Tuesday, April 12, 2016

1887 - African Valerian to Anise - Part 1 - Sturtevant's HISTORY OF GARDEN VEGETABLES

This is the first installment of this wonderful series of articles by E. Lewis Sturtevant. 

First published in January, 1887 in the American Naturalist, Sturtevant's HISTORY OF GARDEN VEGETABLES continued in installments for four more years, with the last being 1891. 

Originally published without any illustrations, I have added what caught my eye. Tracking down online sources for the books referenced by Sturtevant in the footnotes (which I eliminated) was interesting, and I linked what I could. I also occasionally did Google translations. I find it is quite the rat hole of tangents that I scurry down while working on this, so don't expect the next installment to be posted quickly!

Remember, if you want to read the original, the link is given at the top of each section.
I hope you enjoy this work as much as I do, 

HISTORY OF GARDEN VEGETABLES. BY E. LEWIS STURTEVANT, A.M., M.D. (See biography.) https://archive.org/details/jstor-2451130 THIS series of articles, which should be rather entitled notes on than history of cultivated vegetables, is intended as a portion of a study into the extent of variation that has been produced in plants through cultivation. The author has had the great advantage of opportunity of studying the growing specimens in nearly all the species named, and in nearly all the varieties now known to our seed trade; and this study has given him confidence in the establishing of synonymy, as oftentimes the variables within types have furnished clues of importance. The treatment, as a matter of convenience, is arranged alphabetically, and includes the species recognized by Vilmorin-Andrieux in their standard work "Les Plantes Potageres," 1883, and the English edition " The Vegetable Garden," 1885, with the exception of the Pineapple and Strawberry, species which by American gardeners are included among fruits. In the matter of references the citations are all taken directly from the sources indicated, quoted references being in all cases so acknowledged in the notes. In a work of this character, where the conclusions can oftentimes seem questionable, it is important that facilities for corroboration should be freely offered, - hence I have made my references to editions and pages.

African Valerian. Valeriana cornucopia L. The African valerian is a recent introduction to gardens, and furnishes in its leaves salad of excellent quality. The plant is native to the Mediterranean region, in grain-fields in waste places.
Gaspard BauhinC. Bauhin
C. Bauhin, in 1596, speaks of it as if of recent introduction to botanical gardens in his time, and Clusius, in 1601, J. Bauhin, in 1651, and Ray, in 1686, all describe it. It is not spoken of as under cultivation in Miller's Dictionary, 1807, nor does Don in his "Gardeners' Dictionary," 1834, speak of any use, although he is usually very ready with such information. 

In 1841 the "Bon Jardinier" in France refers to it as being a good salad plant. As neither Noisette, 1830, nor Petit, 1826, nor Pirolle, 1824, mention it, we may assume that it had not entered the vegetable garden at these dates. 
In 1863, Burr describes it among American garden vegetables, as does Vilmorin in France in 1883, and in England in 1885. No varieties are described, although a purple and a white flowered form are mentioned by Bauhin as occurring in the wild plant. The one sort now described has pink or rose colored flowers.
Vilmorin's  The Vegetable Garden - 1885

The vernacular names, as given by Vilmorin, are :
  • English, African Valerian;
  • French, Valeriane d' Alger, Corne d'abondance ;
  • German, Algerischer Baldrian;
  • Flemish, Speenkruid;
  • Dutch, Speerkruid.

(By the way, did you notice who signed the title page of Vilmorin's book linked to above!?? )
The synonymy is as below :
  • Valeriana peregrina purpurea. Bauh., Phytopin., 1596, 293.
  • Valeriana indica. Clus., Hist, 1601, 2, 54, cum ic.
  • Valeriana peregrina purpurea albave. Bauh., Pin., 1623, 164; Prod., 1 67 1, 87,
  • Valeriana peregrina, seu Indica. J. Bauh., Hist., 165 1, iii. pt. 2, 212, cum ic.
  • Valeriana mexicana. Ray, Hist., 1686, i. 394.
  • Valerianella cornucopioides, flore galeato. Tourn., Inst., 17 19, 133-
  • Valeriana cornucopia. Linn., Sp., 1762, 44.
  • Fedia cornucopia. Gaertn., Fruct, 1788, ii. 37.
Alexanders. Smyrnium olusatrum L.

John Ray
The name said to be a corruption of Olusatrum (Webster's Dict.), but Ray ("Hist. Plant," 437) says called so either because it came from the Egyptian city of that name, or it was so believed.  (Ray's work is actually called "Historia Plantarum". Finding out that made it easier to locate!  )
The Italian name macerone is believed by Ray to
have been corruptly derived from Macedonia, but a more probable origin is from maceria, the Italian for wall, as Columella (lib. xi. c. 3) says, "Pastinato loco semine debet conseri maxime juxta maceriam." (Trans.: Trenched the seeds should be sown especially near the wall.)

  • English, Alexanders, Alisanders, Allisanders, Horse parsley, Macedonicum, Parsley macedonian.
  • Arabic, Seniruion.
  • Belgian, Petersilie van Alexandria, P. van Macedonien, Groot petersilie.
  • French, Alexandre, Ache large, Grand ache, Maceron.
  • German, Alexandrinum, Brust-wurzel, Engel-wurzel, Herba alexandriana, Gross Epffich, Peterlin, Liebstockel.
  • Greece, Agrioselinon, Mauroselinon, Skuloselinon.
  • Greek, Hipposelinon, Smyrnion.
  • Italian, Alessandrion, Herba Alexandrina, Macerone, Smirnio.
  • Latin, Hipposelinon, Olisatum, Olusatrum, Smyrnion.
  • Portuguese, Cardo do coalho.
  • Spanish, Apio macedonica, Perexil macedonico.
In this Umbellifer, as De Candolle remarks, we can follow the plant from the
beginning to the end of its culture. Theophrastus, who flourished about 322 B.C., speaks of it as an officinal plant, under the name of Hipposelinon.  

Dioscorides, who lived in the first century after Christ, speaks of the edible properties of the roots and leaves, while Columella and Pliny, authors of the same century, speak of its cultivation; Galen, in the second century, classes it among edibles, and Apicius, in the third century, gives a receipt for its preparation or the table. Charlemagne, who died a.d. 814, included this vegetable among those ordered to be planted on his estates. Ruellius's edition of Dioscorides, 1529, does not speak of its culture, nor does Leonicenus, 1529 (not necessitated by the text); but Fuchsius, 1542, says planted in gardens. Tragus, 1552, received seed from a friend, so it was apparently not generally grown in his part of Germany at this date. Matthiolus, in his "Commentaries," 1558, refers to its edible qualities. Pena and Lobel, 1570, say in England it occurs abundantly in gardens, — "in hortis copiosissimum, ubi radix illi crassior, magis succosa, vesca et tenerior, quam suapte sponte nato," and the cultivated form far better than in the wild plant. (Trans.: "in the gardens, large quantities, where the root of thicker, more succulent, we do eat, and the tender, which was spontaneously born") Camerarius, "Epitome," 1586, says, "in hortis seritur." (Trans.: "in gardens planted") Gerarde, in 1597, does not speak of its culture, but says, " groweth in most places of England," but in his edition of 1630 says, "the root hereof is also in our age served to the table raw for a sallade herbe." Dodonseus, 1616, refers to its culture in the gardens of Belgium., and Bodseus a Stapel, in his edition of "Theophrastus," 1644, says is much approved in salads, and is cultivated as a vegetable, — "Contra maceronis esui idonea, palato non ingrata; quo nomine a Gallis, Anglio, Germanis avidissime in acetariis expetitur ac ab olitoribus sedulo colitur;" yet, in 1612, "Le Jardinier Solitaire" mentions the culture of celery, but not of Alexanders, in French gardens.  (The link from "Dodonseus, 1616" above, is to a fantastic scan of a fantastic book! Enjoy!!)
(Trans.: On the other hand, Macerones is suitable food, the taste is not unpleasant; named by the French, English, Germans and eagerly sought in a salad carefully cultivated by a kitchen gardener.)
Quintyne, in the English edition of his " Complete Gard'ner," 1704, says " it is one of the furnitures of our winter-sallads, which must be whitened like our wild Endive or Succory." In 1726, Townsend, in his "Complete Seedsman," refers to the manner of use, but adds, " 'tis but in few gardens." Mawe's " Gardener," 1778, refers to this vegetable, but it is apparently in minor use at this time ; yet Varlo, in his "Husbandry," 1785, gives directions for continuous sowing of the seed in order to secure a more continuous supply. McMahon, in his "American Gardeners' Kalendar," 1806, includes this vegetable in his descriptions, but not in his general list of kitchen garden esculents, and it is likewise enumerated by later American writers, and is included by Burr, 1863, among garden vegetables, — a survival of mention apparently not indicating use; and Vilmorin, in his " Les Plantes Potageres," 1883, gives a heading and a few lines to maceron, but I do not now find its seed advertised in our catalogues, and I never remember to have seen the plant or heard of its being in use in my time.

Smyrnium perfoliatum L.  
Sibthrop, J., Smith, J.E., Flora Graeca (drawings), vol. 3: t. 89 (1819)

This species is perhaps confounded with S. olusatrum in some of the references already given. 

Loudon says it was formerly cultivated, and Mcintosh says it is thought by many superior to S. olusatrum, — a remark which Burr (" Field and Garden Vegetables") includes in his description. 

Although the species is separated by a number of the older botanists, yet Ruellius, 1529, is the only one I find who refers to its edible qualities.  
This plant, which De Candolle says has been under common culture for fifteen centuries (" a ete une des plus communes dans les jardins pendant environ quinze siecles," " Orig. des PI. Cult.," 72), has shown, so far as my researches indicate, no change of type under culture. 

The figures which occur in so many of the herbals all show the same type of plant, irrespective of the source from which the illustration may have been taken, unless perhaps the root is drawn rather more enlarged in some cases than in others. Alkekengi. Physalis sp. The alkekengi, usually known in our seed catalogues by the name of Strawberry Tomato, is classed with the Tomatoes, and it is worthy of note that Hernandez, in his work on Mexican plants, published in 1651, did the same. 

There are a number of species which occur under the general name, and the plant is frequently found in gardens, as some people are fond of the fruit, whether raw or preserved. The plant most often, however, occupies waste places, springing up spontaneously after being once introduced, and its products are of very minor importance among vegetables.  

Among the species that have been identified from the seeds of the " Strawberry Tomato," obtained from commercial sources, are the following :
I. Physalis angulata L. This species is found widely dispersed over tropical regions, extending to the southern portion of the United States and to Japan. 
Joachim Camerarius, 1588
It is first described by Camerarius, in 1588, as a plant hitherto unknown, and an excellent figure is given. It was seen in a garden by C. Bauhin before 1596, and is figured in the " Hortus Eystettensis," 1613. J. Bauhin speaks of its presence in certain gardens in Europe. Linnaeus makes a variety with entire leaves, and both his species and variety are 
figured by Dillenius, who obtained the variety from Holland in 1732. When it first appeared in our vegetable gardens I do not find recorded.  
Flora de Filipinas - Physalis angulata

Its synonymy seems to be as below :
  • Halicacabum sive Solarium Indicum. Cam., Hort., 1588, 70 cum ic.
  • Solatium vesicarium Indicum. Bauh., Phytopin., 1596, 297; Pin., 1623, 166; Ray, Hist, 1686, 681.
  • Halicacabum seu Solanum Indicum. Camer., Hort. Eyst., 1613, cum ic.
  • Solanum sive Halicabum Indicum. J. Bauh., 165 1, iii. 609, cum ic.
  • Alkekengi Indicum majus. Tourn. Inst., 1719, 151.
  • Pops. Hughes, Barb., 1750, 161.
  • Physalis angulata L. Gray, Syn. Fl., ii. pt. i. p. 234.
2. Physalis barbadensis Jacq. This species is said by Vilmorin to be sometimes cultivated in France. According to Maycock 4 it is the Pop-vine of Hughes. 3 I have not seen it growing.
3. Physalis lanceolata Michx. This species was among the "Strawberry Tomatoes" grown in 1886, and occurred in two varieties, — a, the ordinary sort, and b, with broader leaves and more robust growth. Its habitat is given by Gray as from Lake Winnipeg to Florida and Texas, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.
4. Physalis peruviana L.
This South American species seems to have become fairly well distributed through 
cultivation. Birdwood records it as cultivated widely in India, and gives native names in the various dialects, and Speede mentions it also.

In France it is classed among garden vegetables by Vilmorin. Descourtliz gives a Carib name, " sousburou-scurou." Drummond, who introduced the plant into Australia, after ten years reports it as completely naturalized in his region. 
This species differs but slightly from P. pubescens. Gray, in 1878, says it was introduced into cultivation several years ago, but has now mainly disappeared.

Wildflowers and landscapes of Ecuador
  • In English called Cape Gooseberry 11 or Cherry Tomato;
  • in Carib, " sousotirou-scurou ;
  • in Tagalo, " potocan ;"
  • in India, Winter Cherry, Turparee ;
  • in Bengali, Tapureea, Tapeeriya, and Tophlee;
  • in Hindustani, Macao;
  • in Telinga, Budda-busara, Pambudda}
5. Physalis philadelphica Lam. (Nice line drawings of all the Physalis here...) Although the habitat of this species is given by Gray as in fertile soil, Pennsylvania to Illinois and Texas, yet it seems to be the Miltomatl figured by Hernandez in his Mexican history, published in 1651. 
It is described by Burr under the name Purple Ground Cherry, Purple Strawberry Tomato, Purple Winter Cherry. The "petite tomate du Mexique" as received from Vilmorin, in 1883, can be assigned to this species, as can also a "Strawberry Tomato" grown in 1885. 

6. Physalis pubescens L.  
This species has a wide range, extending from New York to Iowa, Florida, and westward,
from Texas to the borders of Caliornia, and southward to tropical America. It is described by Marcgrav and Piso in Brazil about the middle of the seventeenth century, and Feuille, 1725, mentions it as cultivated and wild in Peru. It has been introduced into many regions. 

Loureiro records it in Cochinchina; Bojer, as cultivated in the Mauritius and in all the tropical countries, and it also occurs in the descriptions of garden vegetables in France and America. 
It was cultivated by Miller in England in 1739, but was described by Parkinson in 1640. 

It had not reached the kitchen garden in 1807, but had before 1863.
Its synonymy seems as below given :
  • Camaru. Marcg., 1648, 12; Piso, 1658, 223.
  • Halicacabum sive Alkakengi Virginense. .Ray, 1686,681.
  • Alkekengi Virginianum, fructu luteo. Tourn., 17 19, 151.
  • Alkekengi Virginianum, fructu luteo, vulgo Capuli. Feuille, 1725, iii. 5.
  • Alkekengi Barbadense nanum, Alliance folio. Dill. Elth., p. 10, f. 9, t. 9, 1774.
  • Physalis pubescens. Lin., Sp., 1762, 262.
7. Physalis virginiana Mill. This species has also been grown from the seedsmen's " Strawberry Tomato." It is low spreading. Its habitat is given by Gray as Upper Canada to Florida and Texas. The number of species which are included in the common name Strawberry Tomato is indicative of the wide source of seed-supply tributary to our seed-houses, as well as to the little importance of the plant for the vegetable garden.

It is quite evident that in nature many of these species are quite variable, furnishing numerous botanical varieties. Whether any varieties have originated under culture it. is scarcely worth the while to consider, as the common nomenclature is so obscuring, and as there is no indication of the plants receiving enough consideration to justify us in supposing attempts for improving through selection or careful cultivation.
American Cress. Barbarea praecox R. Br. The vernacular name is a misnomer, as this species, although introduced into America, is not native, but an inhabitant of the  Old World. The first mention we find is that of Ray, who notices it in his description of the similar species Barbarea vulgaris.
He is so droll!

It is cultivated in the Mauritius, in gardens of England as a cress in 1855, and stated by Don, in 1831, to be generally liked as a winter cress in Germany and England. In France it is included among garden vegetables by Vilmorin in 1883, but not by Noisette in 1829. It is recorded for American gardens by Burr in 1863, and Gray, in 1880, says it is cultivated from Pennsylvania southward as a winter cress.
It is known
  • in the Southern States under the name of Early Winter Cress, or Scurvy-grass;
  • in English generally Winter Cress, American Winter Cress, and Belle Isle Cress, or American Cress;
  • in France as Cresson de terre, Cresson de jazdin, Cresson vivace, Cresson des vignes, Cressonette de jardin, Roquette, and Sisymbrium ;
  • in German, Amerikanische Winterkresse ;
  • in Flanders, Wilde kers ;
  • in Denmark, Winter karse.
Angelica. Angelica archangelica L.
 (Here's a beautiful close up look at making an Angelica pie.  MMMM...candied angelica!)
This species is occasionally cultivated among aromatic or medicinal herbs. Its young, tender stalk in May, cut into small pieces, makes an admirable sweetmeat, and in the north of Europe the Laplanders consume its green shoots as a salad. The medicinal properties of the root were highly prized in the Middle Ages. In Pomet
Blackwell, E., Herbarium Blackwellianum, vol. 5: t. 496 (1765) NICE!!
we read that the seed is much used to
make angelica comfits, as well as the root for medicine. Bryant deems it the best aromatic that Europe produces.  
This plant must be a native of Northern Europe, for I find no references to it in the ancient authors of Greece and Rome, nor is it mentioned by Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century. By Fuchsius, 1542, and succeeding authors it receives proper attention, and is recorded as cultivated in gardens.

The German name Heilige Geist Wurz (Holy Spirit Wurz) implies the estimation in which it was held, and offers clue to the origin of the word Angelica, or angel plant, which occurs in so many languages, as in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, becoming Angelique and Archangelique in French, and Angelickwicrz in German.  

Other names, of like import, are the modern Engelwurz in Germany, Engelkruid in Flanders, and Engelwortel in Holland. 
The various figures given by herbalists show the same type of plant, the principal differences to be noted being in the size of the root. Pena and Lobel, in 1570, note a smaller variety as cultivated in England, Belgium, and France, and Gesner is quoted by Camerarius as having seen roots of three pounds' weight. Bauhin, 1623, says the roots vary, the Swiss-grown being thick, those of Bohemia smaller and blacker.
Anise. Pimpinella anisum L.
illustration by James Sowerby -1793
Anison was known to the ancient Greeks, and Dioscorides says the best came from Crete, the next best from Egypt ; and it is mentioned by Theophrastus. Pliny, in the first century, says " anesum, green or dry, is desirable in all seasonings or sauces," and the seeds are even sprinkled in the under crust of bread, and used for flavoring wine. 
He quotes Pythagoras as praising it whether raw or cooked. Palladius, in the beginning of the third century, gives directions for its sowing. 

Charlemagne, in the ninth century (a.d. 812), commanded that anise should be sown on the imperial farms in Germany. It is mentioned also by Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century. It seems to have been grown in England as a pot-herb prior to 1542, as Boorde, in his "Dyetary of Helth," printed in that year, says of it and fennel, " These herbes be seldom used, but theyr seedes be greatly occupyde."

Ruellius records it in France in 1536, and gives the common name as Roman fennel, the same as Albertus Magnus used in the thirteenth century. It is classed among culinary herbs by Laurembergius in 1632, and in America by McMahon in 1806.

  • In the seventeenth century Quintyne 3 records the use of the leaves in salads. 
  • The seeds now serve to flavor various liqueurs ;  
  • in Italy they appear in diverse pastries ; 
  • in Germany they are put into bread ; 
  • in England, in special bread, in rye bread, and even in cheese. 4 
  • In Malta, localities in Spain, France, Southern Italy, Germany, and Russia the plant is grown on a large scale for the seed, which enters commerce for use in flavoring medicines, etc.  
It is also grown in Northern India and Chili.  
The plant is indigenous to Asia Minor, the Greek islands, and Egypt, but is nowhere to be met with undoubtedly growing wild ; and I have found no indication of its having formed varieties under cultivation, except that Bauhin records one sort having rounder and smaller seeds than the common.  

(To be continued.)