Solidago-Spilanthes (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Solidago-Spilanthes (Sturtevant, 1919)

Solidago odora Ait.


Eastern North America. Pursh says the dried flowers make a pleasant and wholesome tea substitute. In the American Naturalist 1879, it is said this plant is used as a tea in Pennsylvania.

Sonchus oleraceus Linn.

Compositae. SOW THISTLE.

Europe, Asia and naturalized in the United States. This thistle is mentioned as an esculent by Dioscorides. Pliny records that the hospitable Hecate regaled Theseus before his encounter with the bull of Marathon with a dish of sow thistles. In Germany, the young leaves are put into salads, and this common weed is exceedingly wholesome. Hooker says it is eaten by the natives of New Zealand.

Sonchus tenerrimus Linn.

Mediterranean region. This thistle is eaten in Italy as a salad.

Sonneratia acida Linn. f.


Malay and shores of the East Indies. The fruit is eaten by the natives. A. Smith says the acid, slightly bitter fruits are eaten as a condiment by the Malays.

Sophora secundiflora Lag.


Mexico. This is the frijolillo of Texas, according to Bellanger. The Indians near San Antonio formerly used it for an intoxicant.

Sorghum vulgare Pers.


Tropics and subtropics. This species is supposed to be a native of Africa, perhaps of Abyssinia, and has been cultivated in China from a remote period. Doolittle says the Chinese make a coarse kind of bread from the flour of the seeds of sorghum, eaten principally by the poorer classes. The best kind of Chinese whiskey, often called Chinese wine, is distilled from the seeds. This Chinese form was imported into France from the north of China about 1851 and, through the agency of the Patent Office, it was obtained from France in 1854 and distributed in the United States. Of the French importation from Shanghai, it is interesting to note that but one seed of all that was received, germinated. The Zulu Kaffirs cultivated the African variety, called imphee, about their huts for the purpose of chewing and sucking the stalks, and Mr. Wray recognized 15 varieties, which he introduced to this country in 1857. He found this species in 1851 and engaged in the distribution of the seed in Europe and Asia before bringing it to America. There are some mentions of this plant, howeyer, far earlier. In 1786, a Signer Pietro Arduino is said to have attempted its introduction into Italy from Kaffirland but did not succeed, and Wilkinson in his Ancient Egyptians states that the plant grows about Assuan in Nubia, in the oases, and is called by the Arabs dokhn. One writer attempts, indeed, to identify this plant with the variety mentioned by Pliny, S. nigrum, and described by the earlier herbalists. Barth speaks of its being extensively grown in Africa, and Livingstone says the stalks are chewed as sugar cane and the people are fat thereon. Pallas says it is cultivated by the Tartars of the Crimea.

Sorghum is now cultivated throughout India, tropical Asia, Africa, southern Europe, the West Indies and America. Next to rice, says Carey, this may be said to be the most extensively cultivated of all the culmiferous tribe and forms a very considerable part of the diet of the natives of the countries where it is grown. There are many varieties. Pliny speaks of the black-seeded millet brought to Italy from the East Indies, and Fuchsius, 1542, describes the shorgi; Tragus, 1552, gives it the name Panicum Dioscorides et Plinii; Gesner, 1591, calls it sorghum; Matthiolus, 1595, milium indicum; Lobel, 1576, describes this species as sorgo melica Italorum; Dodonaeus, 1583, as melica sorghum; and Lonicer, 1589, and Gerarde, 1597, describe several varieties. Durra, or Guinea corn, was introduced into Jamaica and thence into our southern states in the last century and was reported as growing in Georgia in 1838. In the West Indies, negro corn is largely consumed by the colored population when made into bread. In the United States, a variety is largely grown for the making of brooms under the name of broom corn. In western Kansas, varieties are grown for the seed in regions which are too arid for the certain growing of maize under the names Egyptian corn, rice corn, pampas rice, Tennessee rice and durra. In 1805, a specimen of Egyptian corn was exhibited to the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture as grown in New Hampshire. In Egypt, six varieties are enumerated as cultivated for the seed used as food. In Algeria, two kinds are grown, the red and the white seeded. The dari, from Jaffa, is considered the best in the Mediterranean region and is exported. In Italy, the seeds, apparently of the black variety, are used for bread. At the Madras exhibition of 1857, 56 varieties were shown, and Elliott says he has seen it in all parts of India, Arabia, Abyssinia, Egypt, Asia Minor, Turkey and Italy. Sorghum is also found in Natal, where it is called Kaffir corn. Thunberg enumerates sorghum among the edible plants of Japan. In Europe, says Unger, sorghum is raised to advantage in Hungary, Dalmatia, Italy and Portugal. In the United States, sorghum will probably not be grown as a food grain except in the arid regions.

Sorindeia madagascariensis DC.


Africa and Madagascar. On the upper Nile, the fruit is eaten. The bunches are two feet long with 200 plums each, the size of a sparrow egg, taste like a mango, are yellow and hang curiously from the main trunk and boughs like parasites. The fruits grow also from among the leaves.

Sparaxis bulbifera Ker-Gawl.


South Africa. The bulbous tubers are edible.

Specularia speculum A. DC.


Europe and Mediterranean region. Henfrey says this plant has been used in salads. It is grown in the flower garden in France.

Spergula arvensis Linn.


Europe; naturalized in North America. In Finland and Scandinavia, says Johnson, in time of scarcity bread has sometimes been made of the seeds.

Sphaerococcus cartilaginens Good. & Wood.


Balfour says this seaweed is used in China as a substitute for edible birds-nests. It is to be found in Chinese markets and differs but little from Irish moss and is used as a substitute for the more expensive birds-nest.

Sphagnum obtusifolium Ehrh.


Temperate climates. Sphagnum, says Lindley, is a wretched food in barbarous countries.

Spilanthes acmella Murr.


Cosmopolitan tropics and subtropics. This plant is used as a salad plant in Brazil. It is the Cresson du Bresil of the French and is cultivated as a seasoning plant. In South America, it is the cress of Para and is cultivated as a salad and potherb in tropical countries. It is eaten as a salad in the Mascarenhas, in the East Indies, South America and in Japan, where it is called hoko so.