Tragopogon-Trichosanthes (Sturtevant, 1919)

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Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919
Tragopogon-Trichosanthes (Sturtevant, 1919)

Tragopogon crocifolius Linn.


Mediterranean countries. This species is enumerated by Pliny among the esculent plants of Egypt, and Sprengel says the root is edible.

Tragopogon porrifolius Linn.


Mediterranean countries. The roots are long, white and fleshy, tapering like the parsnip but never attaining the same diameter. The roots are used, boiled or fried, and the flavor is mild and sweetish and reminds one of the oyster, whence its name oyster plant. Mclntosh says that, when dressed as asparagus, there is some resemblance in taste and that the flower-stalks, if cut in the spring of the second year before they become hard, and dressed like asparagus, make an excellent dish. The roots, says Burr, thinly sliced, are sometimes used as a salad.

In the thirteenth century, Albertus Magnus describes a wild plant, Oculus porce or flos campi, which commentators identify with the salsify, as having a delectable root, which is eaten, but he makes no mention of cultivation. Salsify is described, but apparently not under kitchen-garden culture, by Matthiolus in 1570 and 1598 9 but it is not mentioned by him in 1558, when he refers to the yellow-flowered species; there is no mention of salsify culture by Camerarius 1586, but, in 1587, Dalechamp says it is planted in gardens. In 1597, Gerarde describes it but apparently as an inmate of the flower garden. In 1612, Le Jardinier Solitaire speaks of salsify as under kitchen-garden culture in France; and Dodonaeus, 1616, J. Bauhin, 1651, and Ray, 1686, refer to it as apparently cultivated. After this period its culture seems to have been quite general as it is referred to in the works on gardening beginning with Quintyne, 1693. McMahon, 1806, includes salsify among American garden esculents, and, in 1822, John Lowell says, "though it has been in our gardens for ten years, it has never been extensively cultivated for the market."

Tragopogon pratensis Linn.


Northwest India, Europe and the adjoining portions of Asia. In 1640, this species was cultivated in gardens in England, as mentioned by Parkinson. Evelyn, in his Acetaria, mentions its cultivation, but this vegetable has now given way to salsify. Light-foot mentions the use of the roots, boiled, and of the spring shoots as greens.

Trapa bispinosa Roxb.

Onagrarieae. SINHARA NUT.

Old World tropics. This species grows abundantly in the lakes about Cashmere and at Wurler lake and is said to yield annually ten million pounds of nuts. These are scooped up from the bottom of the lake in small nets and constitute almost the only food of at least 30,000 persons for five months in the year. When extracted from the shell, they are eaten raw, boiled, roasted, fried, or dressed in various ways after being reduced to flour6 They are also eaten in Lahore.

Trapa cochinchinensis Lour.

Cochin China. The seeds are eaten as are those of the ling.

Trapa incisa Sieb. & Zucc.

Japan. This species is grown in Yezo and is largely used by the Ainus and to some extent by the Japanese for food.

Trapa natans Linn.


Europe and eastern Asia. The Thraceans, according to Pliny, baked bread from the flour of the seeds, and the seeds are thus used even now in some parts of southern Europe and, at Venice, are sold under the name of Jesuit nuts. Grant found trapa nuts on the Victoria Nyanza in Africa, and the Waganda use the four-pronged nuts for food. It is enumerated by Thunberg among the edible plants of Japan. Introduced into America, trapa is said to have become naturalized in the waters of the Concord River, Massachusetts. This water plant is extensively cultivated in China and furnishes, in its strangely-shaped fruits, a staple article of nutriment. It has run into several varieties. Williams says its cultivation is in running water and the nuts are collected in autumn by people in punts or tubs, who look for the ripe ones as they pull themselves through the vines over the surface of the patch. The dried nuts are often ground into a sort of arrowroot flour. The taste of the fresh boiled nuts is like that of new cheese.

Treculia africana Decne.


A tropical African tree called okwa. The nuts contain an edible embryo and are collected by the negroes and ground into meal.

Trianthema portulacastrum Linn.


Tropical Asia. Royle says this plant is used as a potherb in India. Wight says the leaves are sometimes employed as a potherb. Ainslie says it is eaten by the natives; Stewart, that it is a common weed eaten in the Punjab in times of dearth but is apt to produce diarrhea and paralysis.

Tribulus terrestris Linn.

Zygophylleae. LAND CALTROPS.

The unexpanded capsules, reduced to powder and formed into cakes, served as food during a famine in Rajputana, India.

Trichosanthes anguina Linn.


India. The fruit of this plant is a large, greenish-white, club-shaped gourd of the length of a man's arm and about four inches thick. The fruit is eaten sliced and dressed in the manner of French beans. The gourd is commonly cultivated about Bombay and is in very general demand for vegetable curries in Burma. The seed appears in some of the Prussian seed catalogs under the name of melonengurkin. In Central America, it is called serpent cucumber or viper's gourd from the remarkable, snake-like appearance of its fruits, which are frequently six or more feet long, at first striped with different shades of green but ultimately a bright, orange color.

Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn.

Tropical India. Its seed appears for sale in the Erfurt seed catalogs. The unripe fruit is very bitter but is eaten by the natives of India in their curries.

Trichosanthes dioica Roxb.

Tropical India. Firminger says this plant produces a small, oblong, green gourd about four inches long and two broad; boiled, it affords rather an insipid dish, yet it is found very acceptable from the season in which it occurs. Dutt says it is extensively cultivated in Bengal, and that the unripe fruit is much used by the natives as a vegetable and is the most palatable one of the country. The tender tops are also used as a potherb.