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Onopordon-Orchis (Sturtevant, 1919)

Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Onopordon-Orchis (Sturtevant, 1919)

Onopordon acanthium Linn.


Europe, north Africa, the Orient and naturalized in eastern North America. The receptacles of the flowers, says Lightfoot, and the tender stalks, peeled and boiled, may be eaten in the same manner as artichokes and cardoons. Johnson says an oil expressed from the seeds has been used for culinary purposes.

Opuntia camanchica Engelm. & Bigel.


American Southwest. The fruit is much eaten by the Indians, and the leases are roasted. It has very sweet, juicy pulp.

Opuntia engelmanni Salm-Dyck.


American Southwest. The fruit is palatable and the leaves are roasted by the Indians. The large, yellowish or purple fruit is of a pleasant taste and is much relished by the inhabitants of California.

Opuntia rafinesquei Engelm.


Mississippi Valley, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and north to Wisconsin, east to Kentucky and south to Louisiana and Texas. The fruit is one and one-half to two inches long, less than half that in diameter, naked by the disappearance of the bristles, and edible, somewhat acid or sweetish. The leaves are roasted and eaten by the Indians, as is also the fruit.

Opuntia tuna Mill.


Southern California, Mexico, New Granada, Ecuador and the West Indies. The tuna is cultivated in the Los Angeles Valley, California, for its fruit and forms hedges 15 or 20 feet high. The Indians and Mexicans are very fond of the fruit, which serves them for food during its season. The fruit of the tuna, which grew wild, says Prescott, had to satisfy at times the cravings of appetite of the Spaniards under Cortez in their march upon Mexico in 1519. On the lava slopes of Mt. Etna, the fruit, according to J. Smith, is collected and sold in the markets, forming an extensive article of food.

Opuntia vulgaris Mill.


Central America, northward to Georgia, southward to Peru and introduced into southern Europe where it has been cultivated for a considerable period. About the close of the last century, the fleet of Admiral Collingwood took a stock of the leaves of this plant, salted, among their provisions from Malta. In Sicily, this cactus flourishes on the bare lavas. The figs are very juicy, sweet, wholesome and refreshing. A variety with dark red fruit is cultivated at Catania and is much esteemed. Hogg seems to think that this is the kaktus of Theophrastus, now called in Athens the Arabian fig, arabosuke, but in this he is mistaken.

Orchis coriophora Linn.

Orchideae. BUG ORCHIS.

Europe and adjoining Asia. In the Levant, its dried root is cooked and eaten and is also used to furnish salep.

Orchis longicruris Link.

Mediterranean region. This orchid furnishes a portion of the salep of commerce.

Orchis mascula Linn.


Europe and Asia Minor. The spotted orchis yields part of the inferior English salep. In the Peloponnesus, its dried root is cooked and eaten.

Orchis militaris Linn.

North Asia and Europe. This orchid produces a starchy, mucilaginous substance known as salep, obtained by macerating the pulp in water.

Orchis morio Linn.


Europe and adjoining Asia. In the Levant, the dried root is cooked and eaten. This is one of the species which furnishes salep to commerce.

Orchis pyramidalis Linn.

Europe and north Africa. This is one of the species used to furnish salep to commerce.

Orchis ustulata Linn.

Europe. This is one of the species which furnish salep to commerce. Large quantities of salep are prepared in, Macedonia and Greece, but the finest comes from Turkey. In the Himalayas and Kashmir regions, many species of bulbous-rooted orchids yield salep, which is largely used as food by the natives.