Saturday, August 13, 2016

Seeds from Russia - How the USA Learned to Value the Sunflower

The sunflower has long been grown in this country for ornamental purposes and the wild form has been used by nature to give the boy,  raised on the farm in the Middle West, employment during the summer months, for it is the weed that requires so much hand labor to eradicate.  Although a native of the New World we learned its real value from the experience of the farmers in Russia.  -1921-

I first became interested in the seed industry in Russia when, for some unknown reason, which I assume is a data glitch somewhere in Google's bowels, this blog's stats suddenly began to register many, many, many more Russian visitors than any other nation!

In honor of that readership, imaginary as it is, I started looking for something appropriate where I always the 19th century.  When I spotted sunflowers I jumped on it.  Who doesn't like a sunflower story?!  The Russian-German immigrants to the USA in the 1870s brought along the seeds of their home regions opening the eyes of farmers to new varieties and new crops.
This turns out to be a great story of successful plant breeding that benefited the world.

First I'll share this following article from an 1892 Scientific American, and in a following post fill out this history with information on the man responsible, Vasilii Stepanovich Pustovoit,  who, a decade later so positively impacted his home country of Russia, and mine, the USA,  with his improved sunflower seeds.
Voronezh  - Tháng Tám, 2016


THE sunflower, as a garden plant, has been known all over Russia for many years, but only in certain districts has it been cultivated on a large scale as an industry. The first cultivation of sunflower seed for commercial purposes began, says the United States Consul General, at St. Petersburg in 1842, in the village of Alexeievka, in the district of Berutchinsk, government of Voronezh, by a farmer who was the first to obtain oil from the seed. This farmer soon found many followers, and the village of Alexeievka soon became the center of the new industry. The government of Voronezh is even now the chief district in European Russia for the growing of the sunflower.

Besides the district of Berutchinsk, this plant is cultivated on a large scale in the districts of Novokhopersk, Ostrogoshk, Bobroosk, Valouisk, and Korotoiaks.From the government of Voronezh the cultivation of sunflowers spread to the adjacent governments of Tambov and Saratov, where there are large fields cultivated with this plant, particularly in the latter government. The people of the provence of the Don and the government of Sirnbersk and Samara are more or less engaged in this trade; in fact in the entire southeast of Russia the sunflower furnishes a prominent product of the farm.
Two kinds of sunflower are grown in Russia—one with small seeds, used for the production of oil, and the other with larger seeds, consumed by the people in enormous quantities as dainties. In the district where the seed is cultivated on a large scale. the plant has been continually grown on the same soil for many years in succession, thus producing a special disease of the plant. The sunflower seed is used principally for obtaining sunflower oil, which, owing to its nutritious qualities, purity, and cable flavor, has superseded the other vegetable oils in many parts of the country.

Large seeded type; photo eBay seller of Mammoth Russian 
In general the cultivation of the sunflower in Russia is considered to be very profitable.
Hulls plus seed ground to make a cake.
At the average yield of 1,350 lb. to the acre, and at the average price of 1/4d. a pound, the farmer receives an income of about £4 an acre, and this income can be increased in those districts where the grower himself is engaged in producing the oil from the seed. The substance remaining from the oil manufacture, or sunflower cakes, being used as cattle food, is also a valuable product. These cakes, however, have a comparatively small demand in Russia, but are largely exported to foreign countries, principally to Germany and England.

The government of Saratov, for instance, exports about 2,000,000 lb. of sunflower cakes to different countries, where a further quantity of oil is extracted from them before being used for cattle food. The sunflower shells, being used for heating purposes form an article of trade in several districts. The seed cups are not wasted, but are used as food for sheep.

The peasants in the government of Tambov are increasing the cultivation of the sunflower, owing to the following reasons: There is a steadily increasing demand at home and abroad for the seed, thus making the industry a profitable one, especially as Russia is the chief source of supply. As above mentioned, the sunflower is cultivated principally for the oil. If the cultivation is made with care, and if proper precautions are taken in drying, cleaning, and pressing , sunflower oil is equal to the French table oil in color, flavor, and taste.

At first sunflower oil did not meet with public favor in Russia, but later on, owing to its good qualities and cheapness, it took the place of the oil of poppy seed; but or a long time hempseed oil competed with it, owing to the fact that the lower classes, who for many years had used the hempseed oil in the preparation of various dishes, and who had long learned to relish it, were not disposed to give it up.
Now, however, public opinion has changed, and sunflower oil is preferred by the masses to all other table oils in Russia.

The process of oil making is as follows :

The seed being brought to the oil mill, is thoroughly cleaned and sorted. They are passed under millstones, specially prepared for the purpose, in order to release the seeds from the shells. After this the seed is properly dusted and put under a press, and, later on, into a mixer, where the seed is turned into a compact mass very much like paste, which passes into presses heated by steam. From these presses the paste is taken out and wrapped in a thin web, made of camel hair, and put under a press, by which the oil is squeezed out and conducted by pipes into tanks.

The total number of oil mills in Russia was, according to the last account, 104. From this number 85 were applied solely to obtaining sunflower oil. In 24 of these mills steam is used, and in others only manual power. The largest mill is at Saratov, and it produces 1,500,000 lb. of oil annually.

There are two kinds of oil obtained from the sunflower seeds. The better kind is sweet, and more expensive, the inferior having a bitter taste. The difference in the price of these two qualities is about one half penny a pound. The oil remaining from the oil production or the waste, and not used as food, is applied exclusively to certain industries.

The sunflower stalks, gathered from the fields, and dried in piles, have entirely replaced fire wood; in fact, these stalks are preferred even to pine wood, producing a quick and hot-flame fire. About 2,000 lb. of such fire wood are gathered from an acre of land, thus adding a great boon to a district where wood is scarce. Sunflower shells are also used in for heating purposes, not only in private houses but in large factories as well. They are burned in ovens especially prepared for their consumption.  See below.

The ashes of the sunflower contains, high percentage of potassium. The experiments of Hermbstedt have proved that 1,000 lb. of dried stalks yield 57.2 pounds of ash; and from 1,000 lb. of ash are obtained 349 lb. of the best potassium. As a food for cattle, sunflower cakes are looked upon as the best in Russia; they are considered better even than hempseed or rapeseed cakes. According to chemical analyses, the sunflower cakes from the government of Saratov contain: Azotic substances, 42.31 per cent; oil, 14.7 per cent; and ashes, 5.12 per cent. The dried seed cups, if ground, are used in many districts as food for cattle, and particularly for sheep, with great success.


Speaking of heating with the stalks, I have always wanted a Russian stove/fireplace as they are so efficient, and can burn waste hay and less expensive stuff than wood. See this blog for some more information.  And here is a current company designing and building traditional masonry stoves.

LINK:  Nice coloring book for kids on sunflowers from the National Sunflower Association.

LINK; The matryoshka is painted in Sergiev Posad floral style by artist Anonova Zinaida.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

1891 - Through Russia on a Mustang With Sunflower Seeds and Oscar Wilde

Through Russia on a Mustang

At Constantinograd, a small town, two days ride south of Kharkoff, we were getting well into Malo Russia. The most striking feature of the landscape were big fields of sunflowers.

All Russia nibbles sunflower seeds in its moments of leisure. Imagine half the citizens of the United States carrying, habitually, a supply of peanuts around in their .pockets and nibbling them continually, and you have a hardly exaggerated idea of the ubiquitous part played by the sunflower seed in Russian life. In the circus, in the theater, in the offices, the shops, the tea-houses, the city streets, the village door-stoop, men, women, girls and boys, peasants, nobles, merchants, soldiers—everybody, everywhere, nibble sunflower seeds.

It is to supply this universal taste that thousands of acres of those gorgeous flowers are cultivated on the northern border of Malo Russia.

People who have only seen the big sunflower as a garden ornament can have but a dim conception of the magnificent sight afforded by a forty-acre field of these gorgeous yellow blossoms. I first saw a field of them in the morning, when every big round golden face, without an exception in all the myriads, was looking toward the east. The scene was striking, and suggested a vast multitude of floral Aztecs worshiping the morning sun. Not being acquainted with the habits of the sunflower I wondered all the morning whether all those worshipful faces would, in the evening, be turned toward the west. So I watched other fields as we rode along, and learned, what every other reader of these pages very likely knows already, that the sunflower always turns its face to the east.

Here the mind naturally reverted to a period of the past,
when a slim gentleman in knee breeches,long hair, and with a big sunflower in his button-hole, emerged from the fogs of London to create a passing furore in America in favor of the floral
monarch of the Little Russian steppes.

The sunflower crop is one of the best paying in Russia. A good crop is worth, as it stands in the field, 100 rubles a dessiatine (approximately 2.7 acres ), or about $25 an acre. The seeds are sold by the farmer for one and a half to two rubles a pood. Then the merchants retail them for four rubles a pood, and at about every street crossing in Russian provincial cities are stands and peddlers with baskets, selling to the passers-by the product of the big sunflower.

In the field the sunflowers are sowed in rows like the " drilled corn " of the Kansas farmer, and, like corn, are cultivated and hilled up with shovel plows.

Is this awesome, or what!?  The company also made a similar fan where the cigar was a billy club!  

Stevens was a journalist who wrote 3 adventure books, this being a small excerpt from one, another being the first person to ride a bicycle around the world!!
Through Russia on a Mustang
Thomas Stevens
Cassell, 1891

1882 - Puck Cartoon Combining Plants and Presidential Candidates

This has little, or nothing, to do with seeds.  But I like it!

 This cartoon ran two years before the election.

For a quick rundown on this election...Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

1901 - Vick's Nasturtiums, plus, Lamenting Photogravure

The year 1901 falls in the boring period of seed catalogs, after photographic reproductions were considered more modern. Below these images you'll find an article from 1893 describing the new technique of reproducing photographs much more easily than formerly possible. The beginning of the end as far as I am concerned.  The low contrast reproductions in the catalog are so boring and lifeless.

However, the cover and back cover of Vicks Garden and Floral Guide from 1901 still has the wonderful lithographed color and energy of the older catalogs.

 Compare the gray mushy reproduction of the nasturtiums above to this lively engraving from an 1887 Vick's illustrated monthly magazine and floral guide.

If you are interested in the engraved seed catalog work, use the search box
(up at the top of the page on the right) and use the query "engravings".

The beginning of the end...

American Printer and Lithographer, Volume 16 - 1893


By Louis E. Levy.

WITH the exception, perhaps, of the domain of electricity, there is no other special field wherein the recent advances of science have opened so many avenues of progress and effected such notable changes as in the range of the graphic arts. From the time when, fifty years ago, the earlier researches of Scheele and Seebeck on light-sensitive compounds were first wrought into practical shape by Niepce, Daguerre and Talbot, the applications of photo-chemistry have increased in number and extent to such a degree that to-day the various processes of photographic reproduction would require a long catalogue to merely name them. 

Many of these variations, though marked, are unessential; others have proven of scientific interest only, while quite a long list of practical photo-reproductive processes have from time to time been superseded by simpler and more efficient methods.

The new photographic process which I have the pleasure of announcing is, as I trust will appear in practice, an effective and greatly simplified method of producing a photographic reproduction in the form of an intaglio engraving. Such engravings, technically known by the French term "photogravure" have been produced for some years past by a variety of photo-chemical processes, the most notable of which are those wherein the result is attained by means of a chrome-gelatin film. 

The fact that a film of chrome-gelatin becomes insoluble when exposed to light, and remains more or less soluble according to the degree to which light is permitted to act upon it, has been made the basis of a variety of processes for the production of photo engravings.

The gelatin film long served as the most effective means for the production of photo-engravings in relief, and still furnishes the basis for the production of photo-engravings in intaglio. For both purposes the sensitized gelatin film is exposed under a transparent negative or positive, as may be requisite in the subsequent procedure ; the unaffected portions and unreduced quantities of the exposed film are either swelled by absorption of a liquid or are dissolved and washed out, and the film then dried. In this condition it may be printed from direct, or it may be used as a mold to produce a reverse in a fusible metal ; or it may be covered with an electrolytic surface to receive an electrotype deposit, or it may be molded in plaster, wax, guttapercha or other suitable substance,from which, in turn, a reverse can be made by casting or electrotyping.

Intaglio photo-engravings have also been produced by a process wherein the varying amounts of reduced silver left in the developed gelatino-bromide plate are made to serve as a corrosive or etching agency on a plate of copper on which the bromide plate is imposed, but in general practice the washed out gelatin film has thus far proven the most practical means to the desired end. 

In all photo-intaglio processes hitherto known or practiced, the nature of the plate produced and the end sought to be attained is akin to that which is technically known as a mezzotint or aquatint engraving.  The essential feature of such engravings consists of the varying depths to which the design is sunken in the plate, the graduations of depth in the plate corresponding to the gradations of light and shade in the printed impression. The ink being rubbed into the depressions of the design and rubbed off from surface of the plate, the highest parts of the engraving represent the highest lights of the design, the deepest depressions render the darkest shadows and the intermediate depths produce the half-tone gradations of the picture. The difficulties attending the production of photogravure plates with the particular degree of graduation of depth which is responsible for an artistic effect in the printed impression are such that the process is practiced by only a few, the skill and experience needed for the work being obtained only by such individuals as possess artistic capacity and training.

In only one establishment, and that in Paris, has the work been brought to a high degree of quality, and there, as well as in other workshops, the hand of the skillful retoucher is frequently to be credited with the largest share in the final result.

To free this result as far as possible from the limitations of human handiwork, and to bring it forth under the more uniform and definite control of scientific procedure has been my aim in the experiments which have resulted in the present method. 

This method I have named "Photo-mezzotint", not because that is the most exact term by which to denote it, but because all the other good names have been pre-empted and made to do service in other directions.
The essential feature of the new method lies in the general fact that the picture, instead of being obtained from a graduated depth of the engraving, is produced from a sunken surface of uniform depth, the graduations of light, half tone and shade being effected by minute lines and stipples of varying thicknesses, but of uniform distance apart from centre to centre.

In this respect the photo mezzotint may be regarded as a development of the so-called half-tone relief process, the true mezzotint or photogravure effect being attained by reducing the thickness of lines and stipples and multiplying their ratio to the surface to such a degree as to render them invisible to the naked eye. In that way all the finest gradations from pure white to deep black are obtainable, with the result shown by the specimens before us. In these the picture is made up of equidistant stipples, varying from a microscopic point up to a size where they coalesce into a solid black, the half-tones consisting of stipples of about one four-hundreth of an inch in diameter and about 44,000 to the square inch. If a coarser stipple is used the effect varies from that of a mezzotint and approaches more nearly that of a line engraving, the lights and shades being made up of perceptible lines and stipples, like the effects of a steel or copper plate engraving of equal texture.

The processes at present in vogue for the production of photo-intaglio plates require not only long experience and a high degree of manipulative skill, but also take up quite a length of time—frequently a week or more—for their completion, and the plate, after passing the stages of the photo-chemical process, has then still to be extensively helped by the work of the retoucher. The retouching of photogravure plates inevitably introduces a degree of uncertainty as to the accuracy of the reproduction, the result as left by the retoucher being frequently very different from the original in its disposition of lights and shades.

By this new process all of these undesirable factors are eliminated; its manipulations are far more facile, the length of time for the entire work is reduced to a few hours, and the result is complete without the supplementary aid of the skillful engraver, except, possibly, in cases of local blemishes or accidental defects. It is therefore reasonably to be assumed that this new method of intaglio engraving, which has been the subject of an application for letters patent, may be regarded as a desirable addition to the category of the graphic arts.

Monday, August 8, 2016

1890 - Portugal Cabbage to Rocambole - Part 16 of Sturtevant's HISTORY OF GARDEN VEGETABLES

 (Continued from p. 157, Vol. XXIV., 1890.)

Remember, to see the footnotes to find the books he used, go to the link above.
When I insert my comments I try to remember to do it in red type.

 Portugal cabbage. Brassica oleracea costata D.C. 

 THIS cabbage is easily recognizable through the great expansion of the midribs and veins of the leaf, in some cases forming quite half of the leaf, and the midrib losing its identity in the multitude of radiating branching veins.

In some plants the petioles are winged clear to the base. Nearly all the names applied to this form indicate its distribution, at least in late years, from Portugal, from whence it reached English gardens about 1821, and in American gardens, under the name of Portugal Cabbage, about 1850.

It should be remarked, however, that a Choux a la grosse cote was in French gardens in 1612, and in three varieties in 1824.  

This cabbage varies in a direction parallel to that of the common cabbage, or has forms which can be classed with the kales, and the heading cabbages of at least two types. The peculiarity of the ribs or veins occasionally appears among the variables from the seed of the common cabbage, whence atavism as the result of a cross can be reasonably inferred. 

As to the origin of this form, our opinion, at the present stage of our studies, must be largely speculative, but we may reasonably believe that it originated from a different form or a different set of hybridizations than did the common cabbage. 
Most current seed companies call it Tronchuda Kale.
The names are:
  • in English,  braganza, portugal or sea-kale cabbage,  large-ribbed cabbage,  large-ribbed borecole, tranxuda,  couve tronchuda ;
  • in France, choux a grosses cotes, chou tronchuda ;
  • in Spain, col de pezon, col tronchuda ;
  • in Portugal, couve tronchuda, couve mantiega, couve penca 

 The synonymy appears to be: 

Choux a le grosse cote. Le Jard. Solit, 161 2. 
Chou blond a grosses cotes. Bosc. Diet., 1789, 4, 43. 
Brassica oleracea aceppala costata. D.C. Syst, 2, 584. 
B. oleracea costata. D.C. Mem., 182 1, 12. 
Chou a grosse cotes. Vilm., 1883. 
There is a nice blog post on From Seed to Table about growing and preparing couve tronchuda.  Yum!  
This short video is worth watching to see various brassica plants, including the tronchuda cabbage. 

Pot marigold. Calendula officinalis L.

 The flowers are used in some culinary preparations, and for this purpose it is yet grown in some gardens. It has not been used to any great extent in modern times, and even in 1783 Bryant, while noting its common occurrence in gardens, says that the flowers were formerly in high esteem, being gathered and dried to use in soups and pottage. 

It was in American gardens in 1806. 

The plant was described in nearly all the early botanies, and is mentioned by Albertus Magnus in the 13th century. 

 Pot marigold is called, 
  • in France, sonci des jardins
  • in Germany, ringelblume
  • in Holland, goudbloem
  • in Italy and Spain, calendula
  • in Russia, nogotki ;
  • in Arabia, zobejbe
  • by the Greeks at Constantinople, chamobuoreta
  • in Hindustani, gul-i- mariyam, phirki, genda ; 
  • in Bengali, genda phul
  • in Burma, htat-ta-ya
  • at Lahore, adsrioon
  • in Japan, kin-sen-kwa 

Revue horticole, (1852-1974) [artist - J. Eudes]

Potato. Solanum tuberosum L. 
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, vol. 110 (1884) [illustrator - A. Barnard]

 The varieties of the potato are now innumerable, and while of several distinct types of form and color, are all supposed to have been derived from a common wild progenitor. It is interesting to observe, therefore, that varieties were under culture in South America even before the discovery. 

In a vocabulary of a now extinct tribe, the Chibcha, who once occupied the region about the present Bogota, ten different varieties are identified, one of which, "black inside," has not as yet appeared in modern culture. 

At the present time Vilmorin makes an extremely artificial classification, as follows: 

1. the round yellow varieties; 
2. the long yellow varieties ; 
3. the variegated long yellow varieties; 
4. the round red varieties; 
5. the flat pink or red varieties ; 
6. the smooth long red varieties ;
7. the notched long red varieties ;
8. the violet colored and variegated varieties. 

The yellow and red varieties are mentioned by Bauhin in 1596, "fusci vel atrorubentis," or literally, the tawny and the purple.
In 1726 Townsend mentions the white and the red in England, as does Bryant in 1783.

In 1785, Varlo describes nine sorts,

  1. the white round, 
  2. the red round, 
  3. the large Irish white smooth, 
  4. the large round red, 
  5. the culgee, 
  6. the early-wife, 
  7. the white kidney, 
  8. the bull's-eye red.    Hmmm...that's only 8.

In further description he says the Jerusalem is long and full of eyes, the culgee is red on one side, the early-wife does not blossom, and are of a light-red, and the toadback is nearly akin to the large Irish, the skin almost black, and rough like a russetting ; the kidney is oblong, white with a yellowish cast.

Ah ha!  He forgot the toadback in the list.

In 1806 McMahon describes but one kind for American gardens, but in 1828 Fessenden says there are many varieties, and in 1832 Bridgeman says the varieties are very numerous. In 1848 nearly one hundred sorts were exhibited at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston.

Decaisne and Naudin give the number of varieties in France in 1815 as sixty ; in 1855 as four hundred and ninety-three, in 1862 as five hundred and twenty-eight. 

We have grown a number of wild varieties of the potato at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, including the Solanum maglia.  One sort, which has not as yet been identified by us with its specific name, corresponds to the notched class of Vilmorin. The maglia corresponds to the round and oblong flattened forms ; the Jamesii to the round form. The colors of these wild potatoes are said by some growers to include the white, the red, and the variegated. In their habits of growth the maglia forms its tubers deep under the ground, the Jamesii very much scattered and extending a long distance from the plant.

 The synonymy of our types can include those described by Vilmorin, as follows, but I have not attempted to make it complete. 

Round yellow. Vilm., 1885. 
Round as a ball. Ger., 1597, 781 ; 1633, 927.  
Solanum tuberosum. Blackw. Herb., 1773, pi. 523, b. 
White round. Varlo, Husb., 1785, II., 97.

Long yellow. Vilm., 
Ovall or egge fashion. Ger., 1597, 781; 1633, 927. 
Oblonga. Bauh. Prod., 1671, 90. Matth., 1598, 757, cum ic. 
Papas peruanorum. Clus. Rar., 1601, 2,79, cum ic. 

Variegated long yellow. Vilm., 1885. 

Round red. Vilm., 1885. 
Pugni magnitudine. Matth., 1598,757. 
Red round. Varlo, Husb., 1785, II., 97. 

Flat pink or red. Vilm., 1885. 

Smooth long red. Vilm., 1885. 
Solanum tuberosum. Black w. Herb., 1773, pi. 523, b. 
pale red skin

Notched long red. Vilm., 1885. 
? Membri virilis forma. Bauh. Prod., 1671, 90.

Violet colored and variegated
?Atrorubens. Bauh. Phytopin., 1596, 301.
Solarium tuberosum tuberibus nigricantibus. Blackw. Herb., t. 5 86. 
Toadback. Varlo, Husb., 1785, II., 97.
The toadback is nearly akin to the large Irish (potato). the skin almost black, and rough like a russetting.-The Century Dictionary

The figures I have seen, which seem to me to be referable to the maglia species, are : 
Batata virginiana sive virginianorum pappus. Ger., 1 597, yS 1 . 
Solanum tuberosum esculentum. Matth., op., 1598,758; Bauh. Prod, 1 67 1, 89. 
Arachidna theophrasti forte, Papas peruanorum. Clus. Rar., 1601, 2, 79. 
Papas americanus. Swertius, Florelig., 1612, t. 28, fig. 4. 

The potatoes which are now grown in this country were derived from several sources, from England, and of late years from Bogota  in 1847, from Chili in 1850, etc. 

Potatoes were grown in Virginia in 1609, and are also mentioned in 1648 and 1650.
In 1683 Worlidge  says potatoes are much used in Ireland and America, but their introduction into New England is said not to have been until 1719,  at Londondury, N. H., and at Salem, about 1762.
In 1779, however, potatoes were among the Indian foods destroyed by Gen. Sullivan  during his invasion into Western New York. 

This plant has secured a wide distribution, and has been successfully cultivated throughout nearly the whole world. Its northern limits are in Norway, 71 ° 7'; in Russia, the Pinega River, 65 ; Turukansk, 65; Yakutsk, shores of the Okotsk Sea, Kamchatka, Kadjah Island, Sitka Island; Mackenzie River, ; Canada, Labrador, 58 45'; Greenland.
I liked this as it says potatoes are "roots of less note".
The modern names for the potato are : 
  • In France, pomme de terre, parmentiere, tarlanffe, tartufle, etc. ;
  • in Germany, kartoffle ;
  • in Flanders and Holland, aard appel ;
  • in Denmark, jordepeeren ;
  • in Italy, patata ;
  • in Spain and Portugal, patatas ;
  • in Spanish America, papa ;
  • in Norway, potet ;
  • in India, wvlaetee aloo;
  • in Telinga, alu-guddalu ;
  • in Ceylon, rata-innala ;
  • by the Malays, ubi bungala ;
  • in China, at Pekin, shan-yas-tou ;
  • in southern China, ho-lan-shu

Pumpkin. Cucurbita Sp.    See under Squash. 

Purslane. Portulaca oleracea L.

Common purslane is a weed of the garden, and has spread over nearly the whole world. Whether originally an American plant is in doubt, but certain it is that plants called purslane were seen by the early visitors to the American coast. The cultivated purslane differs from the wild in being erect, and Hooker found in northwest India a variety with erect stalks.  

The use of the purslane as a vegetable is noted in the Greek writers under the name andrachne, and by the Romans under this name and portulaca. In the 13th century Albertus Magnus does not mention culture in gardens, and apparently refers to the wild form, "the stems extending over the soil." 

In 1536 Ruellius  describes the erect, green-leaved, cultivated form, as well as the wild procumbent form, and in this he is followed by many of the succeeding botanists.
Rheede tot Drakestein, H.A. van, Hortus Indicus Malabaricus, vol. 10: t. 36 (1690)
Interesting book as many of the engraved plates cross the fold.
I think it may have been disbound and paper conservation done to the getter.

Three varieties are described, — the green, the golden, and the large-leaved golden. The golden varieties are not mentioned by Bauhin in his phytopinax, 1596, nor in his pinax, 1623, but are mentioned just as if a well-known variety in Le Jardinier Solitaire, 1612. 

The green variety is figured by nearly all the earlier botanists. 

The golden has the following synonymy : 

 Pourpier dore. Le Jard. Solit, 16 1 2, 378; Tourn., 17 19, 236; Vilm., 1883, 518. 
 Red or Golden. Quintyne, 1693, 199. 
 Portidaca sativa lutea sive aurea. Ray, 1688, 1039. 
 Golden purslane. Ray, 1688, 1039; Townsend, 1726, 19; Mawe, 1778; Burr, 1863, 392. 

 Purslane was formerly much more grown than at present ; with Quintyne it was a vegetable for forcing.   It is seldom seen in American gardens, but the spinage from the wild plant is occasionally served at table. 
1825 - Lovely drawing; from Flora Graeca; Sibthrop, J., Smith, JE
 Purslane is called 
  • in France, pour pier, porcelin, porcellane, por- chailles ; 
  • in Germany, portidak, kreusel ; 
  • in Flanders and Holland, postelein, postelijn, porcelein ; 
  • in Denmark, portidak ; 
  • in Italy , porcellana ; 
  • in Spain, verdolaga ; 
  • in Portugal, beldroega ; 
  • in Norway, portidak ; 
  • in Russia, schrucha. 
  •  In Arabia, brabra, chamile, doenneb el f arras, ridjlet el f arras ; 43 37 Hooker. Fl. Br.-Ind., I., 240, ex. D.C. Orig. Des. PI. Cult., 70.  
  • in Arabic, rigleh
  • in Bengali, moony a, buroloonia
  • in Burma, myae-byet; 
  •  in Ceylon, genda-kola ; 
  •  in China, ma chi hien ;
  •  in Cochinchina, rau sam ; 
  • at Constantinople, glisrida
  • in Egypt, baglae, ridjle ; 
  • in India, choolee, mooncha, mo one a, khursa, khurfa ;
  • in Japan, bakm, uma biju, siberi fiju ; 
  • in Nubia, segettemum ; 
  • in Persia, turuek, kherefeh ; 
  • in Sanscrit, lonika, loonia; 
  • in Tamil, caril-keeray, puropoo-keeray 

Quinoa. Chenopodium quinoa, Willd.
 This plant was grown as a cereal plant in the table-lands of New Grenada, Peru, and Chili, at the time of the discovery of America, and DeVega  notes that both the Indians and the Spaniards use the foliage as a spinach, as well as the grain. 

In Chili a variety is named by Molina, which yields a white grain, and this is the kind that is used as a vegetable in European gardens.

 A black-seeded variety, cultivated in gardens, is mentioned by Feuille in Peru, preceding 1725. It was introduced in 1785, but has not received very extended use. 

In 1853 seeds from France were distributed from the U. S. Patent Office. 

The white quinoa is called:

in France, anserine quinoa blanc y quinoa blanc ;
in Germany, peruariischer reis-spinat, reis-gewachs ;
in Peru, quinua by the Indians, mujo by the Spaniards ;
in Chili, the white sort, dahue ;
in Bolivia, quinua 

 Radish. Raphanus sativus L.
A giant radish, weighing more than seven and a half pounds! 1626

In European culture the radish is grown for its roots, but in other countries it is grown as well for its leaves and seed. Thus in Sikh, India, Edgeworth  says the radish is cultivated both as a vegetable made of the young buds, and for its oil. 

In Arabia Forskal  says the foliage and not the root is eaten. The Arabs are very fond of the tops of radishes, says Bayard Taylor, and eat them with as much relish as donkeys.
Bayard Taylor, issuer of the above snide comment, was a  an American poet, literary critic, translator, travel author, and diplomat. Wikipedia
BornJanuary 11, 1825, Kennett Square, PA
DiedDecember 19, 1878, Berlin, Germany
Klunzinger describes the radish of Upper Egypt as of a peculiar kind, of which as a rule the leaves only, and not the small sharp root, are eaten. 

 In 1726, in England, radishes were sown for cutting in the first leaf for small salads. The oil-bearing radish of China is grown extensively there for the seeds, from which an edible oil is expressed, and it has been introduced and successfully cultivated in Italy, whence it has reached France. 

This esculent root has been known from a remote antiquity, and has furnished a number of forms which have remained distinct from time immemorial. If the figures given by Woenig as of the radish in the XII. dynasty of Egypt be the radish, we may recognize the turnip-rooted and the long. 

A. P. Decandolle in 1821 divided the radishes into two divisions, the one including the common European sorts, the other the large black or white winter sorts. As a matter of convenience we will treat the various forms as species, giving the history of each. 

 I. Raphanus radicula Pers. 
Botanische wandplaten
This illustration has the feel of a children's book picture :-)

This is the round or turnip radish, the root swollen into a spherical form, or an oval tube rounding at the extremity to a filiform radicle. It has several shades of color, from white to red or purple. Its savor is usually milder than that of the other sorts. 

It seems to be the Boeotion of Theophrastus, who described this form as the least acid, and of a rotund figure, and with small leaves; the Syriacan of Columella and of Pliny. This sort does not appear to have received extensive distribution northward during the middle ages, as they find but little mention in the earlier botanies. 

In 1586 Lyte says they are not very common in Brabant ; but they are figured in two varieties by Gerarde. I am disposed to put here the Raphanus vulgaris of Tragus, 1552, which he describes as round, small, and common in Germany. 

Bontius in 1658 mentions them in Java, and in 1837 Bojer describes them as grown at the Mauritius. In 1842 Speede gives an India name, gol moolee, for the red and white kinds. 

  • Raphanus orbiculatus. Round radish. Ger., 1597, 184. 
  • Scarlet French Turnip. Vilm., 1885, 485.
  • Small Early White Turnip. Vilm., 1885, 487. 
  • Radicula sativa minor. Small garden radish. Ger., 1597, 183. 
  • White olive-shaped. Vilm., 1885, 490. 
  • Olive-shaped Scarlet. Vilm., 1885, 488. 
 Raphanus sativus Mill.  

The root of this class is long, nearly cylindrical, diminishing insensibly to a point at the extremity. It is now the common garden radish. It has a variety of colors from the white to the red, and is noteworthy from the transparency of the flesh. It may well be the radicida of Columella, and the Algidense of Pliny, which he describes as having a long and translucent root. 

It is not described in England by Lyte nor by Gerarde; it is described as in the gardens of Aleppo in 1573-5.   In 1658 Bontius calls them in Java Dutch radish; in 1837 Bojer names them in the Mauritius, and in 1842 Speede gives an Indian name, lumbee moolee

  •  Raphanus minor purpureus. Lob. Obs., 1576, 99; ic., 1591, I., 201. 
  •  Raphanus longus. Cam. Epit, 1586, 224. 
  •  Raphanus purpureus minor. Lobel., Lugd., 1587, 636. 
  •  Radiada sativa minor. Dod., 1616, 616. 
  •  Raphanus corynthia. Bodaeus, 1644, 769. 
  •  Long Scarlet. Vilm., 1885, 490. 
  •  Long White Vienna. Vilm., 1885, 492. 

 Raphanus albus longus. 

 The long white late and large radishes I do not recognize in the ancient writings, unless it be the reference by Pliny to the size; some radishes, he says, are the size of a boy infant, and Dalechamp says that such can be seen in his day in Thuringia and Erfordia. 

In Japan, so says Kizo Tamari, a Japanese commissioner to the New Orleans Exposition of 1886, the radishes are mostly cylindrical, fusiform or club-shaped, from one-fourth of an inch to over a foot in diameter, from six inches to over a yard in length, and J. Morrow says that at Lew Chew radishes often grow between two and three feet long, and more than twelve inches in circumference. (!!) 

In 1604 Acosta writes that he had seen in the Indies "redish rootes as bigge as a man's arme, very tender and of good taste." These radishes are probably mentioned by Albertus Magnus in the 13th century, who says that the radix are very large roots of a pyramidal figure, with a somewhat sharp savor, but not that of raphanus; they are planted in Gronovius' gardens. They seem to have been the principal kind in northern Europe a few centuries later, and are said by Lyte in 1586 to be the common radish of England. 

In 1790 Loureiro  describes them as cultivated in China and Cochin China, and they seem to be the form described by Kaempfer in Japan, in 1712. The radishes figured by the early botanists enable us to connect very closely with modern varieties. 

  •  Raphanus longus. Trag., 1552,732. 
  •  Raphanus. Matth., 1558, 241 ; 1570, 332. 
  •  Raphanus sive radix. Pin., 1561 , 145. 
  •  Raphanus magnus. Lob. Obs., 1576, 99; ic, 1591, I., 201. 
  •  Raphanus alba. Cam. Epit., 1586, 223. 
  •  Raphanus sativus Matthiol. Lugd., 1587, 635. 
  •  Raphanus sive radicula sativa. Dod., 16 16, 676. 
  •  White Strasbourg. Vilm., 1885, 494 
  • Raphanus II.Matth., 1570, 332 ; 1598, 349.  
  • Raphanus secundus Matthiol. Lugd., 1587, 635. 
  • Laon long gray Winter. Vilm., 1885,496.  

  •  Raphanus. Matth., 1558, 241; 1570, 332. 
  •  Raphanus sive radix. Pin., 1561, 145. 
  •  Raphanus sativus matthiolus. Lugd., 1587,635.   
  • Radice. Cast. Dur., 1617, 383. 
  • White Spanish Winter. Vilm., 1885, 497.
Matthioli; Bauhin

  • Raphanus sativus. Garden Radish. Ger., 1597, 183. 
  • Large White Russian. Vilm., 1885, 497. 

Raphanus niger vulgaris A. P. DC.

This radish does not seem to have been mentioned by the ancients. 
In 1586 Lyte says, 
"The radish with a black root has of late years been brought into England and now beginnith to be common."
  •  Raphanus nigra. Cam. epit, 1586, 223. 
  •  Raphanus sive radicula sativa nigra. Dod., 1616, 676. 
  •  Raffano longo. Cast. Dur., 161 7, ap. 
  •  Long-rooted Black Spanish. Bryant, 1783,40. 
  •  Long Black Spanish Winter. Vilm., 1885,496. 

 Raphanus niger rotundus A. P. DC. 

 This is a turnip-rooted or round form of a black radish, usually included among winter sorts. 
  •  Raphanus pyriformis. Ger., 1597, 184. 
  •  Raphanus L. Matth., 1598, 349. 
  •  Large Purple Winter. Vilm., 1885,495. 

 There is another form of black radish figured in the early botanies, of quite a distinct appearance. It answers suggestively to the description, by Vilmorin of the Radis de Mahon, a long red radish, exceedingly distinct, growing in part above ground, and peculiar to some districts in southern France and to the Balearic isles. 

I connect it with diffidence with the following :

  • Raphanus niger. Lob. ic, 1591, I., 202. 
  • Radice selvatica. Cast. Dur., 161 7, 384
  • Raphanus niger. Bod., 1644, jjo.
  • Radis de Mahon. Vilm., 1885, 499. 

 Theophrastus mentions the Corinthian sort as having full foliage, and the root, unlike other radishes, growing partly out of the earth, but the Long Normandy answers to this description as well as the Mahon. The radish was known to Turner in England in 1536 under the name of radyce. It was noted in Mexico in the sixteenth century by Peter Martyr, by Benzoni  in Hayti in 1565, and was under cultivation in Massachusetts about 1629. 

The radish is called 
  • in France, radis, petite rave, rave ;
  • in Germany, radies
  • in Flanders and Holland, radijs
  • in Denmark, haveroeddike
  • in Italy, ravanello, radice
  • in Spain, rabanito
  • in Portugal, rabao, rabanite ;
  • in Norway, reddik ;
  • in Greece, rapania
  • In Arabic, figl, fioyl, bokel
  • in Bengal, moola
  • in Burma, mung-la ;
  • in Ceylon, rabu ;
  • in Egypt, fidjel ;
  • in Hindustani, moola, muli
  • in India, moolee
  • in Japan, daikon ;  
  • in Malay, lobak; 
  • in Sanscrit, mooluka
  • in Tamil, moolinghie ; 
  • in Telinga, mullangi

This radish has pods often a foot or more in length, and these find use as a vegetable. It became known to Linnaeus in 1764;  it reached England from Java about 1816, and was described by Burr as an American kitchen plant in 1863. 

According to Firminger the plant has but lately come into cultivation in India, and there bears pods often three feet in length. These pods make excellent pickles.
 It was at first called in England tree radish from Java in India, rat-tailed radish, the name it now holds in the United States; by Burr, in 1863, Madras radish

 There are a number of radishes now known whose type requires further study before presentation.

Such are the Chinese winter radishes, whose roots are swollen more at the base than at the summit, the oil-bearing radish, etc. The first of these is in general cultivation in Japan. 

There was no guide to this illustration.  The references were within the text, which is in French. I think it is worth reading if you are into radishes as there are some charming comments which one does not see in many English radish articles! An example was left on No. 17 below...

Radish forcing pink round (No. 1)
round scarlet forcing white tip (No. 2)
Pink Round force to end white (No. 3)
the early scarlet round (No. 5)
Radish half long pink to white tip (No. 7)
half-long pink olive shaped (8)
white round (No. 9)
Radish round hasty violet (No. 10)
and white half-long (No. 11).
Radish round yellow extra-early (No. 12 of the board).
Radish round white little early (No. 13)
Pink Radishes round (No. 14)
Radish half long scarlet to white tip (No. 15)
Radish round pink to white tip (No. 16)
Radish half long purple to white tip (No. 17) is a very pretty and elegant two-tone Radish
Radish without forcing bright red sheet (No. 18)
radish rose early round (No. 19)
pink round white tip (No. 20)
half-long scarlet (No. 21)
Radish half along early scarlet (No. 22)
Radish early scarlet round (No. 24)
beef blood Radish round (No. 25)

Rampion. Campanula rapunctilus L.

The roots and leaves of Rampion are eaten in salads.
It is recorded as in gardens by Pena and Lobel in 1570, and is figured by Tragus in 1552, Lobel in 1576, as well as by other writers of this period as an improved root.

In 1726 Townsend says it is but in few gardens in England, and Bryant in 1783 says it is much cultivated in France, but in England is now little regarded.

It is recorded in American gardens in 1806, 1819, 1821, etc.
As late as 1877 an English writer says rampion is a desirable addition to winter salads. 

Rampion is called:

  • in France, raiponce, baton de Jacob, cheveux d'eveque, petite raiponce de careme,  pied-de-saitterelle, rampon, rave sauvage ;
  • in Germany, rapunzel ;
  • in Flanders and Holland, rapunsel ;
  • in Italy, raperonzolo, raponzolo ;
  • in Spain, reponche , raponchigo ; 
  • in Portugal, rapunculo

Red cabbage. Brassica oleracea (capitata) rubra L. 

 The first certain mention I find of this cabbage is in 1570, in Pena & Lobel's Adversaria,  and figures are given by Gerarde, 1597,  Matthiolus, 1598,  Dodonaeus, 1616, and J. Bauhin, 1651.
These figures are all of the spherical headed type. 

In 1636 Ray notices the variability in the colors upon which a number of our seedsmen's varieties are founded. The oblong or the pointed headed types which now occur, I cannot trace. The solidity of the head and the perfectness of the form in this class of cabbage indicate long culture and a remote origin. In England they have never attained much standing for general use,  and as in this country are principally grown for pickling. 

 The Red Cabbage is called 
  • in France, chou pommerouge
  • in Germany, rote kopfkohl ;
  • in Italy, cavalo rosso
  • in Dutch, rood kool ; 
  • in Spain, berza Coloradob; 
  • in India, lal kobee

The synonymy seems to be as follows:
Brassica convoluta and arete occlusa rubro colore.    Adv., 1570, 91.
B. Lacuturria.    Lyte's Dod., 1586, 637. 
B. Capitata rubra.     Bauh. Phytopin., 1596, 176; Pin., 1623, III.; Ger. Herb., 1597, 246; J. Bauh., Hist., 1651, H.,831 ; Ray, Hist, 1686, 621. 
B. rubra capitata. Dod. Pempt, 16 16, 621. 
Chou pomme rouge. Tourn., Inst., 17 19, 219. 
Red cabbage, spherical headed forms
oops...forget where this was

 Dark red early pointed headed. Vilm., Alb. de Cliches, 1885. 
 New Garfield Pickler. Tillinghast Cat., 1884. 
This is NOT New Garfield Pickler,
rather a Russian heirloom from eBay,
but the shape is the cone shaped type.

Rhubarb. Rheum sp. 

 The rhubarb as a vegetable is in more repute in American and English gardens than in France, and is now widely distributed and much grown in American gardens. It is, however, of recent introduction; the first of its kind being only known about 1608, and the first reference I find to its growth as a vegetable in England being in 1778, although its culture probably dates somewhat earlier. It appeared in American gardens before 1806, but in 1821 Cobbett says he had never seen it in America. 
 Rheum rhaponticum

In 1822,  J. Lowell, in the Massachusetts Agricultural Repository, says that thirty years ago we were strangers to the rhubarb, which has now become an article of extensive culture. R. Manning, Secretary of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, says that in 1844 it was acquiring that popularity which now renders it indispensable.

In 1863 Burr describes ten varieties for American gardens. I am not sufficiently acquainted with this genus to refer our cultivated sorts to their proper species, but I cannot agree with Vilmorin in referring them all to one species, Rheum hybridum.

I present the species, in order of introduction, to which our cultivated rhubarbs have been referred by authors. 

  Rheum rhaponticum L.

 A native of Southern Siberia and the region of the Volga, it was introduced to Europe about 1608, and cultivated at Padua by Prosper Alpinus, and seeds from this source were planted by Parkinson in England about 1640 or before.

There is no reference, however, to its use as a vegetable by Alpinus  in 1627, nor by Ray in 1686, although the latter refers to the acid stalks being more grateful than that of garden sorrel. In 1778, however, Mawe says its young stalks in spring, being cut and peeled, are used for tarts.

 In 1806 M'Mahon mentions it in American gardens, and says the footstalks are very frequently used, and much esteemed for tarts and pies. In 1733 Bryant describes the footstalks as two feet long, and thicker than a man's finger at the base.
Nees von Esenbeck, T.F.L., Plantae officinales, 1828-1833 [A. Henry]

Rheum undulatum L. 

 To this species have been referred garden varieties with a red stalk. It is said to be a native of China, and introduced to Europe in 1734.

 It is mentioned in American seed catalogues of 1828.

Decaisne and Naudin  say it is grown in gardens, but is not as esteemed as is the Victoria rhubarb.

In 1840  Buck's and Elford rhubarb are referred to as originating from this species.

 In 1882, a variety called Tartreum  announced in France as new, and highly praised, is referred here.

Good, P.P. , The family flora and materia medica botanica - 1845

Rheum palmatum L. 

 Its habitat ascribed to China neighboring to Tartary, it first reached Europe in 1763 or 1758.

The footstalks are much smaller than those of other kinds, hence it is not in general cultivation.

It is yet rare in France, although this species is superior in quality, as it is quite tender.

Rheum compactum L. 

 A native of Tartary and China, it became first known in Europe in 1758.

In the Bon Jardinier of 1882 it is said to be the species principally grown in France as a vegetable, but Vilmorin  refers his varieties to Rheum hybridum,
but these, it is to be remarked, are English.

Vick's 1895
 Rheum hybridum L.

This is the species to which our largest and finest varieties are usually referred.  It is of uncertain origin.

 It is first noticed in England in 1773 or 1774, but it did not come into use as a culinary plant until about 1827.  In 1829 a footstalk was noted as sixteen inches long. The Victoria rhubarb of our gardens is referred to this species.

 In 1877 a stalk was exhibited at Boston which weighed 2 lbs. 21 ozs., and in 1882, twelve stalks which weighed forty pounds.

Rheum ribes L. 

 This plant is considered by Linnaeus to be the Ribes arebum of Rauwolf, who traveled in the Orient in 1573-5, and who found it in the region of the Lebanon, and its habitat is also given as Eastern Persia.
 Decaisne and Naudin refer to it as grown in gardens in France, but not as esteemed as the R. hybridum, while the Bon Jardinier of 1882 says it is reported the best as an esculent, and is greatly praised.

 Rheum australe, Don.

This species, which is the R. emodi, Wal., is said by Loudon to have an excellent flavor, somewhat resembling that of apples, and excellent for a late crop, and the Bon Jardinier of 1882 says the petioles are longer and more esteemed than those of other species.

On the contrary Burr in 1863 says the leaf stalks, although attaining an immense size, are unfit for use on account of their purgative properties, but the plant is sometimes cultivated for its leaves, often a yard in diameter, which are useful for covering baskets containing vegetables or fruit.

The wild rhubarb about Cabul is blanched for use as a vegetable, and under the name of rezvash is brought to the market.

Gravel is piled about the sprout as it breaks from the earth, and by continuing the process the plant is forced to grow to the height of 18 or 20 inches.

Another process is to cover the sprout with an earthen jar, and the sprout then curls itself spirally within the jar, and becomes quite white, crisp and free from fibre. It is eaten in its raw state with either salt or sugar, and makes a favorite preserve

Rhubarb is called 

  • in France, hubarbe ;
  • in Germany, rhabarber ;
  • in Flanders and Holland, rabarber ;
  • in Denmark, rhabarber ;
  • in Italy, rabarbaro, robarbaro ;
  • in Spain and Portugal, ruibarbo 

Rocambole. Allium sorodoprasum L. (should be Allium scorodoprasum)

 The culture of Rocambole is limited in this country, but in southern Europe the Genoese bring vast quantities to Provence under the name of ail rouge. It is not of ancient culture, as it cannot be recognized in the plants of the ancient Greek and Roman authors, and finds no mention of garden cultivation by the early botanists. 

It is the Scorodoprasum II. of Clusius, 1601,
the Allii genus, ophioscorodon dictum quibusdam, of J. Bauhin, 1651,   but no indications of culture in either case. 

Ray, in 1688, does not refer to its cultivation in England. In 1726 however, Townsend says it is "mightily in request"; in 1783 Bryant classes it with edibles.
In France, however, it was grown by Quintyne in 1690. 

It is enumerated for American gardens in 1806.  No varieties are mentioned. 

 Rocambole is called 
in France, ait rocambole, ail rouge, ail dEspane y eschalote d'Espagne, rocambole
in Germany, roccambol
in Denmark rokambol
in Italy aglio d'Indi
In Portugal, alho de Hespana  

In 1698 in England it was called Spanish-Garlick and in 1826 rockambole.

This illustration is by the great Redouté...I should look for large scans online for his work.

Redouté, P.J., Les Liliacées, vol. 7: t. 379 (1805-1816) [P.J. Redouté]