Arisarum (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Arisarum (Sturtevant, 1919)

Arisarum vulgare Targ.


Mediterranean regions. In north Africa, the roots are much used in, seasons of scarcity. The root, which is not as large as our ordinary walnut, contains an acid juice, which makes it quite uneatable in the natural state. This is, however, removed by repeated washings and the residue is innoxious and nutritive.

Aristotelia macqui L'Herit.


A large shrub called in Chile, maqui. The berries, though small, have the pleasant taste of bilberries and are largely consumed in Chile.

Aristotelia racemosa Hook.

New Zealand. The natives eat the berries.

Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancr.


Northern South America. This plant has been cultivated and used as a food from early times in the cooler mountainous districts of northern South America, where the roots form a staple diet of the inhabitants. The root is not unlike a parsnip in shape but more blunt; it is tender when boiled and nutritious, with a flavor between the parsnip and a roasted chestnut. A fecula, analogous to arrowroot, is obtained from it by rasping in, water. Arracacha yields, according to Boussingault, about 16 tons per acre. The plant is also found in the mountain regions of Central America. The roots are nutritious and palatable and there are yellow, purple and pale varieties. Attempts to naturalize this plant in field culture in Europe have been unsuccessful. It was introduced into Europe in 1829 and again, in 1846, but trials in England, France and Switzerland were unsuccessful5 in obtaining eatable roots. It was grown near New York in 1825 4 and at Baltimore in 1828 or 1829 but was found to be worthless. Lately introduced into India, it is now fairly established there and Morris considers it a most valuable plant-food, becoming more palatable and desirable the longer it is used. It is generally cultivated in Venezuela, New Granada and Ecuador, and in the temperate regions of these countries, Arracacha is preferred to the potato. The first account which reached Europe concerning this plant was published in the Annals of Botany in 1805. It was, however, mentioned in a few words by Alcedo, 1789.


Artemisia abrotanum Linn.


Europe and temperate Asia. This artemisia forms an ingredient, says Lindley, in some continental beers.

Artemisia absinthium Linn.


Cultivated in Europe and in England in cottage gardens on a large scale. Bridgeman9, 1832, is the first writer on American gardening who mentions absinthe but now its seeds are cataloged for sale by all our larger dealers. It is classed among medicinal herbs but is largely used in France to flavor the cordial, absinthe, and in America in compounding bitters. The seed is used by the rectifiers of spirits and the plant is largely cultivated in some districts of England for this purpose. It is said occasionally to form an ingredient of sauces in cookery.

Artemisia dracunculus Linn.


East Europe, the Orient and Himalayan regions. Tarragon was brought to Italy, probably from the shores of the Black Sea, in recent times. The first mention on record is by Simon Seth, in the middle of the twelfth century, but it appears to have been scarcely known as a condiment until the sixteenth century10. It was brought to England in or about 154811. The flowers, as Vilmorin says, are always barren, so that the plant can be propagated only by division. Tarragon culture is mentioned by the botanists of the sixteenth century and in England by Gerarde12, 1597, and by succeeding authors on gar- __________________ 9. Bridgeman, Young Gard. Asst. 108. 1857.

10. Targioni-Tozzetti Journ. Hort. Soc. Lond. 148. 1854.

11. McIntosh, C. Book Gard. 2:167. 1855.

12. Gerarde J. Herb. 193. 1597.

[67] dening. Rauwolf,1 1573-75, found it in the gardens of Tripoli. In America, it is mentioned by McMahon,2 1806. Its roots are now included in our leading seed catalogs. Tarragon has a fragrant smell and an aromatic taste for which it is greatly esteemed by the French. In Persia, it has long been customary to use the leaves to create an appetite. Together with the young tips, the leaves are put in salads, in pickles and in vinegar for a fish sauce. They are also eaten with beefsteaks, served with horseradish. Tarragon vinegar, says McIntosh,3 is much esteemed.

Artemisia maritima Linn.


Caucasian region, Siberia and Europe. It is a bitter tonic and aromatic. It was formerly used to make a conserve with sugar.4

Artemisia mutellina Vill.


Europe. The plant is used on the continent in the preparation of Eau d'absinthe, which is in request amongst epicures.5

Artemisia spicata Wulf.


Europe. The plant is used on the continent in the preparation of Eau d'absinthe.

Artemisia vulgaris Linn.


Northern temperate regions. Mugwort was employed, says Johnson,6 to a great extent for flavoring beer before the introduction of the hop. It is still used in England to flavor the home-made beer of the cottagers. On the continent, it is occasionally employed as an aromatic, culinary herb.


1. Gronovius Fl. Orient. 106. 1755.

2. McMahon, B. Amer. Gard. Cal. 511. 1806.

3. McIntosh, C. Book Gard. 2:167. 1855.

4. Johnson, C.P. Useful Pls. Gt. brit. 152. 1862.

5. Balfour, J.H. Man. Bot. 521. 1875.

6. Johnson, C.P. Useful Pls. Gt. brit. 154. 1862.