaled Theseus before his encounter with the bull of
Marathon with a dish of sow thistles. In Germany, the young leaves are
put into salads, and this common weed is exceedingly wholesome.
Hooker says it is eaten by the natives of New Zealand.
S. tenerrimus Linn.
This thistle is eaten in Italy as a salad.
Sonneratia acida Linn. f. Lythrarieae (Sonneratiaceae).
Malay and shores of the East Indies.
The fruit is eaten by the natives. A.
Smith says the acid, slightly bitter fruits are eaten as a condiment by
Sophora secundiflora Lag. Leguminosae.
This is the frijolillo of Texas, according to Bellanger. The
Indians near San Antonio formerly used it for an intoxicant.
Sorghum vulgare Pers. Gramineae. BROOM CORN. DURRA.
EGYPTIAN CORN. KAFFIR CORN. NEGRO CORN. PAMPAS RICE.
RICE CORN. SORGHUM. TENNESSEE RICE.
Tropics and subtropics.
This species is supposed to be a native of
Africa, perhaps of Abyssinia, and has been cultivated in China from a
remote period. Doolittle says the Chinese make a coarse kind of bread
from the flour of the seeds of sorghum, eaten principally by the poorer
classes. The best kind of Chinese whiskey, often called Chinese wine, is
distilled from the seeds. This Chinese form was imported into France
from the north of China about 1851 and, through the agency of the
Patent Office, it was obtained from France in 1854 and distributed in
the United States. Of the French importation from Shanghai, it is
interesting to note that but one seed of all that was received,
germinated. The Zulu Kaffirs cultivated the African variety, called
imphee, about their huts for the purpose of chewing and sucking the
stalks, and Mr. Wray recognized 15 varieties, which he introduced to
this country in 1857. He found this species in 1851 and engaged in the
distribution of the seed in Europe and Asia before bringing it to
America. There are some mentions of this plant, howeyer, far earlier. In
1786, a Signer Pietro Arduino is said to have attempted its introduction
into Italy from Kaffirland but did not succeed, and Wilkinson in his
Ancient Egyptians states that the plant grows about Assuan in Nubia,
in the oases, and is called by the Arabs dokhn. One writer attempts,
indeed, to identify this plant with the variety mentioned by Pliny, S.
nigrum, and described by the earlier herbalists. Barth speaks of its
being extensively grown in Africa, and Livingstone says the stalks are
chewed as sugar cane and the people are fat thereon. Pallas says it is
cultivated by the Tartars of the Crimea.
Sorghum is now cultivated throughout India, tropical Asia, Africa,
southern Europe, the West Indies and America. Next to rice, says Carey,
this may be said to be the most extensively cultivated of all the
culmiferous tribe and forms a very considerable part of the diet of the
natives of the countries where it is grown. There are many varieties.
Pliny speaks of the black-seeded millet brought to Italy from the East
Indies, and Fuchsius, 1542, describes the shorgi; Tragus, 1552, gives
it the name Panicum Dioscorides et Plinii; Gesner, 1591, calls it
sorghum; Matthiolus, 1595, milium indicum; Lobel, 1576, describes
this species as sorgo melica Italorum; Dodonaeus, 1583, as melica
sorghum; and Lonicer, 1589, and Gerarde, 1597, describe several
varieties. Durra, or Guinea corn, was introduced into Jamaica and
thence into our southern states in the last century and was reported as
growing in Georgia in 1838. In the West Indies, negro corn is largely
consumed by the colored population when made into bread. In the
United States, a variety is largely grown for the making of brooms
under the name of broom corn. In western Kansas, varieties are grown
for the seed in regions which are too arid for the certain growing of
maize under the names Egyptian corn, rice corn, pampas rice,
Tennessee rice and durra. In 1805, a specimen of Egyptian corn was
exhibited to the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture as
grown in New Hampshire. In Egypt, six varieties are enumerated as
cultivated for the seed used as food. In Algeria, two kinds are grown,
the red and the white seeded. The dari, from Jaffa, is considered the
best in the Mediterranean region and is exported. In Italy, the seeds,
apparently of the black variety, are used for bread. At the Madras
exhibition of 1857, 56 varieties were shown, and Elliott says he has
seen it in all parts of India, Arabia, Abyssinia, Egypt, Asia Minor,
Turkey and Italy. Sorghum is also found in Natal, where it is called
Kaffir corn. Thunberg enumerates sorghum among the edible plants of
Japan. In Europe, says Unger, sorghum is raised to advantage in
Hungary, Dalmatia, Italy and Portugal. In the United States, sorghum
will probably not be grown as a food grain except in the arid regions.
Sorindeia madagascariensis DC. Anacardiaceae.
Africa and Madagascar.
On the upper Nile, the fruit is eaten. The
bunches are two feet long with 200 plums each, the size of a sparrow
egg, taste like a mango, are yellow and hang curiously from the main
trunk and boughs like parasites. The fruits grow also from among the