Valeriana-Veronica (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Valeriana-Veronica (Sturtevant, 1919)

Valeriana cornucopiae Linn.


African valerian is a recent introduction into gardens and furnishes in its leaves a salad of excellent quality. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region in grain fields and in waste places. C. Bauhin, 1596, speaks of it as if of recent introduction to botanical gardens in his time; and Clusius, 1601, J. Bauhin, 1651, and Ray, 1686, all describe it. This valerian is not spoken of as under cultivation in Miller's Dictionary, 1807, nor does Don in his Gardener's Dictionary, 1834, speak of any use, although he is usually very ready with such information. In 1841, the Bon Jardinier, in France, refers to it as being a good salad plant. As neither Noisette, 1830, nor Petit, 1826, nor Pirolle, 1824, mentions it, we may assume that it had not entered the vegetable garden at these dates. In 1863, Burr describes African valerian among American garden vegetables, as does Vilmorin in France in 1883, and it is described in England in 1885. No varieties are described, although a purple and a white-flowered form are mentioned by Bauhin as occurring in the wild plant. The one sort now described has pink- or rose-colored flowers.

Valeriana edulis Nutt.


Ohio to Wisconsin and westward. This is the principal edible root among the Indians who inhabit the upper waters of the streams on the western side of the Rocky Mountains. It has a very strong and remarkably peculiar taste and an odor most offensive. The root is large, of a very bright yellow color, is full of nutriment and, to some, the taste is agreeable. The Indians of the Northwest collect the roots in the spring and, after baking, use them as food. From a bitter and somewhat pernicious substance, it is converted by baking into a soft, pulpy mass of sweet taste which is not unwholesome.

Valerianella coronata DC.


Europe and the Orient. In France, this species furnishes a salad.

Valerianella eriocarpa Desv.


Europe and north Africa. This plant is much used in Europe as a substitute for lettuce in the spring and also, when grown in rich soil and of a considerable size, for spinach. This species occurs in gardens in two varieties. It has a lighter green, somewhat longer leaf than the ordinary corn salad, slightly hairy and a little dentate on the borders towards the base. It has the same uses. It is described for American gardens in 1863. Under its common name greese mache, it is noticed in France in 1829 and also as mache d'ltalie in 1824.

Valerianella olitoria Pollich.


This annual plant has been found spontaneous in all temperate Europe as far as 60° north; in southern Europe to the Canary Isles, Madeira and the Azores; in north Africa, Asia Minor and in the region of the Caucasus. This species seems quite variable in nature, and, as long ago as 1623, Bauhin records its variability in size, saying it occurs with narrow, broad and entire leaves. Corn salad is described by Lobel, 1576; Dalechamp, 1587; as also by Camerarius 1588; but with all, as occurring in fields and without mention of culture, although its value as a salad is recognized. In 1597, Gerarde says it has grown in use among the French and Dutch strangers in England, and "hath beene sowen in gardens as a sallad herbe." He figures two varieties. J. Bauhin describes two sorts and gives Tabernaemontanus as a witness that it was found in gardens as well as in fields and vineyards. Ray, 1686, quotes J. Bauhin only; Chabraeus, 1677, describes it as grown in gardens as a salad herb; Worlidge, 1683, Maeger, 1683, Quintyne, 1693 and 1704, Townsend, 1726, Stevenson, 1765, Mawe, 1778, Bryant, 1783, all refer to its culture in England. In France, according to Heuze, the species is spoken of as cultivated by Olivier de Serres and is referred to as if a well-known cultivated salad in Le Jardinier Solitaire, 1612. Corn salad was in American gardens previous to 1806. Vilmorin describes four varieties, which are distinct. All these have blunt leaves. The variety quite frequently distributed in American gardens is that which is figured by the herbalists as having pointed leaves; as, for instance:

  • Phu minimum alterum. Lob. 412. 1576; Dalechamp 1127. 1587.
  • Polypremnum. Dalechamp 554. 1587.
  • Lactuca agnina. Ger. 242. 1597.

The round-leaved form, the mache ronde of Vilmorin, has its type figured by Dodonaeus in his Pemptades, 1616, under the name album olus.

Vangueria madagascariensis J. F. Gmel.


Tropical Africa. The fruit is eaten under the name of voa-vanga. It is the size of an apple and is eaten both raw and roasted but is far from palatable. In Bengal, the fruit is eaten by the natives. At Martinique, it is called tamarind of the Indies; the flavor of its pulp and its color recall the medlar of Europe.

Vangueria spinosa Roxb.

Tropical Asia. The berry is the size of a cherry, succulent and edible.

Vanilla aromatica Sw.

Orchideae. VANILLA.

Tropical America. This species is said to be cultivated in the isles of France and Bourbon. The pods constitute one of the vanillas of commerce.

Vanilla guianensis Splitg.

Tropical America. This species is described as yielding an aromatic fruit.

Vanilla planifolia Andr.


West Indies and Mexico. The best vanilla is the produce of this species but several other South American species are also used. The product is employed very extensively for flavoring.

Vateria indica Linn.

Dipterocarpaceae. DAMMAR.

East Indies. This species is a tree of Ceylon from whose seeds the natives make a kind of bread.

Veitchia joannis H. Wendl.


Fiji Islands. The kernel has a slightly astringent taste but is eaten readily by the natives of Viti, especially the youngsters.



Eastern equatorial Africa. This plant grows in the swamps of the Nile, and its flowers are utilized as a spinach.

Veratrum viride Ait.


North America. Josselyn probably referred to this plant when mentioning a small, round-leafed tobacco as utilized by the New England Indians.

Veronica anagallis Linn.

Scrophulariaceae. WATER SPEEDWELL.

Northern climates. The plant is considered to be antiscorbutic.

Veronica beccabunga Linn.


Northern climates. Lightfoot says of brooklime, "it is esteemed an antiscorbutic and is eaten by some in the spring as a sallet, but it is more bitter and not so agreeable to the palate as watercresses." Loudon says it is used in Britain as a salad.

Veronica officinalis Linn.


Northern climates. The leaves of this species were recommended by Hoffman as a tea substitute, but Withering says it is more astringent and less grateful than tea.