Muscari-Myrtus (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Muscari-Myrtus (Sturtevant, 1919)

Muscari racemosum Mill.


Mediterranean and Caucasian region. The bulbs are eaten in Crete, Zacynthus and Corcyra, as well as in Italy, according, to Sprengel.

Mussaenda frondosa Linn.


A large shrub of tropical eastern Asia and the neighboring islands. This shrub is common in the Ghauts of India, and its strange-looking, white, calycine leaves are eaten.

Myrica cordifolia Linn.

Myricaceae. MYRICA.

South Africa. The farmers use the wax from the berries for candles, but the Hottentots eat this wax either with or without meat.

Myrica faya Ait.


Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands. This is a small tree whose drupaceous fruits are used for preserves.

Myrica gale Linn.


Of northern climates. The French in Canada call it laurier and put the leaves into broth to give it a pleasant taste. In England, the leaves are sometimes used to flavor beer as an agreeable substitute for hops. The berries are employed in France as a spice.

Myrica nagi Thunb.

Tropical Asia and subtropics. This is the yang-mae of China, the yamomomoki of Japan and is commonly cultivated in these countries, being held in esteem for its subacid fruits, which are eaten both raw and cooked. They are round, one-seeded drupes of deep red color, with a tuberculated or granulated surface resembling that of the fruit of the strawberry tree. Fortune refers to a species, probably this, called yangmae in China. The wild variety san, is a fine Chinese fruit tree usually grafted upon M. sapida. It is called sophee in Silhet, where the fruit is eaten both raw and cooked. It has an agreeably-flavored fruit, though with too large a stone in proportion to the fleshy part; but this, says Royle, might probably be remedied by cultivation. This fruit tree would probably repay the trouble of culture. The fruit is eaten in India, says Brandis, and is sold in the bazaars of the hills.

Myristica acuminata Lam.

Myristicaceae. NUTMEG.

Madagascar. This species yields nutmegs in Brazil, in the Philippine Islands and in Madagascar.

Myristica fragrans Houtt.


Moluccas. The nutmeg tree is found wild in Giolo, Ceram, Amboina, Booro, the western peninsula of New Guinea and in many of the adjacent islands. It has been introduced into Benkoelen on the west coast of Sumatra, Malacca, Bengal, Singapore, Penang, Brazil and the West Indies, but it is only in a very few localities that its cultivation has been attended with success. Nutmegs and mace are now brought into the market almost entirely from the Banda Islands, the entire group occupying no more than 17.6 geographical miles. The earliest accounts of the nutmeg are in the writings of the Arabian physicians. They are known to have been at first imported overland into Europe and are mentioned under the name of karua aromatika in the addition to Aetius, also by Symeon Sethus. The fruit is much like a peach, having a longitudinal groove on one side, and bursts into two pieces when the enclosed seed, covered by the false aril or arillode, which constitutes the substance known as mace, is exposed. The seed itself has a thick, hard, outer shell, which may be removed when dry and which encloses the nucleus of the seed, the nutmeg of commerce.

Myrrhis odorata Scop.


South Europe and Asia Minor. This plant was formerly much cultivated in England as a potherb but is now fallen into disuse. The leaves were eaten either boiled in soups or stews, or used as a salad in a fresh state. The leaves and roots are still eaten in Germany and the seed is used occasionally for flavoring. In Silesia, according to Bryant, the roots are eaten boiled and the green seeds are chopped up and mixed with salads to give them an aromatic flavor. This aromatic herb can scarcely be considered as an inmate of American gardens, although so recorded by Burr, 1863. In 1597, Gerarde, says the leaves are "exceeding good, holsom, and pleasant among other sallade herbes, giving the taste of Ainse unto the rest." In 1778, Mawe records that it is used rarely in England. Pliny seems to refer to its use in ancient Rome under the name anthriscus. It finds notice in most of the early botanies.

Myrsine capitellata Wall.


Tropical Asia. The small, round drupe is eaten, according to Brandis.

Myrsine semiserrata Wall.

Himalayan region. The pea-sized drupe, with a soft, fleshy exocarp, is eaten.

Myrtus arayan H. B. & K.


Peru. This species is cultivated for ornament and fruit. The fruit is of a rich, spicy, subacid flavor.

Myrtus communis Linn.


Southern Europe and the Orient. In Greece, myrtle was sacred to Venus and was a coronary plant. Its fruit is eaten by the modern, as it was by the ancient, Athenians. The dried fruit and flower-buds, says Lindley, were formerly used as a spice and are said still to be so used in Tuscany.

Myrtus molinae Barn.

Chile, where it is called temo. Its seeds, Molina says, may be used for coffee.

Myrtus nummularia Poir.


Chile to Fuego and the Falkland Islands. Hooker describes the berries as fleshy, sweet and of agreeable flavor.

Myrtus ugni Molina.


Chile. Don says the fruit is red and musky. The natives express the juice and mix it with water to form a refreshing drink. Mufeller says it bears small but pleasantly aromatic berries. The fruit is said to be agreeably flavored and aromatic It fruits abundantly in the greenhouses of England, but its flavor does not recommend it as a table fruit.