Rajania-Raphanus (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Rajania-Raphanus (Sturtevant, 1919)

Rajania brasiliensis Griseb.


South Brazil. The plant has edible roots.

Randia dumetorum Lam.


Old World tropics and India. The unripe fruit is bruised, pounded and used to poison fish; when ripe it is roasted and eaten.

Randia ruiziana DC.

Peru. The fruit is eaten by the Indians of Chile.

Randia uliginosa Poir.

East Indies and Burma. The ash-colored fruit is sold in bazaars in Oudh and Bihar and is eaten when cooked.

Ranunculus bulbosus Linn.

Ranunculaceae. BUTTERCUP.

Europe and naturalized in the United States. Lightfoot says the roots when boiled become so mild as to be eatable.

Ranunculus edulis. Boiss. & Hohen.


Asia Minor and north Persia. The small tubers, together with the young stems and leaves of the blossoms, serve as food. It is called morchserdag or egg-yolk, on account of the yellow color of the flowers.

Ranunculus ficaria Linn.


Caucasus and Europe. The young leaves, according to Linnaeus, may be eaten in the spring with other potherbs.

Ranunculus repens Linn.


North temperate regions. This species has less of the acrid quality which is found in most species of the genus and is said to be eaten in Europe as a potherb.

Ranunculus sceleratus Linn.

North temperate regions. After boiling, the shepherds in Wallachia eat this species.

Raphanus landra Moretti.


Italy. The radical leaves are prepared with oil and eaten as a salad by the poor inhabitants of Insubri.

Raphanus maritimus Sm.


Western Europe. The leaves and slender roots are mentioned by Dioscorides as eaten as a potherb. The large, succulent roots, according to Walker, are preferable to horseradish for the table.

Raphanus raphanistrum Linn.


A troublesome weed of Europe naturalized in northeastern America. In the outer Hebrides, its leaves are eaten as a salad. In the grain fields of England, it is so common that its seed is separated from the grain and sold as Durham mustard seeds. The seeds are very pungent and form an excellent substitute for mustard.

Raphanus sativus Linn.


China may be considered the native land of the radish where, as in the neighboring country of Japan, it runs into many varieties, among them an oil plant. The radish, however, is found wild in the Mediterranean region, as in Spain, in Sardinia, more frequently in Greece and is mentioned so frequently by ancient writers that some authors think it may be a cultivated form of R. raphanistrum. Radishes were extensively cultivated in Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. So highly did the ancient Greeks esteem the radish, says Mclntosh, that, in offering their oblations to Apollo, they presented turnips in lead and beets in silver, whereas radishes were presented in beaten gold. The Greeks appear to have been acquainted with three varieties, and Moschian, one of their physicians, wrote a book on the radish. Tragus, 1552, mentions radishes that weighed 40 pounds, and Matthiolus, 1544, declares having seen them weighing 100 pounds each.

This root does not appear, says Booth, to have reached England until 1548. Gerarde mentions four varieties as being grown in 1597, "eaten raw with bread" but for the most part "used as a sauce with meates to procure appetite." Radishes are mentioned in Mexico by P. Martyr; as abounding in Hayti by Benzoni, 1565; and as cultivated in Massachusetts by Wm. Wood, 1629-33. In 1806, McMahon mentions 10 sorts in his list of American garden esculents. Thorburn offers 9 varieties in his catalog of 1828 and 25 in 1881. At present, radishes are usually eaten raw with salt as a salad but are said also to be used occasionally otherwise; the leaves may be boiled as greens or eaten as a cress; the old roots may be boiled and served as asparagus; or the seedpods may be used for pickles. In China, a variety whose root is not fleshy is cultivated for the oil which' is procured from the seeds. In Japan, the roots are in general and universal use, being served as a vegetable and in almost every dish. Miss Bird says the daikon is the abomination of Europeans. The Lew-Chew radishes often grow, says Morrow, between two and three feet long, more than a foot in circumference and are boiled for food. In Sikh, India, the radish is cultivated principally for the vegetable formed of the young pods and for its oil. In upper Egypt, a peculiar kind is cultivated, of which, says Klunzinger, the leaves only are eaten, and Pickering says also that the leaves are eaten in Egypt. Bayard Taylor says the Arabs are very fond of radish-tops and eat them with as much relish as donkeys.


The round, or turnip, radish has the root swollen into a spherical form, or an oval tube rounding at the extremity to a filiform radicle. The root has several shades of color, from white to red or purple. Its savor is usually milder than that of the other sorts. This seems to be the hoeotion of Theophrastus, who described this form as the least acid, of a rotund figure and with small leaves; it is the syriacan of Columella and of Pliny. This sort does not appear to have received extensive distribution northward during the Middle Ages, as it is seldom mentioned in the earlier botanies. In 1586, Lyte says they are not very common in Brabant; but they are figured in two varieties by Gerarde. Here might be put the Raphanus vulgaris of Tragus, 1552, which he describes as round, small and common in Germany. Bontius, 1658, mentions the round radish in Java, and, in 1837, Bojer describes it as grown at the Mauritius. In 1842, Speede gives an Indian name, gol moolee, for the red and white kinds.

  • Raphanus radicula. Pers. Baillon Hist. Pis. 3:222.
  • Raphanus orbiculatus. Round radish. Ger. 184. 1597.
  • Scarlet French Turnip. Vilm. 485. 1885.
  • Small Early White Turnip. Vilm. 487. 1885.
  • Radicula sativa minor. Small garden radish. Ger. 183. 1597.
  • White olive-shaped. Vilm. 490. 1885.
  • Olive-shaped Scarlet. Vilm. 488. 1885.


The root of this class is long, nearly cylindrical, diminishing insensibly to a point at the extremity. This is now the common garden radish. It has a variety of colors from white to red and is noteworthy for the transparency of the flesh. This radish may well be the radicula of Columella, and the algidense of Pliny, which he describes as having a long and translucent root. This type is not described in England by Lyte nor by Gerarde; it is described as in the gardens of Aleppo in I573-75. In 1658, Bontius calls them, in Java, Dutch radish. In 1837, Bojer names them in the Mauritius and in 1842 Speede gives an Indian name, lumbee moolee.

  • Raphanus sativus. Mill. Baillon Hist. Pis. 3.222.
  • Raphanus minor purpureus. Lob. Obs. 99. 1576; Icon. 1:201. 1591.
  • Raphanus longus. Cam. Epit. 224. 1586.
  • Raphanus purpureus minor. Lob. Dalechamp. 636. 1587.
  • Radicula saliva minor. Dod. 676. i6i6.
  • Raphanus corynthia. Bodaeus. 769. 1644.
  • Long Scarlet. Vilm. 490. 1885.
  • Long White Vienna. Vilm. 492. 1885.


The long, white, late, large radishes cannot be recognized in the ancient writings, unless it be the reference by Pliny to the size; some radishes, he says, are the size of a boy infant, and Dalechamp says that such could be seen in his day in Thuringia and Erfordia. In Japan, so says Kizo Tamari, a Japanese commissioner to the New Orleans Exposition of 1886, the radishes are mostly cylindrical, fusiform or club-shaped, from one-fourth of an inch to over a foot in diameter, from six inches to over a yard in length. J. Morrow says that Lew Chew Radishes often grow between two and three feet long and more than twelve inches in circumference. In 1604, Acosta writes that he had seen in the Indies "redish rootes as bigge as a man's arme, very tender and of good taste." These radishes are probably mentioned by Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century, who says that the radix are very large roots of a pyramidal figure, with a somewhat sharp savor, but not that of raphanus; they are planted in gardens. This type seems to have been the principal kind in northern Europe a few centuries later and is said by Lyte," 1586, to be the common radish of England. In 1790, Loureiro describes this type as cultivated in China and Cochin China, and this seems to be the form described by Kaempfer in Japan, in 1712. The radishes figured by the early botanists enable us to connect very closely with modern varieties.

a.— Raphanus longus. Trag. 732. 1552.

  • Raphanus. Matth. 214. 1558; 332. 1570.
  • Rapkanus sive radix. Pin. 145. 1561.
  • Raphanus magnus. Lob.Obs.99. 1576; Icon. 1:201. 1591.
  • Raphanus alba. Cam. Epit. 223. 1586.
  • Raphanus sativus Matthiol. Dalechamp 635. 1587.
  • Raphanus sive radicula saliva. Dod. 676. 1616.
  • White Strasbourg. Vilm. 494. 1885.

b.— Raphanus II. Matth. 332. 1570; 349. 1598.

  • Raphanus secundus Matthiol. Dalechamp 635. 1598.
  • Laon long gray Winter. Vilm. 496. 1885.

c.— Raphanus. Matth. 241. 1558; 332. 1570.

  • Raphanus sive radix. Pin. 145. 1561.
  • Raphanus sativus Matthiolus. Dalechamp 635. 1587.
  • Radice. Dur. C. 383. 1885.
  • White Spanish Winter. Vilm. 497. 1885.

d.— Raphanus sativus. Garden Radish. Ger. 183. 1597.

  • Large White Russian. Vilm. 497. 1885.


This radish does not seem to have been mentioned by the ancients. In 1586, Lyte says: "The radish with a black root has of late years been brought into England and now beginnith to be common."

  • Raphanus nigra. Cam. Epit. 223. 1586.
  • Raphanus sive radicula sativa nigra. Dod. 676. i6i6.
  • Raffano longo. Dur. C. 1617. ap.
  • Long-rooted Black Spanish. Bryant 40. 1783.
  • Long Black Spanish Winter. Vilm. 496. 1885.


This is a turnip-rooted or round form of a black radish, usually included among winter sorts.

  • Raphanus pyriformis. Ger. 184. 1597.
  • Raphanus I. Matth. 394. 1598.
  • Large Purple Winter. Vilm. 495. 1885.

There is another form of black radish figured in the early botanies, of quite a distinct appearance. It answers suggestively to the description by Vilmorin of the Radis de Mahon a long, red radish, exceedingly distinct, growing in part above ground and peculiar to some districts in southern France and to the Balearic Isles.

  • Raphanus niger. Lob. Icon. 1:202. 1591.
  • Radice selvatica. Dur. C. 384. 1617.
  • Raphanus niger. Bod. 770. 1644.
  • Radis de Mahon. Vilm. 499. 1885.

Theophrastus mentions the Corinthian sort as having full foliage and the root, unlike other radishes, growing partly out of the earth, but the Long Normandy answers to this description as well as the Mahon.


This radish has pods a foot or more in length and these find use as a vegetable. The species became known to Linnaeus in 1784; it reached England from Java about 1816 and was described by Burr as an American kitchen-garden plant in 1863. According to Firminger, the plant has but lately come into cultivation in India and there bears pods often three feet in length. These pods make excellent pickles. It was at first called in England tree radish from Java; in India, rat-tailed radish, the name it now holds in the United States; by Burr,7 1863, Madras radish; by some, aerial radish.