Chrysanthemum-Cicer (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Chrysanthemum-Cicer (Sturtevant, 1919)

Chrysanthemum balsamita Linn.


West Mediterranean countries. This plant is common in every cottage garden in England, where it was introduced in 1568. The leaves possess a strong, balsamic odor and are sometimes put in salads but it has ceased to be grown for culinary purposes and even in France is only occasionally used. The leaves were formerly used in England to flavor ale and negus, hence the name alecost. In the United States, it is mentioned by Burr, 1863, who names one variety. It is grown in Constantinople.

Chrysanthemum leucanthemum Linn. MARGUERITE. OX-EYE DAISY. WHITE DAISY. WHITEWEED.

Europe. Johnson says the leaves may be eaten as salad. The plant is the well-known flower of our fields, where it has become naturalized from Europe.

Chrysanthemum segetum Linn.


Europe, north Africa and western Asia. The stalks and leaves, "as Dioscorides saith, are eaten as other pot herbes are." In northern Japan and China, Miss Bird describes a cultivated form of chrysanthemum as occurring frequently in patches and says the petals are partially boiled and are eaten with vinegar as a dainty.

Chrysobalanus ellipticus Soland.

Rosaceae. COCO PLUM.

African tropics. This plant bears a damson-sized fruit with a black, thin skin and is eaten.

Chrysobalanus icaco Linn.


African and American tropics. This tree-like shrub, with its fruit similar to the damson, grows wild as well as cultivated in the forests along the shores of South America and in Florida. Browne says in Jamaica the fruit is perfectly insipid but contains a large nut inclosing a kernel of very delicious flavor. The fruits in the West Indies, prepared with sugar, form a favorite conserve with the Spanish colonists, and large quantities are annually exported from Cuba. On the African coast it occurs from the Senegal to the Congo. The fruit is eaten by the natives of Angola and, according to Montiero, is like a round, black-purple plum, tasteless and astringent. Sabine says: "the fruit is about the size of an Orleans plum but is rounder, of a yellow color, with a flesh soft and juicy, the flavor having much resemblance to that of noyau."

Chrysophyllum africanum A. DC.


African tropics. This is a tall tree of Sierra Leone, whose fruit is in request.

Chrysophyllum argenteum Jacq.

Martinique. The fruit, the size of a plum, contains a soft, bluish, edible pulp.

Chrysophyllum cainito Linn.


West Indies This tree has been cultivated from time immemorial in the West Indies but nowhere is found wild. It seems to have been observed by Cieza de Leon in his travels in Peru, 1532-50, and is called caymitos. Lunan says some trees bear fruit with a purple and some with a white skin and pulp, which when soft is like jelly, with milky veins and has a sweet and pleasant taste.

Chrysophyllum glabrum Jacq.

Martinique. The fruit is blue, of the form and size of a small olive and is seldom eaten except by children.

Chrysophyllum michino H. B. & K.

New Granada. The fruit is yellow outside, whitish and clammy inside and is very grateful.

Chrysophyllum microcarpum Sw.

Haiti. The fruit is the size of a gooseberry, of a very sweet, delicious taste.

Chrysophyllum monopyrenum Sw.


West Indies. The fruit is oval and about the size of a Bergamot pear. It contains a white, clammy juice when fresh, which, after being kept a few days, becomes sweet, and delicious. It frequently contains four or five black seeds about the size of pumpkin seeds.

Chrysophyllum obovatum Sabine.

African tropics. The fruit is the size of an apple, with a short apex and is much inferior to the star apple of the West Indies.

Chrysophyllum pruniferum F. Muell.

Australia. The fruit is of a plum-like appearance and is edible.

Chrysophyllum roxburghii G. Don.


Asiatic tropics. The fruit is greedily eaten by the natives. It is the size of a small crab, yellow when ripe, smooth and is greedily eaten although insipid. The pulp is tolerably firm but is exceedingly clammy, adhering to the lips or knife with great tenacity.

Chrysosplenium altemifolium Linn.


Europe, northern Asia and North America. The leaves are eaten as a salad in the Vosges Mountains.

Chrysosplenium oppositifolium Linn.

Europe, northern Asia and East Indies. In some countries, this plant is eaten as a salad.6 The leaves are eaten in salad and soup.

Cicer arietinum Linn.


Europe, Orient and the East Indies. This plant is represented as growing wild in the Caucasus, in Greece and elsewhere; it is also found escaped from cultivation in the fields of middle Europe. The Jews, Greeks and Egyptians cultivated it in ancient times. It is extensively cultivated at the present time in the south of Europe, in the Levant, in Egypt as far as Abyssinia and in India. The seeds vary in size and color in the different varieties. In Paris, they are much used for soups. In India, they are ground into a meal and either eaten in puddings or made into cakes. They are also toasted or parched and made into a sort of comfit. In India, says Wight: "The leaves of the plant secrete an acid which the natives collect by spreading a cloth over night on the plant and wringing out the dew in the morning. They then use it as vinegar or for forming a cooling drink." In 1854, the seed was distributed from the United States Patent Office.

The shape of the unripe seed, which singularly resembles a ram's head, may account for its being regarded as unclean by the Egyptians of the time of Herodotus. It was in common use in ancient Rome and varieties are mentioned by Columella and Pliny, the latter naming the white and black, the Dove of Venus pea, and many kinds differing from each other in size. Albertus Magnus, in the thirteenth century, mentions the red, the white and the black sorts, and this mention of colors is continued by the herbalists of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. The white chick-pea is the sort now generally grown in France, where the dried seeds find large use in soups. The red variety is now extensively grown in eastern countries, and the black sort is described as more curious than useful.