Cannabis-Capsella (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Cannabis-Capsella (Sturtevant, 1919)

Cannabis sativa

Cannabis sativa Linn. Urticaceae (Cannabidaceae). FIMBLE. GALLOW GRASS. HEMP.

Caspian, central Asia and northwestern Himalayas. Hemp is spontaneous in the north of India and in Siberia. It has also been found wild in the Caucasus and in the north of China. Its native country is probably the region of the Caspian. Hemp was cultivated by the Celts.[1] The Scythians, according to Herodotus,[1] cultivated it. The Hebrews and the ancient Egyptians did not know it, for no mention is made of it in the sacred books and it does not appear in the envelopes of the mummies. Its culture is ancient throughout the southern provinces of India as a textile plant and for the stimulating properties of the leaves, flowers and seeds.[1] Dioscorides[2] alludes to the strength of the ropes made from its fibre and the use of the seeds in medicine. Galen refers to it medicinally. It was known in China as early as A. D. 220.[3] It was introduced into the United States before 1639, as Wm. Wood[4] mentions it.

Hempseed was served fried for dessert by the ancients.[5] In Russia, Poland and neighboring countries, the peasants are extremely fond of parched hempseed and it is eaten even by the nobility. The oil expressed from the seed is much used as food during the time of the fasts in the Volga region.[6] The plant is cultivated by the Hottentots for the purpose of smoking and it is used in like manner by the negroes of Brazil.[7] In the East, hemp is grown largely for the sake of the churras, or resin, which possesses intoxicating properties. The Arabs smoke the sun-dried leaf mixed with tobacco in huge pipes,[8] while the Africans smoke the hemp alone. For fibre purposes and for seed, the plant is largely grown in Russia and North America.

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 De Candolle, A. Geog. Bot. 2:835. 1855.
  2. Targioni-Tozzetti Journ. Hort. Soc. Lond. 9:149. 1855.
  3. Stille, A. Therap. Mat. Med. I:956. 1874.
  4. Pickering, C. Chron. Hist. Pls. 77. 1879.
  5. Soyer, A. Pantroph. 48. 1853.
  6. Loudon, J. C. Enc. Agr. 107. 1866.
  7. Stille, A. Therap. Mat. Med. I:957. 1874.
  8. Masters, M. T. Treas. Bot. I:214. 1870.

Capparis aphylla

Capparis aphylla Roth. Capparideae. CAPER. KUREEL.

Northern Africa, Arabia and East Indies. In India, the bud of this plant is eaten as a potherb, and the fruit is largely consumed by the natives, both green and ripe[1] and is formed into a pickle.[2] In Sind, the flowerbuds are used as a pickle, and the unripe fruit is cooked and eaten. Both the ripe and unripe fruit, prepared into a bitter-tasting pickle, is exported into Hindustan.[3] Its fruit, before ripening, is cooked and eaten by the Banians of Arabia.[4] The African species is described by Barth[5] as forming one of the characteristic features in the vegetation of Africa from the desert to the Niger, the dried berries constituting an important article of food, while the roots when burned yield no small quantity of salt.

  1. Drury, H. Useful Pls. Ind. 3. 1873.
  2. Royle, J. F. Illustr. Bot. Himal. I:73. 1839.
  3. Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 14. 1874.
  4. Forskal Fl. Aeg. Arab. 82. 1775.
  5. Masters, M. T. Treas. Bot. I:217. 1870. (C. sodada)

Capparis horrida

Capparis horrida Linn. f. CAPER.

Tropical Asia and Malays. In the southern Punjab and Sind, the fruit is pickled.

Capparis spinosa

Capparis spinosa Linn. CAPER.

Mediterranean regions, East Indies and Orient. This species furnishes buds which are substituted for the capers of commerce.[1] It is used as a caper.[2] The preserved buds have received wide distribution as a vegetable. The caper was known to the ancient Greeks, and the renowned Phryne, at the first period of her residence in Athens, was a dealer in capers.[2] The Greeks of the Crimea, according to Pallas,[3] eat the sprouts, which resemble those of asparagus, as well as the bud, shoot, and, in short, every eatable part of the shrub. Wilkinson[4] states that the fruit of the Egyptian caper, or lussef, is very large, like a small cucumber, about two and a half inches long and is eaten by the Arabs. According to Ruellius,[5] Aristotle and Theophrastus describe the plant as not cultivated in gardens, but in his time, 1536, it was in the gardens of France. In Sind and the Punjab, the fruit is pickled and eaten. It is now cultivated in the south of Europe for the flower-buds, which furnish the capers of commerce. About 1755, capers were imported into South Carolina by Henry Laurens.[6] They were raised successfully for two years in Louisiana, before 1854, but the plants afterwards perished by frost.[7]

  1. Pickering, C. Chron. Hist. Pls. 140. 1879.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Unger, F. U. S. Pat. Off. Rpt. 359. 1859.
  3. Pallas, P. S. Trav. Russia 2:449. 1803.
  4. Wilkinson, J. G. Anc. Egypt. 2:29. 1854.
  5. Ruellius Nat. Stirp. 561. 1536
  6. Hist. Mass. Horl. Soc. 29. 1880.
  7. Bry, H. M. U. S. Pat. Off. Rpt. 225. 1854.

Capparis tomentosa

Capparis tomentosa Lam. KOWANGEE.

This is the kowangee of tropical Africa. In famines at Madi, spinach is made from its leaves.[1]

  1. Speke, J. H. Journ. Disc. Source Nile 562. 1864.

Capraria biflora

Capraria biflora Linn. Scrophularineae. GOAT-WEED. JAMAICA TEA. SMART WEED. WEST INDIA TEA.

Tropical America. Lunan[1] says the leaves not only resemble those of tea but make an equally agreeable decoction. Titford[2] says an infusion of them is a very good beverage.

  1. Lunan, J. Hort. Jam. 2:217. 1814.
  2. Titford, W. J. Hort. Bot. Amer. 79. 1811.

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Capsella bursa-pastoris Medic. Cruciferae. MOTHER'S HEART. SHEPHERD'S PURSE.

Temperate regions. One of the commonest of weeds, this plant has accompanied Europeans in all their navigations and established itself wherever they have settled to till the soil. Johns[1] says it was formerly used as a potherb. Johnson[2] says, as improved by cultivation, "it is used in America as a green vegetable, being largely raised about Philadelphia for sale in the markets." Darlington,[3] the botanist, who lived near Philadelphia, calls it "a worthless little intruder from Europe," and we are disposed to believe that the statement of its culture is one of the errors which are copied from book to book. In China, it is collected by the poor and largely eaten as food.[4]

  1. Johns, C. A. Treas. Bot. I:218. 1870.
  2. Johnson, C. P. Useful Pls. Gt. Brit. 49. 1862.
  3. Darlington, W. Weeds, Useful Pls. 50. 1860.
  4. Smith, F. P. Contrib. Mat. Med. China 196. 1871.