Tanacetum-Terminalia (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Tanacetum-Terminalia (Sturtevant, 1919)

Tanacetum vulgare Linn.

Compositae. TANSY.

A strong-scented plant of Europe and Asia; now naturalized in the United States. Tansy is still included in the herb garden as a condimental and medicinal herb, yet it is very little grown, the wild plant usually sufficing for all purposes. Tansy very readily becomes an escape, thriving in out-of-the-way places without culture. It was formerly in greater esteem than at present. In 1633, Gerarde says: "In the spring-time are made with the leaves hereof newly sprung up, and with egs, cakes, or tansies, which be pleasant in taste, and good for the stomacke." In 1778, Mawe says: "This herb, for its economical uses in the kitchen and medicine, merits culture in every garden," and names for varieties the plain-leaved, the curled-leaved, the variegated-leaved and the scentless. Both the common and the curled are figured by Dodonaeus, 1616, and are mentioned in other botanies of this period. It was in American gardens before 1806.

Tanaecium lilacinum Seem.


Panama. Dr. Seemann says the edible berry is called in Guiana emosseberry.

Taraxacum officinale Wigg.

Compositae. DANDELION.

Temperate regions, north and south. The dandelion is highly spoken of as a spring green by various authors and has been used as a food plant in many regions but it has only recently come under cultivation. When a swarm of locusts destroyed vegetation in the Island of Minorca, the inhabitants subsisted on this plant, and, in Gottingen, the dried root has been used as a substitute for coffee. In 1749, Kalm speaks of the French in New York preparing and eating the roots as a common salad but not usually employing the leaves. The plant is now eaten raw or cooked by the Digger Indians of Colorado and the Apaches of Arizona. In 1828, Fessenden says the wild plant is used by our people but is never cultivated. In 1853, Mclntosh, an English author, had never heard of dandelions being cultivated. They are now extensively cultivated in France, and, in 1879, five varieties appeared in the French catalogs.

Dandelions are blanched for use as a winter salad. They are now very largely grown by our market gardeners, and Thorbum, in 1881, offers seed of two sorts. In 1871, four varieties were exhibited at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society under the names of the French Large-leaved, French Thick-leaved, Red-seeded and the American Improved. Fearing Burr, who exhibited them, makes no mention of dandelions in his Garden Vegetables, 1866. The common name is a corruption of dent de lion, a word which is found in the Welsh Dant y Llew of the thirteenth century. Its vernacular names in various languages have usually reference to the peculiar indentation of the leaves, or to some other resemblance or character of the plant. By commentators, the dandelion has been identified with the aphake of Theophrastus, in composition signifying absence of and phake, lentils, or the name, perhaps, signifying that the plant can be used as a green before lentils appear in the spring. The dandelion may be the ambubeia of Pliny and the name may suggest the scattering of the seed, ambulo meaning the going backward and forward, but some commentators assign this name to the wild endive or chicory; the hedypnois of Pliny is but doubtfully identified with our dandelion and appears to be derived from two Greek words signifying sweet breath and may refer to the sweet smell of the flowers.

Bauhin, in his Pinax, 1623, enumerates two varieties of dandelion: one, the Dens Leonis latiore filio, carried back in his synonymy to Brunselsius, 1539; the other, Dens Leonis angustiore folio, carried back in like manner to Caesalpinus, 1583. The first kind, he says, has a large and a medium variety, the leaves sometimes pointed, sometimes obtuse. In the Flore Naturelle et Economique, Paris, 1803, the same varieties, apparently, are mentioned, one with narrow leaves and the other with large and rounded leaves. In Martyn's Miller's Dictionary, 1807, the leaves of the dandelion are said to vary from pinnatifid or deeply runcinate in a very dry situation to nearly entire in a very moist one, generally smooth but sometimes a little rough; and Leontodon palustris is described as scarcely more than a variety, varying much in its leaves, which have few notches or are almost entire, the plant smoother, neater, more levigated and more glaucous than the common dandelion.

In Geneva, New York, on the grounds of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, a large number of variations are to be commonly noted, both in the habit and appearance of the plant and irrespective of difference of soil or exposure, as varieties may readily be separated whose roots are intertwined. Some plants grow with quite erect leaves, others with their leaves closely appressed to the soil; some have broad, others narrow leaves; some have runcinate leaves, others leaves much cut and almost fringed and yet others the leaves nearly entire; some have almost sessile leaves; some have smooth leaves, others roughened leaves; some have thin, others thick leaves; some grow to a larger size, others are always dwarfer; some have an open manner of growth, others a close manner.

The use of the wild plant as a vegetable seems to have been common from remote times, but its culture is modem. In 1836, a Mr. Corey, Brookline, Massachusetts, grew dandelions for the Boston market from seed obtained from the largest of the wild plants. In 1863, dandelions are described among garden esculents by Burr, but the context does not indicate any especial varieties. In 1874, perhaps earlier, the seed appears for sale in seed catalogs, and the various seed catalogs of 1885 offer six names, one of which is the "common." In England, dandelion culture is not mentioned in Mawe's Gardener, 1778, nor in Martyn's Miller's Dictionary, 1807; the first notice is in the Gardeners' Chronicler where an instance of cultivation is noted, the herbage forming "a beautiful and delicate blanched salad." In 1880, its culture had not become common, as this year its cultivation in France, and not in England, is noted. In France, Noisette gives cultural directions and says the wild plant furnishes a spring potherb. The dandelion is not, however, mentioned in L'Horticulteur Francaise, nor in Nouveau Dictionnaire du Jardinage, 1826. Vilmorin mentions its culture in France as dating from 1868, and the firm of Vilmorin-Andrieux et Cie., 1885, offers four sorts of seed, one, the Improved Moss, as new. In Vilmorin's Les Plantes Potageres, 1883, two forms are figured: Pissenlit ameliore a coeur plein and Pissenlit ameliore tres hatif. The first of these is named in Album de Cliches, Pissenlit ameliore frise, and a fourth name or third form is figured, the Pissenlit mousse. The type of the Pissenlit mousse can be readily found among the wild plants on the grounds of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, very closely resembling Vilmorin's figure in every respect when growing on rich soil, except that the leaf divisions are scarcely as much crowded. The type of the Pissenlit ameliore a coeur plein is perhaps to be recognized in Anton Pinaeus' figure, 1561, and is certainly to be found growing wild at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station. The Pissenlit ameliore tres hatif is figured in 1616; the resemblance between the two figures, the one by Dodonaeus and the other by Vilmorin, is very close. It is also to be found growing wild on the New York Station grounds.

Taxus baccata Linn.

Coniferae. YEW.

North temperate Europe and Asia. The berries, says Johns, are of a mawkish, disagreeable taste but are eaten with impunity by children. The nut contains a kernel which has an agreeable flavor like that of the stone-pine. Brandis says the berries are sweet and harmless and are eaten by the natives of the northwest Himalayas.

Telfairia occidentalis Hook. f.


Tropical Africa. The plant is cultivated for its seeds, which the natives boil and eat.

Telfairia pedata Hook.

Tropical Africa. The plant is a climber, the stems of which often attain the length of a hundred feet. The fruit attains a weight of 60 pounds and contains at times as many as 500 seeds. These seeds, when boiled, are eatable and a large quantity of oil can be expressed from them.

Terminalia arjuna Wight & Arn.


East Indies. In India, a decoction of the bark with milk is given as a nourishment. It is considered tonic, astringent and cooling.

Terminalia bellerica Roxb.

Tropical India and Burma. The kernels of the fruit are eaten.

Terminalia catappa Linn.


Tropical eastern Asia. This plant is cultivated in gardens in India and in south Florida. The kernel of the drupe has the taste and virtues of the almond, though, says Ainslie, perhaps the flavor is more that of the English filbert. The drupe is nearly three inches long, egg-shaped, grooved, and contains but one kernel, which is considered a nourishing food for weak people and from which a pleasant, edible oil is prepared. Firminger says, beyond comparison, this is the most delicious fruit of any kind the country affords.

Terminalia citrina Roxb.


East Indies. This plant is ranked amongst the fruits of India. It is about the size of a French plum and is often made into a pickle.

Terminalia glabrata Forst. f.

Friendly and Society Islands. The kernels of the fruit are eaten and have the flavor of almonds.

Terminalia latifolia Sw.

Jamaica. The kernels are eaten and have the flavor of almonds.

Terminalia litoralis Seem.

Fiji Islands. The seeds are sometimes eaten by children in Viti.

Terminalia mauritiana Lam.


Mauritius and Bourbon. The kernels of the fruit are eaten.

Terminalia pamea DC.

Guiana. The tree is cultivated on the Isle of France and elsewhere. The almond-like kernels are good to eat and are served on the better tables of the country.

Terminalia platyphylla F. Muell.

Australia. The fruit is oblong, pointed, blue when ripe, and is eaten raw.