Cassia-Celtis (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Cassia-Celtis (Sturtevant, 1919)

Cassia auriculata Linn.

Leguminosae. CASSIA.

East Indies. In some parts of the country, a spirituous liquor is prepared by adding the bruised bark to a solution of molasses and allowing the mixture to ferment.

Cassia fistula Linn.

Tropical Asia. This handsome tree has been introduced into the West Indies and northern Africa, whence its-pods are imported for use in medicine. In Mysore, stalks of it are put in the ground and worshipped. It is classed by Unger as among the little-used vegetable foods, the pulp apparently being eaten. This pulp about the seeds is, however, a strong purgative.

Cassia occidentalis Linn.


Cosmopolitan tropics. Rafinesque says the pods of this plant are long, with many seeds, which the countrymen use instead of coffee. It is found in tropical and subtropical America and in both Indies. It has been carried to the Philippines, and its seeds, while tender, are eaten by boys. Naturalized in the Mauritius, the natives use the roasted seeds as a substitute for coffee. Livingstone found the seeds used as coffee in interior Africa.

Cassia sophera Linn.


Old World tropics. This plant is said by Unger to be used as a vegetable in Amboina.

Cassytha cuscutiformis (?)


The white drupes of this north Australian species are edible. The plants are semi-parasitical and are often called dodder-laurel.

Cassytha filiformis Linn.

Cosmopolitan tropics. The plant is put as a seasoning into buttermilk and is much used for this purpose by the Brahmans in southern India. In Yemen, its berries are eaten by boys.

Castanea dentata Borkh.

Cupuliferae (Fagaceae). AMERICAN CHESTNUT.

Southward from Maine as far as Florida and westward as far as Michigan but not in the prairie regions. Chestnuts were mixed with pottage by the Indians of New England and they now appear in season in all our markets and are sold roasted on the streets of our cities. The American variety bears smaller and sweeter nuts than the European.

Castanea pumila Mill.


Southern United States. Pursh l says the nuts are sweet and delicious; Vasey, that they are not comparable to those of C. dentata but are eaten by children.

Castanea sativa Mill.


Europe, Japan and North America. The native country of the chestnut is given by Targioni-Tozzetti as the south of Europe from Spain to Caucasus; Pickering says, eastern Asia. Other writers say it was first introduced into Europe from Sardis in Asia Minor; it is called Sardinian balanos by Dioscorides and Dios balanos by Theophrastus. It is evident from the writings of Virgil that chestnuts were abundant in Italy in his time. There are now many varieties cultivated. Chestnuts which bear nuts of a very large size are grown in Madeira. In places, chestnuts form the usual food of the common people, as in the Apennine mountains of Italy, in Savoy and the south of France. They are used not only boiled and roasted but also in puddings, cakes and bread. Chestnuts afford a great part of the food of the peasants in the mountains of Madeira. In Sicily, chestnuts afford the poorer class of people their principal food in some parts of the isle; bread and puddings are made of the flour. In Tuscany, they are ground into flour and chiefly used in the form of porridge or pudding. In the coffeehouses of Lucca, Peseta and Pistoja, pates, muffins, tarts and other articles are made of chestnuts and are considered delicious. In Morea, chestnuts now form the principal food of the people for the whole year. Xenophon states that the children of the Persian nobility were fattened on chestnuts. In the valleys inhabited by the Waldenses, in the Cevennes and in a great part of Spain, the chestnut furnishes nutriment for the common people. Charlemagne commended the propagation of chestnuts to his people. In modern Europe, only the fruits of cultivated varieties are considered suitable for food. This species is enumerated by Thunberg n as among the edible plants of Japan.

Castanospermum australe A. Cunn. & Eraser.


Australia. Eraser says the fruit is eaten by the natives on all occasions and when roasted has the flavor of a Spanish chestnut. Europeans, from necessity, have subsisted on the fruit for two days, the raw fruit griping but the roasted being innoxious.

Catesbaea spinosa Linn.


A shrub of the West, Indies. The fruit is yellow, pulpy and of an agreeable taste.

Catha edulis Forsk.

Celastraceae. ARABIAN TEA. KAT.

A shrub of tropical Africa. The leaves are used by the Arabs in the preparation of a beverage possessing properties analogous to those of tea and coffee. Large quantities of twigs with the leaves attached are annually brought to Aden from the interior. The shrub is called by the natives cafta. Prior to the introduction of coffee, says Pickering, the use of kat was established in Yemen by Alt Schadheli ben Omar. Various virtues are attributed to the leaves which are eaten with avidity by the Arabs.

Caucalis anthriscus Huds.

Umbelliferae. HEDGE PARSLEY.

Europe. Wilkinson says this is the anthriscum of Pliny, now called in Arabic gezzer e'shaytan, and that it is esculent.

Caucalis daucoides Linn.


Europe and temperate Asia. Gerarde calls this plant bastard parsley and hen's foot. It is the sesslis of the Egyptians. It was called a potherb by Dioscorides and Pliny, and Galen says it is pickled for salads in winter.

Caulanthus crassicaulis S. Wats.

Cruciferae. WILD CABBAGE.

Western regions of America. It is sometimes used as a food, says Rothrock, when a better substitute cannot be found.

Cavendishia sp. ?

Vacciniaceae (Ericaceae).

Frigid regions of the Andes of Peru. This is a tall, evergreen shrub with pink, edible berries the size of a cherry.

Ceanothus americanus Linn.


North America. The leaves were used as a substitute for tea during the American Revolution.

Cecropia peltata Linn.


American tropics. The young buds are eaten as a potherb.

Cedrela odorata Linn.


South America. Smith says, in China the leaves of this tree are eaten in the spring when quite tender.

Cedronella cana Hook.


Mexico. This pretty and very fragrant plant is useful for putting in a claret cup.

Cedrus libani Barrel.

Coniferae (Pinaceae). CEDAR OF LEBANON.

Asia Minor, Syria, Afghanistan, Himalayan region and Algeria. A kind of manna was anciently collected from this tree.

Celastrus macrocarpus Ruiz & Pav.

Celastraceae. STAFF TREE.

Peru. It has savory, alimentary buds. The seeds yield an edible oil.

Celastrus scandens Linn.


Northern North America. The Chippewa Indians use the tender branches. The plant has a thick bark which is sweetish and palatable when boiled.

Celosia argentea Linn.


Cosmopolitan tropics. In China, this plant is a troublesome weed in flax fields but is gathered and consumed as a vegetable. In France, it is grown in flower gardens.

Celosia trigyna Linn.

Tropical Africa. According to Grant, this plant is eaten as a potherb.

Celtis australis Linn.


Europe, temperate Asia and East Indies. The European nettle is a native of Barbary and is grown as a shade tree in the south of France and Italy. Dr. Hogg considers it to be the lote tree of the ancients, "lotos to dendron" of Dioscorides and Theophrastus; Sibthorp and Stackhouse are of the same opinion. The fruit is about the size of a small cherry, yellow, dark brown or black. The modern Greeks are very fond of the fruits; they are also eaten in Spain. They are called in Greece honeyberries and are insipidly sweet. In India, Brandis says a large, blackish or purple kind is called roku on the Sutlej; a smaller yellow or orange kind choku.

Celtis occidentalis Linn.


Southern and Western United States. This celtis is a fine forest tree. The fruits are sweet and edible.

Celtis tala Gill.

Mexico. This is the cranjero or cranxero of the Mexicans. The berries of this shrub are of the size of small peas, oval, orange-yellow and somewhat edible though astringent.