Potentilla-Pringlea (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Potentilla-Pringlea (Sturtevant, 1919)

Potentilla anserina Linn.


Temperate regions. In some of the Hebrides, says Lightfoot, the roots have often supported the inhabitants for months together. Boiled or roasted, they taste like parsnips.

Potentilla fruticosa Linn.


North temperate regions. This plant is called in Siberia kouril-skoi-tchai or Kurile tea. The leaves are used by peasants and Tartars as a tea.

Potentilla rupestris Linn.


Europe and northern Asia. This plant is called by the Mongols khaltalsa and is used as a substitute for tea, as also in Siberia where it is called polvoi-tchai or prairie tea.

Potentilla tormentilla Neck.


Northern Asia and Europe. Johnson [1] says by long boiling the tannin of the root is converted into gum and the roots so treated have occasionally been eaten in times of scarcity.

  1. Johnson, C.P., Useful Pls. of Gt Brit., 93. 1862.

Poterium sanguisorba Linn.

Rosaceae. BURNET.

North temperate regions. The young and tender leaves of burnet taste somewhat like a green cucumber and are employed in salads. It is rarely cultivated in the gardens but occurs in all our books on gardening. Three varieties are described by Burr: the Smooth-leaved, the Hairy-leaved and the Large-seeded. This latter he deems but a seminal variation and a subvariety only. The following synonymy seems clear:


  • Pimpinella sanguisorba minor laevis. Bauh. Phytopin. 282. 1596.
  • Poterium sanguisorba, var. B. Linn. Sp. 1411. Smooth-leaved. Burr 319. 1863.


  • Sanguisorba minor. Fuch. 790. 1542.
  • Pimpinella and Bipinelia. Ang. Burnet Advers. 320. 1570; Lob; Obs. 412. 1576; ic. 1:718. 1591.
  • Small or Garden Pimpernell. Lyte's Dod. 152. 1586.
  • Pimpinella minor. Lugd. 1087. 1587.
  • Pimpinella sanguisorba minor hirsuta. Bauh. Phytopin. 282. 1596.
  • Pimpinella vulgaris sive minor. Ray 401. 1686.
  • Poterium sanguisorba. Linn. Sp. 1411.
  • Hairy-leaved Burnet. Burr 319. 1863.

The garden culture of burnet is implied in Lyte's Dodoens' Herball,[1] 1586. Ray, however, a hundred years later, does not mention its culture. In 1693, Quintyne grew it in the royal vegetable garden in France, and, in 1726, Townsend says it is "a good plant for Sallads." Mawe, 1778, says it has long been cultivated as a salad plant; while Bryant, 1783, says it is so frequently cultivated in gardens that to describe it would be unnecessary. Burnet is recorded for American gardens in 1832 and it was then doubtless, a long-grown plant. It is now grown in the Mauritius.

  1. Dodoens Herb., 152. 1586. Lyte Ed.

Pourouma cecropiaefolia Mart.


Brazil. This is a cultivated plant of the Amazon, says Bates, bearing a round, juicy berry, in large bunches and resembling grapes in taste.

Pouzolzia viminea Wedd.


East Indies. A small shrub the leaves of which are eaten in Sikkim.

Prangos pabularia Lindl.

Umbelliferae. PRANGOS.

Himalayan region. Burnes says this plant is greedily cropped by sheep and is eaten even by his fellow travelers, a statement confirmed by Kinnier.

Premna integrifolia Linn.

Verbenaceae. HEADACHE TREE.

East Indies and Malay. Ainslie says the leaves are eaten by the inhabitants of the Coromandel coast.

Premna latifolia Roxb.

East Indies. The leaves have a strong but not disagreeable odor and are eaten by the natives in their curries.

Primula officinalis Jacq.

Primulaceae. PRIMROSE.

Europe and Asia Minor. The leaves are eaten in salads.

Primula vulgaris Huds.


Europe and adjoining Asia. The flowers are picked when first open and fermented with water and sugar. The liquor, when, well prepared, is pleasant in flavor and very intoxicating, resembling in taste some of the sweet wines of the south of France. In many parts of England, primrose flowers are collected in large quantities for this purpose. The leaves also are wholesome and may be eaten as a salad or boiled as a green potherb.

Pringlea antiscorbutica R. Br.


Antarctics. This plant was first discovered by Captain Cook and was subsequently observed by Hooker on Kerguelen's Land, a cold, humid, barren, volcanic rock of the southern ocean. Its rootstocks are from three to four feet long and lie close to the ground, bearing at their extremities large heads of leaves closely resembling cabbages. Ross says the root tastes like horseradish, and the young leaves or hearts resemble in flavor coarse mustard and cress. For 130 days his crews required no fresh vegetables but this.