Carya-Casimiroa (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Carya-Casimiroa (Sturtevant, 1919)

Carya alba


North America. In 1773, at an Indian village in the South, Bartram[1] noticed a cultivated plantation of the shellbark hickory, the trees thriving and bearing better than those left to nature. Emerson[2] says this tree ought to be cultivated for its nuts which differ exceedingly in different soils and situations and often on individual trees growing in immediate proximity. In 1775, Romans[3] speaks of the Florida Indians using hickory nuts in plenty and making a milky liquor of them, which they called milk of nuts. He says: "This milk they are very fond of and eat it with sweet potatoes in it." The hickory nut now not only furnishes food to a large number of the Indians of the far West but is an important article in our markets and is even exported to Britain.

  1. Hist. Mass. Hort. Soc. 28. 1880.
  2. Emerson, G. B. Trees, Shrubs Mass. I:217. 1875.
  3. Romans Nat. Hist. Fla. I:68. 1775.

Carya microcarpa

Carya microcarpa Nutt. SMALL-FRUITED HICKORY.

Eastern North America. The nuts are edible but not prized.

Carya olivaeformis

Carya olivaeformis Nutt. PECAN.

A slender tree of eastern North America from Illinois southward. The delicious pecan is well known in our markets and is exported to Europe. It was eaten by the Indians and called by them pecaunes, and an oil expressed from it was used by the natives of Louisiana to season their food.[1] Its use at or near Madrid on the Mississippi by the Indians is mentioned in the Portuguese Relation[2] of De Soto's expedition. The pecan is now extensively cultivated in the Southern States for its fruit.

  1. Pickering, C. Chron. Hist. Pls. 749. 1879.
  2. De Soto Disc, Conq. Fla. Hakl. Soc. Ed. 9:94. 1841.

Carya porcina

Carya porcina Nutt. BROOM HICKORY. PIGNUT.

North America. The pignut is a large tree of Eastern United States. The nuts are variable in form, hard and tough, the kernel sweetish or bitterish but occasionally eaten by children.

Carya sulcata

Carya sulcata Nutt. BIG SHELLBARK. KING NUT.

Pennsylvania to Illinois and Kentucky. The nuts of this tree are eaten by the Indians and are considered of fine quality. This is one of the species recommended for culture by the American Pomological Society.

Carya tomentosa


Eastern North America. This hickory bears a nut with a very thick and hard shell. The kernel is sweet and in some varieties is as large as in the shellbark, but the difficulty of extracting it makes it far less valuable. A variety is found with prominent angles, called square nut.[1]

  1. Emerson, G. B. Trees, Shrubs Mass. I:222. 1875.

Caryocar amygdaliferum

Caryocar amygdaliferum Cav. Ternstroemiaceae (Caryocaraceae). CARYOCAR.

A high tree in Ecuador. The kernel of the nut is edible and has the taste of almonds.[1] This is the almendron of Mariquita. "The nuts are fine."[2]

  1. Don, G. Hist. Dichl. Pls. I:654. 1831.
  2. Humboldt, A. Trav. 2:368. 1889.

Caryocar amygdaliforme

Caryocar amygdaliforme Ruiz & Pav.

Peru. The tree bears nuts that taste like almonds.[1]

  1. Don, G. Hist. Dichl. Pls.' I:654. 1831.

Caryocar brasiliense

Caryocar brasiliense St. Hil. PIQUIA-OIL PLANT.

Brazil. This species bears an oily, mucilaginous fruit, containing a sort of chestnut eaten in times of famine.[1] This is perhaps the Acantacaryx pinguis Arruda, a large tree that produces most abundantly a fruit the size of an orange, of which the pulp is oily, feculous and nourishing. It is the delight of the inhabitants of Ceara and Piauhy and is called piqui.[2]

  1. Burton, R. F. Explor. Braz. I:76. 1869.
  2. Koster, H. Trav. Braz. 2:364. 1817.

Caryocar butyrosum

Caryocar butyrosum Willd.

Guiana. This plant is cultivated for its nuts in Cayenne. These are esculent and taste somewhat like a Brazil nut.[1] It is called pekea by the natives of Guiana. It furnishes a timber valuable for shipbuilding.[2]

  1. Don, G. Hist. Dichl. Pls. I:654. 1831.
  2. Smith, A. Treas. Bot. I:229. 1870.

Caryocar glabrum

Caryocar glabrum Pers.

Guiana. It furnishes edible nuts.[1] It is sometimes cultivated, and the trees are much used in shipbuilding and for other purposes. The natives make much use of the nuts.

  1. Don, G. Hist. Dichl. Pls. I:654. 1831.

Caryocar nuciferum

Caryocar nuciferum Linn. BUTTERNUT.

A lofty tree of British Guiana which produces the souari or butternut of the English markets. These nuts are shaped something like a kidney flattened upon two sides and have an exceedingly hard, woody shell of a rich, reddish-brown color, covered all over with round wart-like protuberances, which encloses a large, white kernel of a pleasant, nutty taste yielding a bland oil by pressure.[1]

  1. Smith, A. Treas. Bot. I:229. 1870.

Caryocar tomentosum

Caryocar tomentosum Willd. BUTTERNUT.

Guiana. The plant bears a sweet and edible nut.[1]

  1. Don, G. Hist. Dichl. Pls. I:654. 1831.

Caryota obtusa

Caryota obtusa Griff. Palmae.

A very large palm of the Mishmi Mountains in India. The central part of the trunk is used by the natives as food.[1]

  1. Griffith, W. Palms Brit. Ind. 170. 1850.

Caryota urens


Malabar, Bengal, Assam and various other parts of India. The center of the stem is generally soft, the cells being filled with sago-like farina, which is made into bread and eaten as gruel. But the main value of this palm consists in the abundance of sweet sap which is obtained from the cut spadix and which is either fermented or boiled down into syrup and sugar.[1]

  1. Brandis, D. Forest Fl. 550. 1876.

Casearia esculenta

Casearia esculenta Roxb. Samydaceae.

Tropical Asia. The leaves are eaten by the natives.[1]

  1. Black, A. A. Treas. Bot. I:231. 1870.

Casimiroa edulis

Casimiroa edulis La Llave. Rutaceae. MEXICAN APPLE. WHITE SAPOTA.

Mexico. This tree grows wild and is cultivated in the states of Sinaloa, Durango and elsewhere in Mexico and is known by the name of zapote blanco. The fruit is about an inch in diameter, pale yellow in color and is most palatable when near decay. It has a very rich, subacid taste, and the native Californians are very fond of it.[1] Masters[2] says its fruit has an agreeable taste but induces sleep and is unwholesome and that the seeds are poisonous.

  1. Cal. State Bd. Hort. Rpt. 80. 1880.
  2. Masters, M. T. Treas. Bot. I:232. 1870.