Phytelephas-Pinanga (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Phytelephas-Pinanga (Sturtevant, 1919)

Phytelephas macrocarpa Ruiz et Pav.


Tropical America. The seed at first contains a clear, insipid fluid, with which travelers allay their thirst, afterwards this liquor becomes milky and sweet; at last the fruit is almost as hard as ivory. This hard albumen furnishes a vegetable ivory of commerce.

Phyteuma spicatum Linn.

Campanulaceae. SPIKED RAMPION.

Europe. The roots, which are thick and fleshy, were formerly eaten, either boiled or in salad, but the plant is no longer used in England, though still in favor in some parts of continental Europe.

Phytocrene gigantea Wall.


Burma. A watery and drinkable sap flows from sections of the porous stem.

Phytocrene palmata Wall.

Malays. A watery and drinkable sap flows from sections of the porous stem.

Phytolacca acinosa Roxb.

Phytolaccaceae. INDIAN POKE.

Himalayas and China. This plant is cultivated in Jaunsar and Kamaon, India, where its leaves are eaten boiled as a vegetable. In 1852, it was cultivated in Germany as a spinach. This species has been recommended in France as a culinary vegetable but it does not appear to have met with much success. Its leaves cooked as spinach and its young shoots as asparagus were both said to possess an excellent flavor.

Phytolacca decandra Linn.


Originally from North America, this species has been distributed throughout Mexico Brazil, the Sandwich Islands and the region of the Mediterranean, even to Switzerland. It is occasionally used as a vegetable, and Barton says the young shoots are brought in great abundance to the Philadelphia market as a table vegetable. In Louisiana, says Rafinesque, it is called chou-gras and the leaves are eaten boiled in soup.

Phytolacca octandra Linn.


Guiana and Jamaica. From this species comes a palatable, wholesome green. It is cultivated in most kitchen gardens in Jamaica. In Mexico, it is called verbachina. In China, it is an edible plant.

Picea excelsa Link.


Norway, Russia and the mountainous parts of Europe. The spray is used in making beer.

Picea nigra Link.


North America. Great quantities of spruce beer are made from the new shoots.

Picraena excelsa Lindl.


West Indies. This tree yields the bitter wood known as Jamaica quassia. Brewers are said to use the chips as a substitute for hops.

Picridium vulgare Desf.


Europe and the Mediterranean region. This salad plant is cultivated in Italian gardens, where it is much esteemed. It is also used somewhat in France and was introduced into England in 1882. It is also of recent introduction into French culture. In the United States, the species is noted by Burr, 1863. The young leaves and the roots are eaten.

Picris echioides Linn.

Compositae. OX-TONGUE.

Europe and north Africa. Johnson says this plant has been used as a potherb when in the young state.

Picris hieracioides Linn.

Temperate Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The plant is used as a potherb.

Pimenta officinalis Lindl.


West Indies. The allspice tree is cultivated in the West Indies, where it is common. The allspice, or pimento, berries of commerce are of the size of a small pea and in order are supposed to resemble a combination of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. This tree. is also cultivated now in the East Indies. The seeds are used as a condiment.

Pimpinella anisum Linn.

Umbelliferae. ANISE.

Greece and Egypt. Anison was known to the ancient Greeks. Dioscorides says the best came from Crete, the next best from Egypt. It is also mentioned by Theophrastus. Pliny, in the first century, says "anesum, green or dry, is desirable in all seasonings or sauces." The seeds, he says, are sprinkled in the under crust of bread and are used for flavoring wine. He quotes Pythagoras as praising it whether raw or cooked. Palladius, in the beginning of the third century, gives directions for its sowing. Charlemagne, in the ninth century, commanded that anise should be sown on the imperial farms in Germany. Anise is mentioned also by Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century. It seems to have been grown in England as a potherb prior to 1542, as Boore, in his Dyetary of Helth, printed in that year, says of it and fennel, "These herbes be seldom used but theyr seedes be greatly occupyde." Ruellius records anise in France in 1536 and gives the common name as Roman fennel, the name Albertus Magnus used in the thirteenth century. It is classed among culinary herbs by McMahon, 1806.

In the seventeenth century, Quintyne records the use of the leaves in salads. The seeds now serve to flavor various liquors; in Italy, they appear in diverse pastries; in Germany they are put into bread; in England, in special bread, in rye bread and even in cheese. In Malta, localities in Spain, France, southern Italy, Germany and Russia the plant is grown on a large scale for the seed, which also enters commerce in northern India and Chile. The plant is indigenous to Asia Minor, the Greek islands and Egypt but is nowhere to be found undoubtedly growing wild. There is no indication of its having formed varieties under cultivation, except that Bauhin records one sort having rounder and smaller seeds than the common variety.

Pinanga dicksonii Blume.


East Indies. This is a wild species, the nuts of which are utilized by the poorer classes as a substitute for the betel-nut.