Melocactus-Meriandra (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Melocactus-Meriandra (Sturtevant, 1919)

Melocactus communis Link & Otto.


South America and the West Indies. According to Unger, this cactus bears an edible fruit.

Melocanna bambusoides Trin.


East Indies. The fruit is very large, fleshy like an apple and contains a seed which is said to be very pleasant eating.

Melodinus monogynus Roxb.


Himalayan region, Malay and China. This plant bears a fruit, says Firminger, as large as a moderate-sized apple, which is said to be eatable and agreeable. Royle says it yields edible fruit. A. Smith says the firm, sweet pulp is eaten by the natives. The berry is red, edible, sweet and somewhat astringent.

Melothria pendula Linn.


North America and West Indies. The fruit, in Jamaica, is the size and shape of a nutmeg, smooth, blackish when ripe, and full of small, white seeds like other cucumbers, lodged within an insipid, cooling pulp. The fruit is eaten pickled when green and is good when fully ripe, according to Sloane.

Melothria scabra Naud.

Mexico. The fruit is an inch long, resembling little watermelons. It is pickled and eaten raw.

Memecylon edule Roxb.


Coromandel, tropical India and Burma. The juicy fruit is eaten by the natives when ripe. They have much pulp of a bluish-black color and of an astringent quality. The pulp of the fruit, though rather astringent, is eaten by the natives.

Mentha canadensis Linn.

Labiatae. MINT.

A plant found on the wet banks of brooks from New England to Kentucky and north-ward, and occasionally cultivated in gardens for the leaves, which are used in flavoring. The Indians of Maine eat mint roasted before the fire and salted and think it nourishing.

Mentha piperita Linn.


Europe, Asia and northern Africa. Peppermint is grown on a large scale for the sake of its oil, which is obtained by distillation, and which finds extensive use for flavoring candies and cordials and in medicine. There are large centers of its culture in the United States, Europe and Asia. It is grown to a limited extent for the leaves which are used for seasoning. Mint is spoken of as if not a garden plant by Ray, 1724, who describes two varieties, the broad and the narrow leaved. In 1778, it is included by Mawe, among garden herbs; in 1806, it is noticed among American garden plants and is now an escape from cultivation. There is no notice of peppermint preceding 1700, when it is mentioned by Plukenet and Tournefort as a wild plant only.

Mentha pulegium Linn.


Europe and neighboring Asia. The leaves of pennyroyal are sometimes used as a condiment. Mawe, in England, in 1778, calls it a fine aromatic; it was among American potherbs in 1806. It was in high repute among the ancients and had numerous virtues ascribed to it by both Dioscorides and Pliny. From the frequent references to it in Anglo-Saxon and Welsh works on medicine, we may infer that it was much esteemed in northern Europe. It has now fallen into disuse.

Mentha viridis Linn.


Europe, Asia and north Africa; naturalized in America. This garden herb was well known to the ancients and is mentioned in all early mediaeval lists of plants. Amatus Lusitanus, 1554, says it is always in gardens and later botanists confirm this statement for Europe. It was in American gardens in 1806 and probably far earlier, for it was collected by Clay ton in Virginia about 1739 as a naturalized plant.

Mentzelia albicaulis Dougl.

Loasaceae. PRAIRIE LILY.

Western North America. The oily seeds are pounded and used by the Indians in California as an ingredient of their pinole mantica, a kind of cake.

Menyanthes trifoliata Linn.


Northern Europe, Asia and America. The intense bitter of the leaves of the buckbean has led to its use as a substitute for hops in brewing. Large quantities are said to be collected for the adulteration of beer. It has long been employed in Sweden for this purpose. In Lapland and Finland, the rhizomes are sometimes powdered, washed to get rid of the bitter principle and then made into a kind of bread. In the outer Hebrides, when there is a deficiency of tobacco, the islanders console themselves by chewing the root of the marsh trefoil which, has a bitter and acrid taste.

Mercurialis annua Linn.

Euphorbiaceae. ANNUAL MERCURY.

Europe and north Africa and occasionally found spontaneously growing in the United States. Annual mercury, says Johnson, is eaten in Germany, the poisonous principle which it contains in small quantity being dissipated in boiling.

Meriandra benghalensis Benth.

Labiatae. BENGAL SAGE.

India. Bengal sage, says Firminger, is in general use in lower Bengal as a substitute for sage but it is rather an indifferent substitute.