Pennisetum-Persea (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Pennisetum-Persea (Sturtevant, 1919)

Pennisetum dasystachyum Desv.


Guiana. Earth, in Travels in Northern Africa, says, at Agades, the slaves were busy collecting and pounding the seeds of the karengia, or uzak, which constitutes a great part of their food. Livingstone says the seeds are collected regularly by the slaves over a large portion of central Africa and are used as food.

Pennisetum typhoideum Rich.


Tropics. This grass is supposed by Pickering to be a native of tropical America. It is extensively cultivated about Bombay and forms a very important article of food to the natives. In Africa, Livingstone found it cultivated in great quantities as food for man. This species is cultivated in many varieties in India, where it is a native. Drury says it is much cultivated in Coromandel, and that the grain is a very essential article of diet among the natives of the northern Circars. The seeds, says Unger, constitute the principal article of food for the negroes in various parts of Africa. Four varieties are cultivated by the native farmers of Bengal who eat the grain and feed their cattle with the straw.

Pentaclethra macrophylla Benth.


Tropical Africa. A tree, known in Gabun as owala and in the Eboo country as opachalo. The seeds are eaten by the natives, who also extract a limpid oil from them.

Pentadesma butyracea Sabine.


Tropical Africa. The fruit is eaten. The yellow, greasy juice, which flows from the fruit when it is cut, is mixed by the inhabitants of Sierra Leone with their food but is not used by Europeans on account of the strong, turpentine flavor.

Pentatropis cynanchoides R. Br.


Abyssinia, Persia and northwest India. Its follicles are eaten.

Peplis portula Linn.

Lythrarieae. WATER PURSLANE.

Europe and adjoining Asia. This plant is mentioned by Theophrastus as cultivated, by Dioscorides as esculent; it is mentioned also by Pliny, Varro and Columella. About Athens, it is eaten in salads.

Pereskia aculeata Mill.


West Indies. The fruit is yellow, edible, pleasant to the taste and is used in the West Indies for preserving.

Pereskia bleo DC.

Mexico and New Granada. The leaves are eaten as a salad in Panama and are called bleo by the natives.

Pergularia edulis Thunb.


South Africa. The young leaves are eaten as a potherb in Japan.

Perilla arguta Benth.


China and Japan. An infusion of this plant is used, says Mueller, to impart to table vegetables and other substances a deep red color. The plant is an inmate of French flower gardens.

Periploca aphylla Decne.


Northwest India, Afghanistan, south Persia, Arabia and Egypt. The flower-buds, says Brandis, are sweet and are eaten, raw or cooked, as a vegetable.

Persea gratissima Gaertn. f.


A tree of tropical America. The avocado has been naturalized on the islands of Bourbon and Mauritius since 1758. In Brazil, it is one of the most highly-prized fruits. The fruit is like a large pear, with a green, leathery rind and a tender, juicy flesh which incloses a hard nut. The flesh, made into a sauce with citron juice and sugar, has a delightful taste. In itself, the flesh is insipid but tender and soft, tasting like artichokes. Moritz Wagner says it may be called vegetable butter as it melts upon the tongue. Arruda says the fruit is very pleasant and that there are in Brazil two varieties, one of which is called cayenne. Morelet says the variety in Central America called avocate is a pulpy fruit with a thin, smooth, leathery skin of a green color, spotted with red, resembling much a large pear. It contains a large, oval stone, which, when the fruit ripens and is ready to eat, becomes loose and rattles in its center. The pulp is of a delicate coffee color, unctuous, without odor, resembles fresh butter and is eaten with a spoon. This fruit is rarely palatable at first to the stranger, but it finally recommends itself by its wonderfully delicate, agreeable and peculiar flavor. The second variety is called by the Indians omtchon. It differs from the first by the contraction of the part nearest the stem, by its sharp, conic base, by its thick, wrinkled, light green skin and by the tenacity with which the skin adheres to the pulp. A third kind is also known, called anison. It is not as highly esteemed as the others and has a very strong, peculiar odor. In Jamaica, says Long, there are two species, the green and the red, the latter preferred, but the quality of the fruit varies; that produced in a wild state is small and often bitter. The pulp is in universal esteem and is called by some vegetable marrow and is generally eaten with sugar and lime juice or pepper and salt. It has a delicate, rich flavor. Lunan says few people relish the fruit at first but it soon becomes agreeable. In an immature state, the fruit is very dangerous. It is cultivated to a limited extent in south Florida.