Sclerocarya-Sechium (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Sclerocarya-Sechium (Sturtevant, 1919)

Sclerocarya birroea Hochst.


Eastern equatorial Africa. This plant is a forest tree called m'ckoowee on the upper Nile. The kernels of the fruit, whose unripe sarcocarp is apple-scented, are milky and are eaten like ground nuts. This species affords to the natives of Abyssinia an edible kernel, while its fruits are employed in Senegal in the preparation of an alcoholic drink.

Sclerocarya caffra Sond.

South Africa. This species is known on the Zambezi as mooroola, and the seeds are eaten by the natives.

Scolymus grandiflorus Desf.


Egypt. The Arabs eat the stalks, both raw and boiled.

Scolymus hispanicus Linn.


Mediterranean region. The root of the wild plant is collected and is used as a salsify. According to Pickering, this plant is mentioned by Theophrastus, who says, "its edible root, becoming milky;" by Dioscorides, who says "the young plant, eaten as greens;" by Sibthorp, as eaten in Greece; and by Clusius who says "the root and young plant, eaten in Spain." This plant is supposed to be the skolumus and leimonia of Theophrastus, 322 B. C.; it is the scolymus of Pliny, A. D. 79, recorded as a food plant. The wild plant was seen in Portugal and Spain by Clusius in 1576. The plant was described by Gerarde in England, 1597, but he does not appear to have grown it. It was in the botanic gardens at Oxford in 1658 but receives only a quoted mention from Clusius by Ray in 1686. The vegetable appears not to have been in English culture in 1778, nor in 1807, and, in 1869, it is recorded as a new vegetable. In 1597, Gerarde mentions its culture in Holland, and, in 1616, Dodonaeus says it was planted in Belgian gardens. In France, in 1882, it is said not to be under culture, but that its long, fleshy root is used as a kitchen vegetable in Provence and Languedoc. In 1883, it is included among kitchen esculents by Vilmorin. It is recorded by Burr for American gardens in 1863, and its seed was offered in American seed catalogs of 1882, perhaps a few years earlier.

Scolymus maculatus Linn.


Mediterranean region. This plant is thought by Unger to be the skolumos of Dioscorides. The young leaves are eaten as a spinach. Fraas says the young leaves are eaten in Greece.

Scoparia dulcis Linn.

Scrophulariaceae. SWEET BROOM.

Peru and neighboring tropical America. The plant is called in Brazil basourinha or vacourinha.3 In the Philippines, it is sometimes used as a substitute for tea and is called in Tagalo chachachachan^

Scorpiurus sp.?

Leguminosae. CATERPILLARS.

A strange taste causes various species of Scorpiurus to be included among garden vegetables, the caterpillar-like forms of the seed pods being used as salad-garnishing by those fond of practical jokes. As a vegetable their flavor is very indifferent. The species enumerated by Vilmorin are Scorpiurus vermiculata Linn., the common caterpillar; S. muricata Linn., the prickly caterpillar; S. sulcata Linn., the furrowed caterpillar; and S. subvillosa Linn., the hairy caterpillar. The latter species is figured by Dodonaeus, 1616, and is said even then to be sometimes grown in gardens. They are all native to southern Europe.

Scorzonera crocifolia Sibth. & Sm.


Greece. The leaves, according to Heldreich, are used for a favorite salad and spinach.

Scorzonera deliciosa Guss.

Sicily. This species is in most extensive cultivation in Sicily on account of its sweet roots of very grateful flavor. It is considered by Mueller equal, if not superior, in its culinary use to the allied salsify.

Scorzonera hispanica Linn.


Central and southern Europe. The slimy, sweetish roots have gained considerably by cultivation. The roots are long, black and tapering and are eaten, boiled or stewed, after soaking in water to extract the bitter taste. This plant was not mentioned by Matthiolus, 1554, but, in 1570, was described as a new plant, called by the Spaniards scurzonera or scorzonera. In 1576, Lobel says the plant was in French, Belgian and English gardens from Spanish seed. Neither Camerarius, 1586, nor Dalechamp, 1587, nor Bauhin, 1596, nor Clusius, 1601, indicates it as a cultivated plant, and Gerarde, 1597, calls it a stranger in England but growing in his garden. In 1612, Le Jardinier Solitaire calls this salsify the best root which can be grown in gardens. The use of the root as a garden vegetable is recorded in England by Meager, 1683, Worlidge, 1683, and by Ray, 1686. Quintyne, in France, 1690, calls it "one of our chiefest roots." Its cultivation does not, therefore, extend back to the sixteenth century. No varieties are recorded under culture. Black salsify was in American gardens in 1806. It was first known in Spain about the middle of the sixteenth century for its medicinal qualities as a supposed remedy for snake-bite. Black salsify was introduced into France from Spain about the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Scorzonera parviflora Jacq.

Europe, northern and western Asia. This plant is called by the Kirghis idschelik and is eaten as greens.

Scorzonera tuberosa Pall.

Turkestan. This species yields an edible root.

Scrophularia aquatica Linn.


Europe and adjoining Asia. In France, this plant is called herbe du siege, according to Burnett, from its roots having been eaten by the garrison of Rochelle during the siege in 1628.

Scrophularia frigida Boiss.

Persia. According to Haussknecht, this species yields a saccharine exudation in Persia.

Secale cereale Linn.

Gramineae. RYE.

Orient. Rye, according to Karl Koch, is found wild in the mountains of the Crimea. De Candolle thinks he has discovered rye in a wild state in Australia, and a species seems to have existed in the Bronze Age of Europe, as shown by the lacustrine debris of Switzerland. Kotzebur is said to have found it growing wild near Fort Ross, North America, where it is gathered by the Indians. Syria, Armenia, Candia and south Russia have all been indicated as the native locality of rye. Pickering says it is native in northeastern Europe and the adjoining portions of Asia. Rye is now found in Norway, at 67° north, but its cultivation is usually given as extending between 50° and 60° north in Europe and Asia and in America between 40° and 50° north. Fraser found rye in large fields at an elevation of 11405 feet near the temple of Milun in the Himalayas. Neither the people of ancient India nor the Egyptians were acquainted with rye. The Greeks received rye from Thrace and Macedonia. Pliny mentions its cultivation at the foot of the Alps and thought the grain detestable and good only to appease extreme hunger. Rye early reached northeastern America. In 1606, L'Escarbot sowed rye at Port Royal, Nova Scotia, and, in 1610, it was growing in Champlain's garden at Quebec. Rye is mentioned in New England, 1629-1633, by Wood. Rye is less variable than other cultivated plants and there are but few varieties.

Sechium edule Sw.

Cucurbitaceae. CHAYOTE.

West Indies. This species is cultivated in tropical America, the West Indies and Madeira for its fruit, which is about four inches long, three inches in diameter, of a green color outside and white within. It is used as a vegetable. The roots of the old vine, on being boiled, are farinaceous and wholesome, and the seeds are very good boiled and fried in butter. It is called chocho. In South America, it is known as choko and chayote and the fruit is used. In Mexico, chayote was cultivated by the Aztecs, who called it chayotli. In Madeira, the unripe fruit is eaten boiled and called chocho. In the London market, where it is sent, it is known under the name, chayote.