Carum (Sturtevant, 1919)

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

Carum bulbocastanum

Carum bulbocastanum Koch. Umbelliferae. PIGNUT.

Europe and Asia. The tuberous roots serve as a culinary vegetable and the fruit as a condiment.[1] Lightfoot[2] says the roots are bulbous and taste like a chestnut; in some parts of England they are boiled in broth and served at the table.[3] Pallas says the roots are eaten by the Tartars.

  1. Mueller, F. Sel. Pls. 93. 1891.
  2. Lightfoot, J. Fl. Scot. I:156. 1789. (Bunium bulbocastanum)
  3. Pallas, P. S. Trav. Russia 2:189. 1803. (Bunium bulbocastanum)

Carum capense

Carum capense Sond.

South Africa. The. edible, aromatic root is called feukel-wortel.

Carum carvi

Carum carvi Linn. CARAWAY. KUMMEL.

Europe, Orient and northern Asia. This biennial plant is described by Dioscorides and mentioned by Galen. Pliny states that it derives its name from its native country, Caria, and that it is used chiefly in the culinary art. Caraway is now cultivated largely for its seed in England, particularly in Essex, in Iceland where it is apparently wild,[1] in Morocco and elsewhere. The seeds are exported from Finland, Russia, Germany, Prussia, North Holland and Morocco.[2] The seeds are used in confectionery and distillation. In England, the seed is used by cottagers to mix with their bread, and caraway-seed bread may often be found in restaurants in the United States. In Schleswig-Holstein and Holland, they are added to a skim-milk cheese called Kummel cheese. The roots are edible and were considered by Parkinson[3] to be superior to parsnips and are still eaten in northern Europe. The young leaves form a good salad and the larger ones may be boiled and eaten as a spinach.[4] Lightfoot[5] says the young leaves are good in soups and the roots are by some esteemed a delicate food. It was cultivated in American gardens in 1806 and is still to be found.

The seeds of caraway were found by O. Heer[6] in the debris of the lake habitations of Switzerland, which establishes the antiquity of the plant in Europe. This fact renders it more probable that the Careum of Pliny[7] is this plant, as also its use by Apicius[8] would indicate. It is mentioned as cultivated in Morocco by Edrisi in the twelfth century. In the Arab writings, quoted by Ibn Baytar, a Mauro-Spaniard of the thirteenth century, it is likewise named; and Fleuckiger and Hanbury think the use of this spice commenced at about this period. Caraway is not noticed by St. Isidore, Archbishop of Seville in the seventh century, although he notices dill, coriander, anise, and parsley; nor is it named by St. Hildegard in Germany in the twelfth century. But, on the other hand, two German medicine books of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries use the word cumick, which is still the popular name in southern Germany. In the same period the seeds appear to have been used by the Welsh physicians of Myddvai, and caraway was certainly in use in England at the close of the fourteenth century and is named in Turner's Libellus, 1538, as also in The Forme of Cury, 1390.

  1. Babington Journ. Linn. Soc. Bot. II:310. 1871.
  2. Fluckiger and Hanbury Pharm. 273. 1879.
  3. Parkinson Par. Terr. 515. 1904. (Reprint of 1629.)
  4. Johnson, C. P. Useful Pls. Gt. Brit. 113, 1862.
  5. Lightfoot, J. Fl. Scot. I:169. 1789.
  6. Gard. Chron. 1068. 1866.
  7. Pliny lib. 19, c. 49.
  8. Apicius lib. I, c. 30; 2, c. 4; 8, c. 2.

Carum copticum

Carum copticum Benth. & Hook. f.

Europe, north Africa and northern Asia. This small plant is very much cultivated during the cold season in Bengal, where it is called ajowan, ajonan or javanee. The seeds have an aromatic smell and warm pungent taste and are used in India for culinary purposes as spices with betel nuts and paw leaves and as a carminative medicine.[1] The seeds are said to have the flavor of thyme.

  1. Dutt, U. C. Mat. Med. Hindus 173. 1877.

Carum ferulaefolium

Carum ferulaefolium Boiss.

Mediterranean region. This plant is a perennial herb with small, edible tubers.[1] Its whitish and bitterish roots are said by Dioscorides to be eaten both raw and cooked. In Cyprus, these roots are still cooked and eaten.

  1. Mueller, F. Sel. Pls. 93. 1891.

Carum (Perideridia) gairdneri

Carum (Perideridia) gairdneri A. Gray. EDIBLE-ROOTED CARAWAY.

Western North America. The root is a prominent article of food among the California Indians.[1] The Nez Percé Indians collect the tuberous roots and boil them like potatoes. They are the size of a man's finger, of a very agreeable taste, with a cream-like flavor.[2]

  1. Brewer and Watson Bot. Cal. I:259. 1880.
  2. U. S. D. A. Rpt. 407. 1870. (Endosmia gairdneri)

Carum (Perideridia) kelloggii

Carum (Perideridia) kelloggii A. Gray.

California. The root is used by the Indians of California as a food.[1]

  1. Brewer and Watson Bot. Cal. I:259. 1880.

Carum (Petroselinum) petroselinum (crispum)

Carum (Petroselinum) petroselinum (crispum) Benth. & Hook. f. PARSLEY.

Old World. Parsley is cultivated everywhere in gardens, for use as a seasoning and as a garnish. Eaten with any dish strongly seasoned with onions, it takes off the smell of onion and prevents the after taste. It excels other herbs for communicating flavor to soups and stews. Among the Greeks and Romans, parsley formed part of the festive garlands, and Pliny states that in his time there was not a salad or a sauce presented at table without it. The ancients supposed that its grateful smell absorbed the inebriating fumes of wine and by that means prevented intoxication. Parsley seems to be the apium of the ancient Romans, the selinon of Theophrastus,[1] who, 322 B. C., describes two varieties; one with crowded, dense leaves, the other with more open and broader leafage. Columella,[2] 42 A. D., speaks of the broad-leaved and curled sorts and gives directions for the culture of each; and Pliny,[3] 79 A. D., mentions the cultivated form as having varieties with a thick leaf and a crisp leaf, evidently copying from Theophrastus. He adds, however, apparently from his own observation, that apium is in general esteem, for the sprays find use in large quantities in broths and give a peculiar palatability to condimental foods. In Achaea, it is used, so he says, for the victor's crown in the Nemean games.

A little later, Galen,[4] 164 A. D., praises parsley as among the commonest of foods, sweet and grateful to the stomach, and says that some eat it with smyrnium mixed with the leaves of lettuce. Palladius,[5] about 210 A. D., mentions the method of procuring the curled form from the common and says that old seed germinates more freely than fresh seed. (This is a peculiarity of parsley seed at present and is directly the opposite to that of celery seed.) Apicius,[6] 230 A. D., a writer on cookery, makes use of the apium viride and of the seed. In the thirteenth century, Albertus Magnus[7] speaks of apium and petroselinum as being kitchen-garden plants; he speaks of each as being an herb the first year, a vegetable the second year of growth. He says apium has broader and larger leaves than petroselinum and that petroselinum has leaves like the cicuta; and that the petroselinum is more of a medicine than a food.

Booth[8] states that parsley was introduced into England in 1548 from Sardinia. In addition to its general use, in Cornwall where it is much esteemed, it is largely used in parsley pies. The plant is now naturalized in some parts of England and Scotland. Parsley is mentioned as seen on the coast of Massachusetts by Verazzano,[9] about 1524, but this is undoubtedly an error. Two kinds, the common and curled, are mentioned for our gardens by McMahon,[10] 1806. Fessenden,[11] 1828, names three sorts, and Thorburn,[12] 1881, four sorts.

At the present time we have five forms; the common or plain-leaved, the celery-leaved or Neapolitan, the curled, the fem-leaved and the Hamburg, or turnip-rooted.

  1. Theophrastus lib. 7, c. 4.
  2. Columella lib. II, c. 3.
  3. Pliny lib. 19, c. 37, c. 46; lib. 20, c. 44.
  4. Galen Aliment. lib. 2, 154. 1547.
  5. Palladius lib. 5, c. 3.
  6. Apicius Opson. 1709.
  7. Albertus Magnus Veg. Jessen Ed. 1867.
  8. Booth. W. B. Treas. Bot. I:79. 1870.
  9. Tytler Prog. Disc. No. Coast Amer. 36. 1833.
  10. McMahon, B. Amer. Gard. Cat. 127. 1806.
  11. Fessenden New Amer. Gard. 222. 1828.
  12. Thorburn Cat. 1881.

The plain-leaved form is not now much grown, having been superseded by the more ornamental, curled forms. In 1552, Tragus[1] says there is no kitchen-garden in Germany without it and it is used by the rich as well as the poor. Matthiolus,[2] 1558 and 1570, says it is one of the most common plants of the garden. In 1778, Mawe[3] says it is the sort most commonly grown in English gardens but many prefer the curled kinds; in 1834, Don[4] says it is seldom cultivated. It was in American gardens in 1806.

  • Apium hortense. Matth. 362. 1558; 512. 1570; 562. 1598; Pin. 333. 1561; Dalechamp 700. 1587; Lob. Icon. 706. 1591; Ger. 861. 1597; Dod. 694. 1616.
  • Garden parsley. Lyte Dod. 696. 1586.
  • Common parsley. Ray 448. 1686; McMahon 127. 18o6.
  • Plane parsley. Mawe 1778.
  • Common plain-leaved. Don 3:279. 1834.
  • Plain parsley. Burr. 433. 1863.
  • Persil commun. Vilm. 403. 1883.
  1. Tragus Stirp. 459. 1552.
  2. Matthiolus Comment. 362. 1558; 512. 1570.
  3. Mawe and Abercrombie Univ. Gard. Bot. 1778. (Apium petroselinum)
  4. Don, G. Hist. Dich. Pls. 3:279. 1834.

The Celery-leaved, or Neapolitan, is scarcely known outside of Naples. It differs from common parsley in the large size of its leaves and leaf-stalks and it may be blanched as a celery.[1] It was introduced into France by Vilmorin in 1823.[2] Pliny mentions parsleys with thick stalks and says the stalks of some are white. This may be the Apium hortense maximum of Bauhin,[3] 1596, as the description applies well. He says it is now grown in gardens and was first called English Apium. He does not mention it in his Pinax, 1623, under the same name, but under that of latifolium. Linnaeus[4] considers this to be Ligusticum peregrinum.

  • Persil celeri ou de Naples. L'Hort. Franc. 1824.
  • Naples or Celery-leaved. Burr 434. 1863.
  • Persil grand de Naples. Vilm. 404. 1883.
  1. Vilmorin Les Pls. Potag. 404. 1883.
  2. Pirolle L'Hort. Franc. 1823; Bon Jard. 254. 1824-25.
  3. Bauhin, C. Phytopinax 268. 1596.
  4. Linnaeus Sp. Pl. 1680. 2nd Ed.

Of these, there are many varieties, differing but in degree, such as the Curled, Extra Curled, Moss Curled and Triple Curled. Pena and Lobel,[1] 1570, mention this form and say it is very elegant and rare, brought from the mountains the past year and grown in gardens, the leaves curled on the borders, very graceful and tremulous, with minute incisions. In the synonymy, many of the figures do not exhibit the curled aspect which the name and description indicate; hence, we make two divisions, the curled and the very curled. The curled was in American gardens preceding 1806.

(a) The curled.
  • Apium crispum sive multifidum. Ger. 861. 1597. cum ic.
  • Apium crispum. Matth. Op. 562. 1598. cum ic.

(b) Very curled.
  • Apium crispatum. Advers. 315. 1570; Dalechamp 700. 1587.
  • Apium. Cam. Epit. 526. 1586.
  • Petroselinum vulgo, crispum. Bauh. J. 3:pt. 2, 97. 1651.
  • Curled. Townsend. 1726; Mawe 1778; McMahon 127. 1806. Thorb. Kal. 1821.
  • Apium crispum. Mill. Dict. 1731, from Mill. Dict. 1807.
  • Apium petroselinum. Bryant . 1783.
  • Curled or Double. Fessenden 222. 1828; Bridgeman 1832.
  • Persil frise. L'Hort. Franc. 1824; Vilm. 404. 1883.
  • Dwarf curled. Fessenden 222. 1828; Burr 432. 1863.
  • Curled leaved. Don 3:279. 1834.
  1. Pena and Lobel Advers. 315. 1570.

The Fern-leaved has leaves which are not curled but are divided into a very great number of small, thread-like segments and is of a very dark green color. It is included in American seed catalogs of 1878. This form seems, however, to be described by Bauhin in his edition of Matthiolus, 1598, as a kind with leaves of the coriander, but with very many extending from one branch, lacinate and the stem-leaves unlike the coriander because long and narrow.


Hamburg parsley is grown for its roots, which are used as are parsnips. It seems to have been used in Germany in 1542,[1] or earlier, but its use was indicated as of Holland origin even then in the name used, Dutch parsley. It did not reach England until long after. In 1726, Townsend,[2] a seedsman, had heard that "the people in Holland boil the roots of it and eat it as a good dish." Miller[3] is said to have introduced it in 1727 and to have grown it himself for some years before it became appreciated. In 1778,[4] it is said to be called Hamburg parsley and to be in esteem. In 1783, Bryant mentions its frequent occurrence in the London markets. It was in American gardens in 1806.

  • Oreoselinum. Fuch. 573. 1542.
  • Petroselinum. Trag. 459. 1552.
  • Apium. Cam. Epit. 526. 1586.
  • Apium hortense Fuchsii. Bauh. J. 3:pt. 2, 97. 1651.
  • Apium latifolium. Mill. Dict. 1737.
  • Dutch parsley. Gard. Kal. 127. 1765.
  • Hamburg parsley. Mawe 1778.
  • Broad-leaved. Mawe 1778.
  • Hamburg or large rooted. McMahon 1806; Burr 433. 1863.
  • Large rooted. Thorb. Kal. 1821.
  • Persil tubéreux. L'Hort. Franc. 1824.
  • Persil a grosse racine. Vilm. 405. 1883.

A persil panaché (plumed parsley) is mentioned by Pirolle, in L'Hort. Français, 1824.

  1. Fuchsius Hist. Stirp. 573. 1542.
  2. Townsend Seedsman 33. 1726.
  3. Martyn Miller Gard. Dict. 1807.
  4. Mawe and Abercrombie Univ. Gard. Bot. 1778.

Carum segentum

Carum segentum Benth. & Hook. f.

Europe. This is an aromatic, annual herb available for culinary purposes.[1]

  1. Mueller, F. Sel. Pls. 94. 1891.

Carum sylvestre

Carum sylvestre Baill.

East Indies. This plant is used as a carminative by the natives.[1]

  1. Royle, J. F. Illustr. Bot. Himal. I:229. 1839.