Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Turn of the 20th Century Photo - Proud Woman with Potted Plants

Have I shared this with you?  I just found it in my files. After spending time imagining being there,  (and enjoying the visit)  I noticed the screen door! 

Are there a second set of stairs, or are the ferns arranged for the photo?
I have no idea where this photo is from...a 2014 screenshot, from ebay I assume.

Monday, July 25, 2016

1890 - Nasturtium to Parsnip - Part 14 of Sturtevant's HISTORY OF GARDEN VEGETABLES

(Continued from p. 677, Vol. XXIII., 1889.)
Remember, to see the footnotes to find the books he used, go to the link above.  When I insert my two cents I try to remember to do it in red type.

Nasturtium. Tropæolum sp. 

IT is rather as ornamental flower-garden plants that the nasturtiums are now so universally grown. Yet they are also classed among kitchen-garden esculents, the flower-buds and the seeds serving, when pickled, as a caper substitute, and the flowers used for garnishing. 

 In 1683 Worlidge, in England, says, "from a Flower are now become an acceptable Sallad, as well as the blossom."  In 1690 Quintyne grew them in the royal kitchen gardens of France. 

Both species were received in Europe in the 16th century, as will be seen from the appended synonymies. Both are found wild in Peru. 

 Tropaeolum minus L.

 This species seems to have been first known in Europe about 1574, described by Monardes ;  it is figured by Lobel  in 1576, and is generally spoken of about this period as a new and rare plant. 

It was in the vegetable-garden in England, in 1726,  probably before, and is mentioned in American gardens in 1806. 

The synonymy appears as below : 
  • Nasturtii Indici genuina effigies. Lob. Obs., 1576, 338, cum ic. 
  • Nasturtium peregrinum, myconii. Lugd., 1587, 656, cum ic. 
  • Flos sanguineus, Lugd., 1587, 19 18. 
  • Nasturtium Indicum. Lob. ic, 1591, 6i6; Dod., 1616, 397, cum ic. 
  • Mastuorzo. Cast. Dur., 16 17, 277, cum ic.  
  • Pelon mexixquiletl, seu nasturtio Peruino. Hern., 165 1, 161, cum ic. 
  • Cardamindum minus et vulgare. Feuille, Peru, 1725,111., t. 8. 

Tropaeolum majus L. 

"The seeds of this rare and faire plant came first from the Indies into Spaine and those hot regions, and from thence into France and Flanders, from whence I have received seeds that hath borne with me both flowers and seede," says Gerarde in 1597.  

We cannot agree with those authors who consider this the dwarf form, as the figure given comes nearer to the Tall, as it was figured by J. Bauhin,  in his works printed in 1651, with the name scandens, thirty-three years before its asserted introduction by Linnaeus. 

Ray,  in 1686, speaks of its use as a vegetable, and this use is also spoken of by Townsend  in 1726. In American gardens it was noticed by McMahon  in 1806, and by all the early garden writers, as being the predominant kind in culture. 

The synonymy I offer is shorter than the preceding : 
  • Nasturtium Indicum. Cam. ic, 1588, t. 31. 
  • Nasturtium Indicum. Indian cresses. Ger., 1597, 196. 
  • Nasturtium indicum folio peltato scandens. J. Bauh., 165 1, II., 75. 
  • Cardamindum ampliore folio and majore flore. Feuille, Peru, 1725, III., t. 8. 

The nasturtium or Indian cress,  or capucin capers with the epithet Tall or Dwarf, is called: 
  • in France, capucine, cresson du Mexique, fleur de sang, fleur sanguine, cresson de Peru, cresson d'Inde;
  • in Germany, kapuciner kresse, Indianische kresse;
  • in Flanders and Holland, capucine kers;
  • in Italy, nasturzio, astuzzia;
  • in Spain, capuchina;
  • in Portugal, chagas;
  • in Norway, blomkarse;
  • in Arabic, tortour el-bachah 

 Tropaeolum tuberosus R. et P. 

 In Bolivia this plant is extensively cultivated in the high mountain districts, for its tubers, which are considered a delicacy, and are highly esteemed.

It does not seem to have entered European or American culture, although it is retained by Vilmorin among garden esculents.  

It was described in 1794, and was carried to France in 1836, but its tubers were not found palatable to European taste.   

(In a quick look around the web, it seems you really need to know how to prepare this tuber for eating.  I wonder if this was communicated well.  People tend to want to treat every tuber as a potato.)
The tubers are of good size, and are marked with purple upon a yellowish ground. 
 The tuberous-rooted nasturtium is called 
  • in France, capucine tubereuse ;
  • in Germany, Peruanische knollenkresse ;
  •  in Flanders, knoll-kapucien ;
  • in Spain, capuchina tuberculosa ;
  • in Peru, mayna massua;
  • in Bolivia, isano,  ysano ;
  •  in Mexico, ysano, or taiacha 

Good grief!  Here is a very interesting place that sells many of the strange (to me, anyway) vegetables mentioned in the Sturtevant series!!!  Go to Cultivariable.

New Zealand Spinage. Tetragonia expansa, Ait. 

 This plant was first found by Sir Joseph Banks, (I love Sir Joseph...besides his real accomplishments, my reading of the Aubrey/Maturin novels has created a very real and living Banks in my mind. I would advise you to first listen to the recorded books narrated by the astoundingly talented late great actor Patrick Tull. I never saw the movie for obvious reasons.)  and in 1770, at Queen Charlotte's Sound, New Zealand, and its merits discovered to the sailors of Captain Cook's expedition round the world. 
 (Below is an illustration made on that voyage.)
The Endeavour botanical illustrations
It reached Kew gardens in 1772.  It also occurs in Australia, both on the coast and in the desert interior, in New Caledonia, China, Japan, and Chili.  

Don says three varieties are found in Chili, one with smooth leaves, one with leaves hoary beneath, 
and a third small and glabrous.

 It was cultivated as a spinage plant in England in 1821 or earlier.  It was in use in France in 1824 or earlier.  In the United States its seed was distributed among members of the New York Horticultural Society in 1827, and in 1828 it appeared in our seed catalogues. 

St. Hilaire  records its use as a spinage in South Brazil, and Bojer  in the Mauritius. 

 The New Zealand spinage is called 
  • in France, tetragone, cornue, tetragone etalee, epinard de la nouvelle-zelande
  • in Germany, neuseelandischer spinat;
  • in Flanders, vierhouk, vierkant-vrugt;
  • in Denmark, myseelandsk spinat;
  • in Italy, tetragona;
  • in the Mauritius, tetragone;
  • in Japan, tsuri na, i.e., creeping cabbage.
Great Link!: The Endeavour botanical illustrations   "The voyage of HMS Endeavour (1768-1771) was the first devoted exclusively to scientific discovery. This site presents most of the botanical drawings and engravings prepared by artist Sydney Parkinson before his untimely death at sea, and by other artists back in England working from Parkinson's initial sketches. "

Nightshade. Solanum nigrum L. 

 This plant, says Vilmorin, is not as yet used in France as a vegetable, but in
warm countries the leaves are sometimes eaten as spinage.

It is mentioned by Galen  among aliments in the second century, but was not cultivated in Germany in Fuchsius' time, 1542, although it retained its name, Solatium hortense, perhaps from its former cultivation. 

It is a plant of a wide distribution, occurring in the northern hemisphere from Sweden, and the north-east of America from Hudson Bay, even to the equatorial regions, as for example at Timor, the Galapagos, the Antilles, Abyssinia, the Mascarene Isles, Mauritius, Van Diemen's Land, Chili, etc.

 It is found as a pot herb in the markets of Mauritus,  and is used as a spinage in Central Africa.

In China the young shoots are eaten, as also its black berries,  and in the Mississippi Valley the little black berries are made into pies and other pastry.   

The Nightshade or black nightshade is called 
  • in France, morelle noire, M. de Vile de France, M. commune, brede, creve-chien, herbe aux
    magiciens, morette, raisin de loup ;
  • in Germany, verbesseter nachschatten spinat ;
  • in Italy, erba mora;
  • in Spain, yerba mora 
If, like me, the fact this is edible surprises you, check out this modern reference.

 Okra. Hibiscus esculentus L. 

 The Spanish Moors appear to have been well acquainted with this plant, which was known to them by the name of bamiyah.    Abul-Abbas el-Nebati, a native of Seville, learned in plants, who visited Egypt A. D. 1216, describes in unmistakable terms the form of the plant, its seeds and fruit, which last, he remarks, is eaten when young and tender with meal by the Egyptians.

Moninckx atlas, -1682-1709
 The references to this plant in the earlier botanies are not numerous, and the synonymies offered are often incorrect.

I think the following, however, are justified:

  • Trionum theophrasti. Rauwolf, in Ap. to Lugd., 1587, 31, cum ic.
  • Alcea cegyptia. Clusius, Hist., 1601, 2, 27, cum ic.
  • Honorius bellus. In Clus., I.e., 2, 311.
  • Bamia alessandrina. Cast. Dur., 16 17, Ap., cum ic.
  • Quingombo. Marcg. Bras., 1 648, 3 1 , cum ic. ;
  • Piso., Bras., 1658, 211, cum ic.
  • Malva rosea sive hortensis. J. Bauhin, 1651, II., 951.
  • Ketmia americana annua flore albo,fructu non sulcato longissimo. Comelyn, Hort. Med., Amstelod, 1701, 150, cum ic.
Moninckx atlas, -1682-1709
Of these the last only, that of Comelyn, represents the type of pod of the varieties usually to be found in our gardens, but plants are occasionally to be found bearing pods which resemble those figured in the above list.

 I find little recorded, however, concerning variety, as in the regions where its culture is particularly affected there is a paucity of writers. Miller's Dictionary, 1807, mentions that there are different forms of pods in different varieties ; in some not thicker than a man's finger, and five or six inches long; in others very thick, and not more than two or three inches long; in some erect; in others rather inclined. Lunan,  in Jamaica, in 1814, speaks of the pods being of different size and form in the varieties. In 1831 Don  describes a species, the H. bammia, Link., with very long pods.

 In 1863 Burr  describes four varieties in American gardens, two dwarfs, one pendant-podded, and one tall and white-podded. In 1885, at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, varieties were grown under eleven different names, and from these we were able to satisfy ourselves of three distinct sorts only. Moninckx atlas, -1682-1709

Vilmorin  in 1885 names but two sorts, the long-fruited and the round-fruited. Its culture is now recorded in nearly all the tropical countries, and it reached Brazil before 1648, as recorded by Marcgravius. It is recorded in gardens about Philadelphia in 1748,  in Virginia in 1781,  and in general garden culture in 1806. 

Okra, ocra, or gombo, in India ochro and gobbo is called:
  • in France gombo, gombaud, ketmie comestible, calalon, quiabo, quingombo, okra;
  • in Italy, ibisco ;
  • in Spain, gombo ;
  • in Greece, vamies
  • in Brazil, quingombo, quiabo ;
  • in the Mauritius, lalo ;
  • in Curacpa, gigambo.
  • In Arabic, bamyeh toneyly, i.e., bamia with long fruit, bamia, bamia schami, bamia stambouli, rumi;
  • in Angola, quillobo ,
  • in Bengali, ramturay, dhenroos ;
  • in Burma, yung-ma-dae ;
  • in Central Africa, bameea ;
  • in Congo, quingombo or quigombo ;
  • in Egypt, bamia, chama ,
  • in Hindustani, ram-turai, bhinde ,
  • in India, dhenroos, ramturee, bhindee
  • in Malabar, vendah ;
  • in Nubia, djyoundou ;
  • in Persia, bamiyah;
  • in Tamil, venda, venday ;
  • in Telegu, benda. 
above: Wikipedia
Sample of thumbnails from image search for quingombo. 
Below is the section from the Vilmorin book Sturtevant is always mentioning.

The vegetable garden; illustrations, descriptions, and culture of the garden vegetables of cold and temperate climates, by MM. Vilmorin-Andrieux, of Paris. 

 Olluco. Ullucus tuberosus Lozano.
 Cultivariable sells this, too! I do not have any connection to them, I just think it is a very cool niche business.   
Also, great photos of olluco here in a Flickr account.
 Although Vilmorin says the culture of this plant has not given good results in France, yet he includes it in his book on vegetables. It was brought into French culture in 1848 by the Minister of Agriculture.  It is cultivated in the Andes of Peru, Bolivia and New Granada, Chili and Mexico. 

 The tubers are yellow, very smooth, starchy, and are developed on runners proceeding from the base of the stem.  Lieut. Herndon,  who ate them in Peru, pronounced them more glutinous than the oca and not so pleasant to the taste.
Curtis Magazine

 The olluco is called at Quito ulluco or melloco;
  • in Peru, ulluca ;
  • in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia, oca quina ;
  • in Chili, melloes and ulloco ;
  • in Mexico, papa lissa.
Acosta,  in speaking of the food plants of Colao, Peru, where the climate is cold and dry, says,
"The Indians use an other  kinde of roote, which they call Papas ; these rootes are like to grownd nuttes, they are small rootes, which cast out many leaves. They gather this Papas, and dry it well in the Sunne, then beating it they make that which they call Chuno, which keepes many daies, and serves for bread. In this realme there is great trafficke of Chuno, the which they carry to the mines of Potozi ; they likewise eat of these Papas boyled or roasted. There is one sweete of these kindes, which grows in hot places, whereof they do make certaine sawces and minced meats, which they call Locro." 
 As the olluco is said by Heuze to be only eaten raw, outside of Mexico, we may believe that Acosta refers in this extract to this plant, the potato and the sweet potato.

Onion. Allium cepa L.
1886 - Vick's Floral Guide
Onion. Allium cepa L.

 The culture of the onion was known at a remote period, and in the ancient Egyptian paintings a priest
is frequently seen holding them in his hand, or covering an altar with a bundle of thin leaves and roots.  Hippocrates  mentions that they are commonly eaten 430 B.C. Theophrastus,  322 B.C., names a number of varieties, the Sardian (from western Turkey), the Cnidian (from southern Turkey), Thamocracian, and the Setanicon, all named from the places of growth. Those of Issus and Sardis are white. Dioscorides, 60 A.D., speaks of the onion as long or round; yellow or white. Columella, 65 42 A.D., speaks of the Marsicam, which the country people call unioiwm, and this word seems to be the origin of our word onion, the French ognon. Pliny, 66 A.D. 79, devotes considerable space to the cepa, and says the round onion is the best, and that the red are more highly flavored than the white. Palladius,  210 A.D., gives minute directions for culture. Apicius,  A.D. 230, gives a number of recipes for the use of the onion in cookery, but its uses by this epicurean writer are rather as a seasoner than as an edible. In the thirteenth century Albertus Magnus  describes the onion, but does not include it in his list of garden plants where he speaks of the leek and garlic, by which we would infer, what indeed seems to have been the case with the ancients, that it was in less esteem than these now minor vegetables.

In the sixteenth century Amatus Lusitanus  says the onion is one of the commonest of vegetables, and occurs in red and white varieties, and of various qualities, some sweet, others strong, and yet others intermediate in savor.
In 1570, Matthiolus  refers to varieties as large and small, long, round and flat, red, bluish, green and white.

 Laurembergius,  in 1632, says onions differ in form, some being round, others oblong ; in color, some white, others dark red ; in size, some being large, others small ; from their origin, as German, Danish, Spanish, etc. He says the Roman colonies during the reign of Agrippa grew in the gardens of the monasteries a Russian sort, which attained sometimes the weight of eight pounds. He calls the Spanish onion oblong, white and large, excelling all other sorts in sweetness and size, and grown in large abundance in Holland.

At Rome the sort which brings the highest price in the markets is the Caieta ; at Amsterdam the St. Omer. At the present time Vilmorin  describes sixty varieties, and there are a number of varieties grown which are not noted by him in France.

In form these may be described as fiat, flattened, disc-form, spherical, spherical-flattened, pear-shaped, long. This last form seems to attain an exaggerated length in Japan, where I have been told that they often equal a foot in length. In 1886, Kizo Tamari,  a Japanese commissioner to this country, says, "Our onions have not large globular bulbs. They are grown just like celery in this country, and have long, white, slender stalks."

In addition to the forms mentioned above we rank the top onion and the potato onion among our varieties. The onion is described in many colors, such as white, dull white, silvery white, pearly white, yellowish green, coppery yellow, salmon yellow, greenish yellow, bright yellow, pale salmon, salmon pink, coppery pink, chamois, red, bright red, blood red, dark red, purplish. But few of our modern forms are noticed in the early botanies.

 The following synonymy includes all I have noted, but in establishing it it must be noted that many of the figures upon which it is founded are quite indistinct.

 I. Bulb flat at bottom ; tapering towards stem.

  •  Cepa. Fuchsius, 1542, 430.
  •  Cepa rotunda. Bodseus, 1644, 787.
  •  Caepe sive Cepa rubra et alba. J. Bauhin, 165 1, II., 549.
  •  Geant de Rocca. Vilm., 1883, 387.
  •  Mammoth Pompeii. American Seedsmen.
  •  Golden Queen. American Seedsmen.
  •  Paris Silverskin. American Seedsmen.
  •  Silver White Etna. American Seedsmen.
Geant de Rocca - 1889 - The Garden

The difference at first sight between the crude figure of Fuchsius and the modern varieties is great, but ordinary experience indicates that the changes are no greater than can be observed under selection.


Bulb round at bottom ; tapering towards stem.

  • Zwiblen. Roszlin, 1550, 121.
  • Cepa. Tragus, 1552, 737.
  • Caepa. Cam. Epit, 1586, 324.
  • Blanc hatif de Valence. ViL, 1883', 378.
  • Neapolitan Marzajola. American Seedsmen.
  • Round White Silverskin. American Seedsmen.
  • White Portugal. American Seedsmen.

Bulb roundish, flattened above and below.

  • Cepa. Matth., 1558, 276; Pin., 1 561, 215.
  • Caepa capitata. Matth., 1570, 388.
  • Cepe. Lob. Obs., 1576, 73; ic, 1591, I., 150.
  • Cepa rubra. Ger., 1597, 134.
  • Cepa rotunda. Dod., 1616, 687.
  • Rouge gros-plat d'Italie. Vilm., 1883, 387.
  • Bermuda. American Seedsmen.
  • Large Flat Madeira. American Seedsmen.
  • Wethersfield Large Red. American Seedsmen.

Bulb rounded below, flattened above.

  • De cepis. Pictorius, 1581, 82.
  • Philadelphia Yellow Dutch or Strasburg. American Seedsmen.

Bulb spherical, or nearly so.

  • Cepa. Tragus, 1552, 737. Lauremb., 1632, 26.
  • Cepe. Lob. Obs., 1576, 73; ic, 1591, I., 150.
  • Cepe alba. Ger., 1597, 134.
  • Caepa capitata. Matth., 1598,419.
  • Jaune de Danvers. Vilm., 1883, 380.
  • Danvers. American Seedsmen.

Bulb dishing on the bottom.
  • Cepa rotunda. Bodaeus, 1644, 786.
  • Extra Early Red. American Seedsmen.
Bulb oblong.
  • Caepa. Cam. Epit, 1586, 324.
  • Cepea Hispanica oblonga. Lob. ic, 1591, I., 150.
  • Cepa oblonga. Dod., 1616, 687; Bodaeus, 1644, 787.
  • Piriform. Vilm., 1883, 388.
The top onion.

In 1557 Dalechamp  records with great surprise an onion plant which bore in the place of seed, small bulbs. The onion was named by Chaucer, in England, about 1340. In Mexico onyons are mentioned by Peter Martyr  before 1557, in Peru before 1604,  in New England about 1629,  in Virginia in 1648, and were among the Indian foods destroyed by General Sullivan  in western New York in 1779.

In 1806 McMahon  records eight varieties in American gardens.

The onion is called:
  • in France, ognon, oignon ;
  • in Germany, Zwibel ;
  • in Flanders, ajuin ;
  • in Holland, uijen ;
  • in Denmark, rodlog;
  • in Italy, cipolla ;
  • in Spain, cebolla ;
  • in Portugal, cebola ;
  • in the Mauritius, oignon;
  • in Norway, rodlog;
  • in Greek, krommuon ;
  • in Latin, cepa.
  • In Arabic, bussull , basal;
  • in Bengali, pulantoo, peeaj ;
  • in Ceylon, loono ;
  • in China, tsum xi ;
  • in Cochin China, cay hanh ;
  • in Hindustani, pee-aj;
  • n India, peeaj;
  • in Japan, soo, fitmosi;
  •  in Java, brangbang;
  • in Malay, bawangmera
  • in Persia, peeaj ;
  • in Sanscrit, palandu, latarka,  sukandaka ;
  • in Tamil, venggayum ;
  • in Telegu, wolliguidda.

Orach. Atriplex hortensis L.

This spinach plant is grown as a vegetable, and also to use as a salad, mixed with sorrel in order to correct the acidity. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and it seems to have been used more in the early times before the introduction of the spinach than now.

Two varieties are known; the red and the green, each with a sub-variety of a paler color.

Spach, E., Histoire naturelle des végétaux,
(1834-1847) [J. Decaisne]
It was known to Turner  in England in 1538, who calls it areche, or redoreche.
In 1686 Ray  mentions the white and the red, even as mentioned by Gerarde  in 1597.
In 1623 Bauhin  mentions the red, the white, and the dark green.
In 1806, three kinds are named by McMahon  as in American gardens.

 Orach, orache, French spinach, or Mountain spinach is called
  • in France, arroche, armol, arrode, arrouse, belle dame, bonne dame, eripe, erode, follette, iribe, irible, prudefemme
  • in Germany, gartenmelde ;
  • in Flanders and Holland, melde,
  •  in Italy, atreplice ;
  • in Spain, armuelle ;
  • in Portugal, armolas ;
  • in Norwegian, havemelde ,
  • in Greece, vlita, spanakia
  • in Greek, atraphaxis ;
  • in Latin, atriplex ;
  • in Egyptian, ohet ;
  • in India, buthooa. 

Oxalis. Oxalis sp.

 There are two species which have been introduced into European gardens, but as an aliment they are there of little importance ; they are yet included by Vilmorin  among kitchen esculents. The roots are the parts principally used, yet the acid leaves find use as a salad.

 Oxalis crenata Jacq.
 This species is cultivated in Peru in gardens about Lima, and quite extensively in the mountains,from Chili even to Mexico.  It was introduced into England in 1829,  and was for a time cultivated as a culinary plant.
It seems now to have fallen into disuse. Burr  included it among American garden esculents in 1863.

A red and a yellow variety are mentioned.

 The oxalis is called
  • in France, oxalis crenelee, oxalide, surelle tubereuse ;
  • in Flanders, zverklaver;
  • in Peru, oca

Transactions of the royal horticultural society of London, (1848)

Oxalis deppei Lodd.

 This species is said to be a native of Brazil, whence it was introduced into the kitchen-gardens of
Europe,  reaching England in 1827.

In 1860 Loudon  says about 1850 it began to replace in esteem the 0. crenata.

The young leaves are served like sorrel, put into soup, or used as greens ; the flowers are excellent in salad, alone or mixed with corn salad ; the roots are served boiled.

It was likewise recorded by Burr  for American gardens in 1863.
The botanical cabinet
[C. Loddiges],(1828)

Para cress. Spilanthes sp. 

 Under the name of Para cress several species of Spilanthes are occasionally cultivated, the piquant leaves being mixed with other salads, and having the property of stimulating the salivary glands ; they should hence be classed with medical salads.

 Spilanthes oleracea L. 
 Recorded as cultivated in France in 1860 and in 1824, and in the Mauritius  in 1837, and is used also as a salad in the Mascarenhas, the East Indies and South America.
Spilanthes oleracea

It is called:
  • in France cresson de Para, spilanthe, spilanthe des potageres, lu abecedaire;
  • in Germany, hussarenknopf ;
  • in Flanders, ABC kruid ;
  • in Japan, hoko so 
Spilanthes fusca H. P. 

This species also cultivated,  and seems to be the cresson du Bresil of Vilmorin.
Below is a nice French seed business site...Potager ornemental de Catherine

Parsley,  Apium petroselinum L.

Wow!!  I was looking for an illustration to start Parsley and this scan of the paste down inside a promising book appeared!   In the past I have been pleased to find books owned by other botanists, like Liberty Hyde Bailey's books show up often, sometimes signed, often with a bookplate.  

It would be an interesting online hunt to find botanist's bookplates and signatures in books.  I wonder what the oldest one online is?  I suppose finding out what university they were associated with might cut down on the time needed to track them down.

Had to show this...
 "Although largely unknown today, Elizabeth Blackwell made a significant contribution to medical knowledge and to the art of botanical illustration. Her multi-volume work, 'A curious herbal', published in the 1730s, was an invaluable resource for doctors and apothecaries in the 18th century and beyond.
'A curious herbal' is one of the earliest botanical books to have been compiled by a woman."
from the National Library of Scotland 
Blackwell, E., Herbarium Blackwellianum, vol. 5: t. 443 (1765)

Parsley,  Apium petroselinum L.

This biennial is found wild in southern Europe, from Spain to Macedonia, also in Algiers and in the Lebanon.  It seems to be the apium of the ancient Romans, the selinon of Theophrastus, who, 322 B. C., describes two varieties, one with crowded, dense leaves, the other with more open and broader leafage.

Columella 120 A.D.  speaks of the broad-leaved and curled sorts, and gives directions for the culture of each, and, A.D. 79 , Pliny mentions the cultivated form as having varieties with a thick leaf, a crisp leaf, etc., evidently copying from Theophrastus. He adds, however, from apparently his own observation, that the apium is in general esteem, for the sprays find use in large quantities in broths,  and give a peculiar palatability to condimental foods. In Achaea it is used, so he says, for the victor's crown in the Nemean games.

 A little later Galen, 122 A. D. , praises the parsley as among the commonest of foods, sweet and grateful to the stomach, and that some eat it and Smyrnium mixed with the leaves of lettuce.

 Palladius,  about 210 A. D., mentions the method of procuring the curled form from the common, and says that old seed germinate more freely than do fresh seed (a peculiarity of parsley seed at present, and which is directly the opposite to that of celery seed).

 Apicius, A. D. 230, a writer on cookery, makes use of the apium viride, and of the seed. In the 13th century Albertus Magnus speaks of apium and petroselinum as being kitchen-garden plants ; he speaks of each as being an herb the first year, a vegetable the second year of growth ; he says the apium has broader and larger leaves than the petroselinum, the petroselinum has leaves like the cicuta; that the petroselinum is more of a medicine than a food.

 At the present time we have for forms the common or plain-leaved, the celery-leaved or Neapolitan, the curled, the fern-leaved, and the Hamburg or turnip-rooted.

 The plain-leaved form is not now much grown, having become superseded by the more ornamental curled forms. In 1552, Tragus  says there is no kitchen-garden in Germany without it, and it is used by the rich as well as the poor, and Matthiolus, in 1558 and 1570, says it is one of the most common plants of the garden.

In 1778 Mawe  says it is the sort most commonly grown in English gardens, but many prefer the curled kinds, and in 1834 Don says it is seldom cultivated.

It was in American gardens in 1806.
  •  Petroselinum. Trag., 1552, 459.
  • Apium hortense. Matth., 1558, 362; 1570, 512; 1598, 562; Pin., 1561, 333; Lugd., 1537,700; Lob. ic, 1591,706; Ger., 1597, 861 ; Dod., 161 6, 694. 
  •  Garden parsley. Lyte's Dod., 1586, 696. 
  •  Common parsley. Ray, 1686, 448; McMahon, 1806, 127. 
  •  Plane parsley. Mawe, 1778. 
  •  Common plain leaved. Don, 1834, III., 279. 
  •  Plain parsley. Burr, 1863,433. 
  •  Persil commun. Vilm., 1883,403. 

The celery-leaved or Neapolitan is scarcely known outside of Naples. It differs from the common parsley in the large size of its leaves and leaf stalks, and it may be blanched as a celery.  It was introduced into France by Vilmorin in 1823.  Pliny mentions parsleys with thick stalks, and says the stalks of some are white. It may be the Apium hortense maximum of Bauhin  in 1596, as the description applies well. He says it is now grown in gardens, and was first called English Apium. He does not mention it in his Pinax, 1623, under the same name, but under that of  latifolium. Linnaeus  considers this to be the Ligusticum austriacum Jacq.

 It is figured by Bauhin in his Prodromus. I have never seen it.

  • Persil celeri ou de Naples. L'Hort. Fran., 1824. . 
  • Naples or Celery-leaved. Burr, 1863,434.
  • Persil grand de Naples. Vilm., 1883,404. 
All these snippets from - Plantarum historiae universalis Oxoniensis seu herbarum distributio nova, per tabulas cognationis et affinitatis ex libro Naturae observata et detecata, Volume 3 - Theatrum Sheldonianum, 1699
The curled parsleys. Of these we have many varieties, differing but in degree, such as the curled, extra curled, moss curled, and triple curled.   Pena & Lobel, in 1570, mention this form, and say it is very elegant and rare, brought from the mountains the past year and grown in gardens, the leaves curled on the borders, very graceful and tremulous, with minute incisions.

In the synonymy many of the figures do not exhibit the curled aspect which the name and description indicates ; we hence make two divisions, the curled and the very curled. The curled was in American gardens preceding 1806.

(a.) The curled.
  •  Apium crispum sive multifidum. Ger., 1597, 861, cum ic. 
  •  Apium crispum. Matth. Op., 1598, 562, cum ic. 

 (b.) Very curled.
  •  Apium crispatum. Adv., 1570, 315: Lugd., 1587, 700. 
  •  Apium. Cam. Epit, 1586, 526. 
  •  Petroselinum vulgo, crispum. J. Bauh., 165 1, III.,Pt. 2, 97. Curled. Townsend, 1726,; Mawe, 1778; McMahon, 1806, 127; Thorb. Kal., 1821.
  •  Apium crispum. Mill. Diet, 1731, ex Mill. Diet, 1807. 
  •  Apium petroselinum. Bryant, 1783, 24. 
  •  Curled or Double. Fessenden, 1828,222; Bridgeman, 1832. 
  •  Persil frise. L'Hort. Fran., 1824; Vilm., 1883,404. 
  •  Dwarf curled. Fessenden, 1828, 222; Burr, 1863, 432. 
  •  Curled leaved. Don, 1834, III., 279. 

The fern-leaved has leaves which are not curled, but are divided into a very great number of small thread-like segments, and is of a very dark green.   I first note it in American seed catalogues of 1878. It seems, however, to be described by Bauhin in his edition of Matthiolus, 1598, as a kind with leaves of the coriander, but very many extending from one branch, laciniate, and the stem leaves unlike the coriander because long and narrow.


The Hamburg parsley is grown for its roots, which are used as parsnips are. It seems to have been used in Germany in 1542 or earlier, but its use was indicated as of Holland origin even then in the name used, Dutch parsley.   It did not reach England until long after.

In 1726 Townsend,  a seedsman, had heard that "the people in Holland boil the roots of it, and eat it as a good dish," and Miller is said to have introduced it in 1727, and to have grown it himself for some years before it became appreciated.

In 1778  it is said to be called Hamburg parsley, and to be in esteem.  In 1783 Bryant mentions its frequent occurrence in the London markets.

It was in American gardens in 1806.
  • Oreoselinum. Germanis Deutsch petersilg. Fuch. 1542,573.
  • Petroselinum. Tragus, 1552, 459. 
  • Apium. Cam. Epit, 1586, 526. 
  • Apium hortense Fuchsii. J. Bauhin, 165 1, III., Pt. 2, 97. 
  • Apium latifolium. Mill. Diet, 1737. 
  • Dutch parsley . Gard. Kal., 1765, 127. 
  • Hamburg parsley. Mawe, 1778. 
  • Broad-leaved. Mawe, 1778. 
  • Hamburg or large rooted. McMahon, 1806; Burr, 1863,433. 
  • Large rooted. Thorb. Kal., 1821. 
  • Persil tubereux. L'Hort. Fran., 1824. 
  • Persil a grosse racine. Vilm., 1883,405.

A Persil panache is mentioned by Pirolle, in L'Hort. Francais, 1824, but I find no further account.

The Parsley is called:
  • in France persil;
  • in Germany petersilie ;
  • in Flanders and Holland peterselie ;
  • in Holland pieterselie ;
  • in Denmark petersilje;
  • in Italy prezzemolo, petroncino, erbetta;
  • in Spain perejil;
  • in Portugal selsa;
  • in Norway persille ;
  • in Russia petruschka
  • In Arabic maquedounis, bagedounis, kussah;
  • in China, hu-sui;
  • in Egypt, bagdunis ;
  • in India, vjmood, vjooaen khorasanee ;
  • in Japan, kin, seri;
  • in Persia, karefo.

 Parsnip. Pastinaca sativa L. 

 It has been supposed that the pastinaca of the Romans included the carrot and the parsnip, and that the elaphoboscon of Pliny was the parsnip. Pliny describes the medicinal virtues of the elaphoboscon, and says it is much esteemed as a food. The references however do not prove this plant to be cultivated, nor do the references to the pastinaca satisfactorily indicate the parsnip. I am unwilling to accept such evidence as we find that the cultivated parsnip was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Had to check this out - ĕlăphŏboscon, i, n., = ἐλαφοβόσκον (deer-food, stag's food),  I. wild parsnips, Plin. 22, 22, 37, § 79.   
Pliny says - 
The elaphoboscon is a ferulaceous plant, articulated, and about a finger in thickness. The seed of it is like that of dill, hanging in umbels resembling those of hart-wort in appearance, but not bitter.      
The leaves are very like those of olusatrum. This plant, too, is highly spoken of as an article of food; in addition to which, it is preserved and kept as a diuretic and for the purpose of assuaging pains in the sides, curing ruptures and convulsions, and dispelling flatulency and colic. 
It is used, too, for the cure of wounds inflicted by serpents and all kinds of animals that sting; so much so, indeed, that, as the story goes, stags, by eating of it, fortify themselves against the attacks of serpents. 
The root, too, applied topically, with the addition of nitre, is a cure for fistula, but, when wanted for this purpose, it must be dried first, so as to retain none of the juice; though, on the other hand, this juice does not at all impair its efficacy as an antidote to the poison of serpents.
The above is from this fascinating site with an interesting interface. 

Pliny the Elder, The Natural History 
John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A., Ed. 

Zorn, J., Oskamp, D.L., Afbeeldingen der artseny-gewassen met derzelver Nederduitsche en Latynsche beschryvingen -1800
 The following is a synonymy founded on pictures and descriptions combined, all representing our long parsnip form of root, but some indicating the hollow crown, upon which some of the modern varieties are founded, especially Camerarius in 1586.

 Sisarum sativum magnum. Fuchs., 1542, 751.
 Pestnachen. Roszlin, 1550, 106.
 Pastinaca. Trag., 1552, 440.
 Pastinaca sativa. Matth., 1558, 353; 1570,500; 1598,548; Pin., 1 561, 318.
 Pastinaca domestica vulgi. Lob. Obs., 1 576, 407; ic. 1 591, 1, 709.
 De Pastinaca. Pastenay, gerlin oder moren. Pictorius, 1 5 8 1 , 94.
 Pastinaca domestica. Cam. Epit, 1 5 36, 507; Cast. Dur., 1617,837.
 Pastinaca sativa vulgi, Matthioli. Lugd., 1587, 719.
 Pastinaca latifolia sativa. Ger., 1597, 870; Dod., 1616, 680.
 Pastinaca sativa latifolia, Germanica, luteo flore. J. Bauh., 165 1, II., Pt. 2, 150, 151.
 Long parsnip of the moderns.

 In 1683 the long parsnips are figured in England as in great use for a delicate sweet food, are spoken of by Ray in 1686, Townsend 1726,  Mawe,  1778, and Miller  1807, etc.
The following "delicate sweet food" recipe is from 1810.  The lady was Esther Copley.

The cook's complete guide, on the principles of frugality, comfort, and elegance 

The round parsnip, or Panais rond of the French, is called Siam by Don in 1834.
Its roots are funnel-shaped, tapering very abruptly, often curving inwards. I find little of its early history. It was noted in the Bon Jardinier for 1824, as also by Pirolle in Le Hort. Frangcais, by Mcintosh, Burr, and other more recent writers.

The introduction of the Parsnip to America was probably by the earliest colonists.

It is mentioned at Margarita Island by Hawkins  in 1564; in Peru by Acosta  in 1604, as cultivated in Virginia in 1609 and 1648, in Massachusetts in 1629, and as common in 1630, and were among the Indian foods destroyed by Gen. Sullivan in Western New York in 1779.

The parsnip is called:

  • in France panais, grand chervia cultive, pastenade blanche, patenais, racine blanche ;
  • in Germany, pastinake;
  • in Flanders and Holland, pastenaak
  • in Holland, pinkster nakel ; (I like this name :-)
  • in Denmark, pastinak;
  • in Italy, pastinaca ;
  • in Spain, chirivia ;
  • in Portugal, pastinaga ;
  • in Norway, pastinak.

The watercolors of Helen Sharp are delightful!
Sharp, Helen, Water-color sketches of American plants, especially New England, (1888-1910)
(To be continued)