Ruellia-Ruta (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Ruellia-Ruta (Sturtevant, 1919)

Ruellia tuberosa Linn.


Jamaica. Browne says the plant has oblong, fleshy roots, which are frequently used among the negroes. These, when fresh, have a little pungency, which soon wears upon the palate but when dry they are quite insipid.

Rumex abyssinicus Jacq.


Eastern equatorial Africa. Grant says the people of Fipa are said to eat its leaves.

Rumex acetosa Linn.


Europe and northern Asia. This plant was formerly cultivated in gardens for its leaves, which were used in Britain as spinach or in salads, and, in the time of Henry VIII, it was held in great repute. Sorrel is mentioned in nearly all of the earlier botanies as under culture in England; Gerarde, 1597, also figures the blistered variety. It is spoken of by nearly all the later writers on garden subjects and was in common use in 1807; but, in 1874, is said to have been for many years entirely discarded, the French sorrel having usurped its place. The common sorrel, says Mclntosh, has been cultivated from time immemorial as a spinach and salad plant. Johnson says it is still used to a great extent for salads in France. In Ireland, it is largely consumed by the peasantry. Sorrel seems to be particularly relished by the Hebrideans. The Laplanders boil a large quantity of the leaves in water and mix the juice, when cold, in the milk of their reindeer, which they esteem an agreeable and wholesome food. In Scandinavia, the plant has been used in times of scarcity to put into bread. It is mentioned as an inmate of American gardens by McMahon, 1806, and Bridgeman, 1832. It is mentioned by Dall among the edible and useful plants of Kotzebue Sound. In China it is eaten.

Rumex alpinus Linn.


Europe and the Caucasus. This species is sometimes grown in France but does not appear to have entered American culture. It was grown in England by Gerarde in 1597 for use in "physicke" and is described as cultivated there in Miller's Dictionary, 1807. It is eaten as an herb in China.

Rumex crispus Linn.


Europe and now naturalized in northeastern America. The leaves of this weed make a spinach highly esteemed by some.

Rumex hydrolapathum Huds.


Europe and Asia. This sorrel is eaten in China.

Rumex hymenosepalus Torr.


Western North America. The leaves are occasionally used as a potherb. In southern California, this species is extensively used as a substitute for cultivated rhubarb.

Rumex longifolius H. B. & K.

South America. The acid leaves, immediately they appear above the ground and, indeed, throughout the summer, are eaten by the Eskimos of the West, by handfuls as an antiscorbutic.

Rumex luxurians Linn.

South Africa. This species serves as a culinary sorrel.

Rumex montanus Desf.


Europe. This species is cultivated in France and is much used as a salad. It is an important article of diet in the extreme north of Europe. The Norwegians eat the leaves with milk or mixed with meal and baked. In India, this sorrel is used in soups and for imparting a peculiarly fine flavor to omelets. This species occurs in French gardens under two types, the green-leaved and the crimped-leaved. In 1863, Burr describes French sorrel among American garden esculents. In India, it is said by Firminger to be an excellent ingredient of soups and imparts a peculiarly fine flavor to omelets.

Rumex patientia Linn.


Southern Europe and the Orient and formerly common in gardens as a spinach plant. This plant was introduced into England in 1573. Gerarde says "it is an excellent, wholesome pot-herbe." The name monk's rhubarb or rhabarbarum monachorum of Tragus, 1552, indicates its presence in the gardens of the monasteries. It was called patientia by Parkinson, 1640, and is noted by Turner, 1538, as having in England the common name of patience. It was included among America esculents by McMahon, 1806, and by Bridgeman, 1832. Pallas says the young leaves are eaten with avidity by the Greeks of the Crimea. It was known to Pliny, who calls it Rumex sativus.

Rumex sanguineus Linn.


Europe and naturalized in eastern North America. This weed of waste and cultivated grounds of America is mentioned, under the name bloodwort, by Josselyn, about the middle of the seventeenth century, as introduced into America. As Gerarde, 1630, says, it was sown in his time for a potherb in most gardens and as Ray,8 1686, also says, it was planted in gardens as a vegetable, we may believe that it was in former use in colonial gardens in Massachusetts. Its use is as a spinach, and for this purpose the leaves of the wild plant are occasionally collected at the present time.

Rumex scutatus Linn.


Europe and the Orient and said to have been introduced into England in 1596. This species is mentioned in England by Gerarde 9 in 1597, but he does not indicate its general cultivation; he calls it oxalis franca seu romana. It is more acid than the preceding species and has displaced it largely from English culture. This species is mentioned by many of the early botanists and is under extensive culture in continental Europe. It was formerly cultivated in English gardens as a spinach and is still grown extensively on the continent of Europe for this purpose. The leaves are also used as a salad. Garden sorrel was mentioned among American garden products by McMahon, 1806, and by Bridgeman, 1832. The seed is still offered by some of our seedsmen who recommend it under the name garden sorrel.

Rumex vesicarius Linn.


South Europe, middle Asia and north Africa. This species is used as a sorrel.

Ruscus aculeatus Linn.


Europe and the Orient. The tender shoots are eaten in the spring by the poor in Europe as an asparagus.

Ruta graveolens Linn.


Mediterranean countries and cultivated in gardens. Formerly the English as well as the Germans and Dutch used the green leaves of rue in their ragouts. The leaves are also used as a pickle. The Italians are said to eat the leaves in salads. It was introduced into Britain before 1562. Rue is included among American garden medicinal plants by McMahon, 1806, and by succeeding writers on American gardening.