THE PLANT LIFE OF FLORIDA
CHARLES TORREY SIMPSON
SHE STATE OF FLORIDA covers a great range from
north to south and from east to west, reaching from
latitude 31" on the north to a little below 24'/2 on the
south, a distance of some 460 miles and to within less than
a degree of the Tropic of Cancer. From the Perdido River
on the western end, to the City of Palm Beach at its
eastern edge, it covers about the same amount of longi-
tude. It is the only state in the Union that has any ter-
ritory that is essentially tropical.
Its flora is a mixture consisting of four quite distinct
elements; plants which have their metropolis in the north
and are therefore really temperate; tropical plants which
largely inhabit the lower part of the State and have their
headquarters in the West Indies or the Spanish Main;
warm temperate forms which probably have had their
origin in the southeastern states, and fourthly, a consid-
erable number of species belonging in other countries
which are naturalized within our borders. We probabl-
have well over 3,000 species of plants growing wild and
of these there are more than 75 species of ferns and the
higher cryptogams, 800 endogens and considerably over
In some of the forests of the northern part of the State
the casual observer might well suppose he was in Indi-
ana or Ohio, for he would be surrounded with black, red,
white and bur oak, black walnut, wild cherry, two or more
northern hickories, sycamore, with hazel, honey locust,
beech, box elder, maple and a number of trees, shrubs and
herbaceous plants such as he would see in the woods north
of the fortieth parallel of latitude.
If he proceeded southward he would find an increas-
ing number of temperate things. The Georgia or long-
leaf pine which covers by far the greater part of Florida
would stretch far to the southward; he would find several
species of Nyssa or tupelo and the liquid-amber or sweet
gum, the cypress and a variety of evergreen shrubs and
small trees in the swamps; there would be still the mag-
nolias, the wax myrtle and a variety of hollies and the
temperate vegetation would begin to drop. Especially if he
traveled near the Atlantic seashore the observer would
4 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
begin to encounter a good many tropical plants, the marl-
berries, a couple of members of the Eugenia or stopper
family, a Psychotria, one of the coffee berries and perhaps
a coral tree or Erythrina with a number of others. The
live oaks, the cabbage and saw palmettos which are abun-
dant all over the northern part of Florida would still be
with him and would be found to the lower end of the main-
land. The Georgia pine would begin to be replaced by an-
other of somewhat similar appearance, but a ntive of Cuba.
Quite a number of warm temperate plants would be found
down almost to the southern edge of Dade and Monroe
Counties which form the extremity of the State. But when
one crosses over to the chain of the Florida Keys he is, so
far as vegetation is concerned, in the tropics. The flora of
the Upper Keys is comparatively poor because the coral
islands are very recent, but that of the Lower Keys which
are much older is quite rich in species. On the lower islands
especially one would suppose he was in Cuba, in fact an
expert botanist could only say that he was not there be-
cause of the presence of a few Bahaman plants that do not
grow in the great island. There is a bewildering variety of
trees and they are jumbled together without any order just
as they are in a tropical forest. The south shore of the
mainland, the Cape Sable region and a considerable area
of the southwest mainland have a rather poor but quite
strictly tropical flora, it having been derived from the
Upper Keys by way of a former land bridge which joined
these island to the south shore of the State.
During he Glacial Epoch a great ice cap covered the
northern states down to somewhere in the neighborhood
of the Ohio river and this greatly chilled the climate of
the southeastern states until it is probable that little if
any tropical vegetation that formerly inhabited the penin-
sula survived. An immense number of temperate region
plants were driven south before the glacier and it is very
probable that middle and north Florida had, at that time,
flora similar to what the states lying north of the fortieth
parallel now have. When the ice melted and warm weather
came back most of the present northern plants retreated
to where we find them now, but a number which were
capable of living in a warm climate remained and today
they form a considerable element in the flora of the State,
a few of them extending their range to the southern
extremity of the peninsula. Some of them which remained
were slightly changed by warm climate and new influences
Left: CEDRU DEODARA;
Photo and Planting by Florida Nurey i& lndscape Co,, ibufg
Center: CURVED PHOENIX RECLINATA; Low: PIGMY DATE; ligh COCO0 PLUMOSA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
and so we have a large number of forms which are very
close to northern species but differ just enough to be sep-
arated by the botanists. Our common thistle, a Gerardia,
an Omorpha and a Ruellia may be mentioned as belonging
to this class.
The flora of Texas differs decidedly from that of Florida
but it is probable that within comparatively recent times
some of our plants have migrated to the Lone Star State
around the land along the north shore of the Gulf. No
doubt some of the Texan forms have reached us in a similar
way. Some may have crossed back and forth by means of
seeds carried in the currents of this great body of water.
The Gulf Stream has been the great foster mother that
has tenderly brought in the seeds of hundreds of species
of plants from the tropics and during the time of hurri-
canes or tidal waves has landed them high and dry on our
southeastern shores. A few, as I have stated, came across
in a similar way from the Bahamas during severe storms
among floating material in forms of seeds, but doubtless
most of them came from western Cuba. Such seeds were
washed down from that island during the time of excessive
rains and were caught up by the current and borne to the
eastward and northeastward. The prevailing wind in the
region of the Florida Straits is from the southeast and
under favorable circumstances seeds could be carried in
this way from the great island and landed on our shores
in forty-eight hours. I have seen acres of such seeds
freshly landed on the Lower Keys by a hurricane and
some of them were sprouting.
Florida is a new state, geologically speaking, none of its
surface being older than the Eocene and a considerable
part either Pleistocene or Recent and these are the very
last of the earth's formations. The greater part of it is
composed of silicious sand and on most of this there sprung
up a forest of long leaf pine. No sooner had it developed
than lightning began to strike dead trees, thus setting the
woods on fire. These forest fires destroyed all the ground
vegetation save certain species which by one cunning de-
vice or another were able in some way to protect them-
selves, from the fire. Almost every bit of dead wood, the
leaves and all rubbish was destroyed and only a little resi-
due of ashes was left. This process was kept up by the
action of nature and then primeval man came and greatly
increased the damage by fire, and now since civilized man
NATIVE PLANT LIFE
has come the destruction is far more complete. For this
reason the soils of Florida are generally poor, the excep-
tion being those formed in swamps or low land and the
hammocks. Wherever in the pine woods a space was pro-
tected by natural means from the forest fires there at once
sprung up a variety of broad-leafed trees and shrubs and
as soon as these were established they generally prevented
fire from running over the land. Their seeds were planted
largely by birds which in carrying them in their beaks
dropped them or passed them through, and without a
doubt a rain of such seeds has been falling over most of
the state for thousands of years.
All the leaves, limbs and trunks of dying trees that fell
in the forest were gradually changed to leaf mold and its
soil soon became very fertile and this made conditions still
more favorable for plant growth. A variety of epiphyta
orchids, ferns and wild pines established themselves on the
trees of these hammocks, making the forest bewilderingly
beautiful. I have never seen such enchanting scenes as may
be found in many of our hammocks; they scarcely seem
to be of the earth earthy.
A great area of the lower part of the State is very wet
prairie, the Everglades caused by the overflow of the
great Lake Okeechobee. This is covered with a wonderful
growth of herbaceous vegetation, some of it bearing beau-
tiful flowers, while a number of forms are remarkable
for their extraordinary size. There is a wild millet or fox
tail grass which reaches a height of twelve feet or more
with great heads a couple of feet long, bulrush nearly
as tall with stems an inch in diameter, and an Acnida or
water hemp which springs up from seed and in the course
of a few months attains a height of over twenty feet with
a stem often as large as a man's body. This remarkable
growth very closely resembles a forest when seen from a
The long leaf pine furnishes millions of feet of the finest
timber and several other of our forest trees are valuable
for this purpose. A naturalized plant, Natal grass, which
has overrun the State within a few years, makes fine hay
and pasture besides being decidedly ornamental. Much
of the wild flora is very ornamental and is well worthy
of cultivation, such as the tulip tree, the maples, the mag-
nolia, water and live oaks, the coral tree and the Geiger
tree (Cordia) of the Keys with its great heads of orange
8 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
blossoms. A number of our native orchids are superb, the
fringed orchids of Blephariglottis, Bletia, the Caiopogons
or grass pinks, the Oncidiums and Crytopodiums. Tnere
are a number of splendid Hibiscus, the wild Amaryllis, tme
lovely Crinum and the spider lilies. Thousands of acres
are covered with Iris, sunflowers and other brilliant flow-
In this happy land where winter is but a shadow, where
warm southern winds are laden with the breath of the
tropics, where the sun shines nearly every day throughout
the livelong year and the generous rainfall is distrioutea
with wonderful evenness, vegetation grows with remark-
able vigor notwithstanding the poverty of the soil. The
woods, the swamps and the meadows are forever green,
flowers bloom in all the months and the songs of birds
and the gaudy colors of butterflies constantly add charm
and happiness to the lives of those who are fortunate
enough to be numbered among the residents of Florida.
FLORIDA WILD FLOWERS
BESSIE B. STONE, Daytona Beach
It seems impossible that one should ever have to be on
the defensive concerning Florida wild flowers, but I have
often heard some one say, "O you haven't any wild flowers
in Florida, like ours in the north," and then I feel that it
is my mission in life to be an apostle of our native wild
In delicate tints and frailty corresponding with the
Hepatica of the northern hills are the purple, white and
yellow Butterworts that are early spring visitors with us.
Our violets are just as lovely and numerous as their north-
ern sisters, though differing in varieties.
Our exquisite Atamosco lilies can certainly compare
favorably with the Erythronium, and our silvery Lupine
is even bluer and more luxuriant than that which grows
on northern slopes.
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 9
The pinewood Phlox is precisely the same variety as we
find clinging to rocks on the hills and in pine woods farther
Speaking of Phlox, there are often gay carpets of the
Phlox Drummondi. a supposedly staid garden flower, grow-
ing in the high pine woods and grassy valleys far from
any house or grove. Now, did they join hands and run away
down the path to adventure on some white night by magic
moon light, or did some kindly spirited Johnny Annleseed
scatter them broadcast over the countryside to add a bit
of poetry to this work-a-day world?
Our swamps and river banks are filled with Fetterbush.
Clethra, pink Rhodora and Panicled Dogwood, and in many
parts of our state we have the misty amethyst of the Judas
tree, and the snow of the Cornus Florida.
Even our sandy beaches vield some of the most charm-
ing wild flowers imaginable. I know one bank of white
sand that blooms anew each spring with myriads of low
spikes of purple Milkwort. while the wild Verbena makes
a lovely carpet of violet alone every little beach roadside
and Spanish Bayonets raise their cream sceoters above
the scrub Palmettos side by side with the vivid scarlet
spikes of the Cherokee Bean.
In July and Aueust whole acres of beach sand hl7az
with the coral red of Standing Cypress and the Scrub
Oaks are festooned with the glossy green leaves and frag-
rant white and saffron flowers of the Chiococca Racemosa
which. at Thanksgiving time, change into waxy white clus-
ters of berries.
One of our most fairly-like orchids, the EDidenrlrIm
Tampense, clings in manv-clustered beauty to the twisted
cedars and scrub oaks that have withstood the Atlantic
gales for many long years.
The purple and white Beach Morning Glories tumble
over banks, wreathe themselves above old wrecks, and
dare the sea itself to dislodge them.
Autumn brings to us the same gorgeous panoply of
purple and gold and azure in the Ironworts, Goldenrod
It would take one a very long time to follow Nature's
pageant of wild flowers throughout our entire year, or to
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
explain how certain capricious plants bloom only after fire
has swept over the country, or why a new road built
through the State will cause hundreds of prickly poppies
to spring to life like the dragon's teeth of Cadmus where
no one saw them bloom before. But it is a pleasant thing
to know that there are certain haunts where the same
flowers bloom year after year.
Almost every one in Volusia County will remember the
golden highway that leads every autumn to the St. Johns
River at Osteen ,and how we look down the river from
the bridge to see golden lowlands beside the river's edge,
and golden islands as far as the eye can reach-all pro-
duced by the masses of wild sunflowers growing there.
If ever May comes to Florida and I fail to find the Rose
Pogonia growing in delicate, fragrant masses in a grassy
and fern-decked nook that only the birds and I know of,
then I shall be desolate, for May has always brought them
to that same spot.
June always ushers in the Marsh Pinks, and they, too,
bloom year after year in the same swamps and low pine
lands. Sometimes nature likes to tease us into thinking we
have discovered a new variety by making one that is ordi-
narily a deep rose color, clear white. Of course there are
white varieties of Sabbatia, but the Sabbatia dodecandra,
of which I speak, is usually characterized by magenta rose.
A nature picture that I recall with much pleasure was
thrown on the canvas one December soon after Christmas.
We had driven many miles from civilization through Flor-
ida pine woods, skirting cypress swamps, now dull gray in
their winter attire, climbing slopes canopied by the bright
dark green of Spruce, rolling over bits of prairie land, or
bumping over a corduroy road leading through a low
thicket of Myrtle, until at the very end of the short De-
cember day we hastily pitched our tent on the edge of a
thick hammock just as darkness closed down upon us.
That is why one of the prettiest bits of scenery I have
ever enjoyed came upon me with the light of the morn-
ing as if just created with the new day.
Overhead a few blood-red leaves still clung to the tall
silvery Maples, and many of the Sweet Gum trees held
dark crimson mantles about them. A magnificenly flam-
ing Woodbine hung in festoons over the leaning trunk of
a tree, while a fantastically twisted Holly bore lavish clus-
ters of scarlet berries among the shining leaves.
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 11
The ground was one soft green carpet of moss, and
springing from its depths were hundreds of little button-
sized mushrooms in the most ravishing shades of pink,
rose, scarlet, white, pale yellow and saffron. Some of them
had turned up their edges so that their exquisite under-
fluting was displayed, as a coquettish girl displays the
silken lining of her coat. Others made themselves into
almost perfect balls, so that they seemed to have no stems.
Yet others had grown such slender, transparent stems and
such oddly shaped tops, that they bore the appearance of
Through this fairyland a miniature stream, bordered,
with ferns and lance-leaved white violets, wound its way
through many a bend and waterfall till it reached the large
stream of a creek below. I held my breath in delight,
looking to see Titania step forth into this, her kingdom.
It was not granted to a mere mortal to gaze upon her
elfin loveliness, but stooping to listen, I caught the fairy,
silken whisper of her garments as she passed.
WORLD CROPS FOR AMERICA
How Modern Science Combs the World for New Things
To Eat, Picking and Choosing for the Menu of
from an article by
R. P. CRAWFORD, in Scientific American
What shall we eat a hundred years from now? Will
it still be the conventional beefsteak and potatoes or shall
we have entirely different appetites? What will our farms
grow? Will it be corn and wheat or shall we be planting
new crops of which America knows nothing today?
The civilized world did not always eat potatoes and
many people only a few years ago regarded tomatoes-
"love-apples," they called them-as poisonous. We are
continually changing and developing our appetites and
what we regard as a weed today we may eat tomorrow.
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
It must be remembered that certain areas of our
country are amazingly similar to areas in far-off lands.
What grows successfully in other countries may be grown
successfully in America under the same conditions. One
part of our country may be undeveloped because appar-
ently nothing can be grown there profitably, but in a re-
mote corner of the globe may be people living under exact-
ly the same conditions.
There is today in the United States one organization
whose sole work consists in finding new foods for America.
It is the Office of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction of
the United States Department of Agriculture. Although it
has had little recognition and few people know of its exist-
ence, its influence, its correspondence and its explorers
touch the far-off corners of the globe where white men
seldom tread. It is one of the most romantic of govern-
ment bureaus. Its exnlorers, whose sole duty is to discover
new plants for America, travel from the heart of Africa
to the innermost recesses of China. Its record of achieve-
ment is written in deeds quite as full of interest and as
thrilling as more openly dangerous exploits.
Consider the date palm as an example of one of its ac-
complishments. Dates are now being grown successfully
in California and the southwest, and the nucleus of a suc-
cessful American industry has been formed. There are now
about a million date palms around Indio, California. Ex-
Derimental date orchards were established at Mecca and
Indio, California, more than 25 years ago, and a large
number of the best Old-World varieties of dates have been
There is long-staple cotton, which has become such a
success in Arizona and neighboring states. This was im-
ported from Egypt. "There is nothing comparable to the
development of the long-staple cotton industry, unless it
be the achievement of these East Indian magicians, and
behold, a tree grows before one's eyes," is the way one ex-
pert put it. The first plantings were made around Phoenix
in 1900. For 12 months or so the experiments with this
Egyptian cotton were carried on until it was felt that it
could be grown on a commercial basis. The first year 400
acres of commercial cotton were planted. A few years
later the cotton crop of the Salt River Valley for one year
would have paid the cost of two reclamation systems such
as now supply it. Long-staple cotton is used in making
NATIVE PLANT LIFE
automobile tires, mercerized goods, and some of the finer
The Department of Agriculture spent $2000,000 intro-
ducing a rice and establishing an industry in California
worth in one year $20,000,000. Then there is durum wheat
introduced from Russia. Land in the northwest that form-
erly would not grow crops now produce from many, many
million bushels of wheat. The Department of Agriculture
introduced the naval orange from Brazil and a single year's
output in California is counted by the millions of boxes.
Several varieties of navals are now grown in Florida, also.
In the southwest and many parts of the plains states
corn can not be grown. The world was searched for suit-
able crops and the result was that the grain and forage
sorghums were introduced. Sudan grass, introduced from
Africa only back in 1909, has now become a very popular
crop in the southern states, and is growing in favor
throughout the Middle West. Peruvian alfalfa was intro-
duced from Peru in 1899. It has been especially popular
and suited to the southwestern and western coast of the
United States. It starts growth earlier in the spring and
continues later in the fall, with consequently more cut-
tings per season.
These instances are perhaps enough to convince one of
some of the things that have been accomplished for Ameri-
can agriculture by matching conditions in the United
States with conditions in other countries where certain
crops are being raised successfully. Of course not all of
these crops were developed entirely through the office of
Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction, because they are
matters requiring the cooperation of different lines of
agriculture and of individual farmers.
Before any new plant immigrants are permitted to enter
the United States they must go through Ellis Island. Not,
however, the Ellis Island of the Russian and Polish immi-
grant, but the plant importations have their own Ellis
Island. These field workshops and laboratories of the Office
of Foreign Seed and Plant Introductions are located in
Washington, D. C.; Miami and Brooksville, Florida; Bell
(near Glendale), Maryland; Bellingham, Washington; Sa-
vannah, Georgia, and Chico, California. As soon as the
new plant immigrant arrives in .his country it must go to
one of these stations to be officially inspected to see if
it is a desirable citizen. Some of the plants, like people,
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
have diseases which if they ever gained a foothold in this
country would prove disastrous. If they pass the exam-
ination, the seeds or cuttings are next planted at one of
the stations. In a short time seeds or plants are ready
for distribution to farmers and nurserymen who are known
to be in a position to care for them. As the seed and new
plants become more plentiful from year to year the dis-
tribution is made on a wider scale, and finally practically
anyone who desires some of the new plants is given a few.
Those receiving the plants or seeds are expected to make
reports as to their progress.
The station at Brooksville, Florida, was established to
match the conditions in the moister but not tropical por-
tions of China and Japan. The Chico station in California,
because of its abundance of irrigation water, its high sum-
mer temperature, long growing season and mild winters,
makes possible the trying out of widely varying crops. The
Bellingham, Washington, station has to do especially with
experiments with flowering bulbs. The station in Wash-
ington, D. C., is where most of the disease inspection work
is carried on, as well as many laboratory experiments of
a miscellaneous character.
There are few tnmgs more romantic than the work of
an agricultural explorer. Most explorers deal more or less
with the evident things in a country. The agricultural
explorer deals with things that to an ordinary person
would be almost invisible. He must travel to the out-of-
the-way places and study individual plants. The ordinary
explorer would give them only passing notice. To be a
successful explorer one should also have a wide knowledge
of agricultural conditions at home so as to be able to
know a "find" when he sees it.
Probably few have done as much for agricultural ex-
ploration as Barbour Lathrop, who was awarded some
time ago the first of the Meyer Memorial Medals. Mr.
Lathrop as a private citizen conducted numerous ex-
peditions in search of rare plants the world over at his
own expense. Often he took representatives of the De-
partment of Agriculture on these excursions and paid all
the cost of the journey. Mr. Lathrop first took David Fair-
child, now the head of the Office of Foreign Seed and
Plant Introduction, with him. On the trip he and Mr.
Fairchild concluded that the work should be done in a big
way. A plan was suggested to James Wilson, then Secre-
NATIVE PLANT LIFE
tary of the Department of Agriculture, and he ordered it
put into effect.
Mr. Lathrop and Mr. Fairchild made a three-year agri-
cultural exploration, visiting every continent and one-half
of the countries of the world. At one time he purchased a
private bamboo grove near Savannah, Georgia, and pre-
sented it to the Department of Agriculture on a 99-year
One of the famous explorers of the Department of Agri-
culture was Frank N. Meyer, who at his death a few years
ago left the money establishing the Meyer Memorial Medal
to be awarded to agricultural explorers. Mr. Meyer special-
ized in China; he had walked 10,000 miles through the
heart of that country, Manchuria, Korea, and parts of
Tibet and Russian Turkestan, looking for plants that
might be of value in America. As David Fairchild once
so aptly said of him:
"His hardy yellow rose peers in upon me through my
study window, and up in tne border his scarlet lily is in
bud, while the perfume of his lilac has barely passed away.
His white-barked pine is dusting its pollen mto the air,
his Euonymous and his hardy bamboo are growing at ti.
corners of the house, and his dry-land elm with its delicate
branches shades the entrance. So much of China has he
successfully transplanted to this country."
AMERICANIZING TROPICAL FRUITS
From an article by HAMILTON M. WRIGHT, in
"America's Leading Food Magazine"
Imagine your first taste of a new tropical fruit whose
flavor is at once so delicious and so elusive that you can-
not tell whether it resembles nicely ripe bananas, fragrant
fresh strawberries, or pineapples, whether it is a combina-
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
tion of all of them, or whether it is a distinct attribute
of its own. Such is the fruit of a vine-like plant scientifi-
cally known as Monistera delciosa, a native of Trinidad,
which enjoys the rather unique distinction of being de-
scribed as "delicious" even in its botanical classification. A
four-year-old specimen of this plant, now growing neai
Miami, Florida, is the marvel of visitors, and its fruits
bring one dollar each. The plant itself has a blossom tha,
suggests a large calla lily, and the fruit requires about
eignteen months to mature. But it is well worth waitin-
for, for when it ripens it suggests nothing so much as a
glorified ear of corn, whose great plump kernels are so
sweet and juicy that children prefer them to candy. They
are arranged about a central inedible core much as kernels
are arranged on the cob of an ear of corn.
The Monistera deliciosa is only one of scores of delicious
new fruits, many of which are totally unknown to north-
ern housewives and chefs, and introduced from the tropi-
cal Orient, South Africa, and tropical America, that have
been successfully fruited in the southern part of Florida.
Many of them have been introduced by the U. S. Plant In-
troduction Garden. There are also root crops, grasses, as
well as soil enriching legumes and shrubs and trees that
are the sources of valuable medicines. Some very fine plant
immigrants have been introduced by the Agricultural De-
partment of the State of Florida.
Much progress has been made in southern Florida in the
cultivation of the mango. This is the famous and evergreen
shade tree of which a specimen was presented to Buddha
that he might find relief in its shade. Some of the oldest
mango trees in the vicinity of Miami were cut down
to make way for the real estate boom of the 20's, but the
tree is cultivated as far south as the Redlands district on
the east coast. The mango is a native of South Asia and the
Malay Archipelago. Some of the best specimens of the fruit
raised in Florida have brought as hight as a dollar and a
half each in the Northern Hotels, although almost all of the
product is consumed locally. The choice budded varieties,
with their rich, spicy flavors, tempting fragrance, and
beautiful coloring, make one of the most attractive des-
serts that can be imagined.
Three varieties were planted in commercial orchards
in the region of Homestead, south of Miami. They are
the Mulgoba, the Haden and the D'Or. The government
NATIVE PlANT LIFE 17
exnerts by selective breeding have improved many of
these stocks. reducing the fibre and improving the quality
renerallv. A larre variety of mangoes has been intro-
duced and fruited.
The mango can be cooked and preserved in many at-
tractive ways. Green mango pie, ripe mango pie. fried
mangoes. manro dumplinPs, canned mangoes, manno mar-
malade (which is one of the most delicious marmalades).
mango iellv. manpo sweet nickle, and its use in chutneys
are among the popular recipes recommended.
A very delicious and anite nourishing fruit is the star
anole. It has been introduced from Jamaica, Cuba. and
other nearby regions of trnnical America. The tree Prows
in Florida as far north as Palm Beach to a height of about
thirty feet. but. unfortunately, its range seems limited h'"
its tropical requirements. No tree of this species. so far
,s is known has ever prown to fruiting size in California
Ordinarily the star noole fruit is round, but it is some-
time oblatp. ranging from two to four inches in diameter.
like a small to medium-sized northern apple. In some varin-
ties the somewhat glossy, smooth surface is of dull ournlu
hue, while others are light green. The flesh is sweet meit
inz. and leas.antlv flavored, and is formed in eight trin"-
Inrent, whitish segments in which the seeds are embedded.
When cut in two, the segments present a star-like anner"
,nce whence the name. It is eaten fresh, but makes won-
One of the Caribbean fruits that has spread all over the
tropical world, where it is now one of the most common
is the paw paw, or papaya (Carica panaya, L.), which,
however, must not be confused with the northern paw
paw. I have eaten it in Hawaii, and it also furnishes
one of the most popular desserts in Brazil and in many
tropical countries is used as a breakfast fruit in much
the same manner as a muskmellon or cantaloupe is
used in the United States. When sliced and served with
sugar and whipped cream, it is delicious. It contains a
milky juice in which an active principle known as papain
is present. This enzyme greatly resembles animal pepsin
and has become an article of commerce, being a valuable
remedy in dyspepsia. The papaya can be grown in great
numbers wherever the climatic conditions are favorable
NATTVP PTANr LTFE
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
It springs up everywhere in the Florida Keys, growing in
the hammock land and sandy soil in Florida as freely as
apple trees in the north. Its rate of growth is extremely
rapid. Dr. Fairchild of the U. S. Department of Agricul-
ture found that papaya seeds, planted in a greenhouse in
February, produced young seedlings large enough to graft
some time in March. Indeed, papaya trees in Florida have
been known to sDring from seed to blossom in less than
twelve months. The fruit oftentimes grows in such hearv
bunches that it kills the tree. Fifteen or twenty papayas
are not uncommon in a single bunch.
While entirely successful in the southern part of Flor-
ida, the papaya can also be grown in protected situations
Where light frosts are experienced. Because of its hicr
productivity, rapid growth, and appetizing quality, this
fruit is becoming known and liked almost everywhere in
the United States.
From South America comes the carissa or Natal plur'
which has become fairly common in southern Florida. The
fruit is used for jellies and preserves, and the plant itself
is frequently used for ornamental purposes.
The sugar apple and rose apple must not be confuseO
with the star apple already mentioned. There is also a
fourth fruit called aDDle, the custard or alligator anDol
which rows in the Everglades and also in West Africa
and other countries. The custard apple, however, has nn
value as a fruit, though it can be used as a stock for graft-
ing the sugar apple. The latter, Annona Snuamosa, is yel-
lowish-green in color, two or three inches in diameter, has
a tender white pulp, and is sweet and slightly acidulous i-
flavor. The sugar apple is a dessert fruit and in Florida
ripens six months of the year. The rose apple is an orna-
mental member of the myrtle family, bearing a small apri-
cot-colored fruit one or two inches long. The fruit exhale-
a delicious fragrance like that of the rose. Therefore, its
name. The fruit is crisp, juicy and sweet when preserved,
crystallized or otherwise cooked.
The white sapote, Casimiroa edulis, has been fruited at
the U. S. Plant Introduction Garden at Miami. The fruit
is described as most delicious of soft melting texture, and
sweet, or slightly bitter flavor. The flesh is yellowish and
there are five large oval elliptical seeds.
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 19
The canistel is a rich, very sweet fruit of muskmelon
fragrance. The cashew is a relative of the mango. The
canistel is not as important as the cashew, which has the
distinction of furnishing both a fruit and also a nut which
is an important article of commerce.
The canistel has a yellow skin and bright orange flesh
which is soft and mealy in texture. The fruit is round
and oval in form and grows from two to four inches ir
length. The tree grows as far noht as Palm Beach. The
more important cashew is the source of much prized wine
which is manufactured on a commercial scale in Brazil.
The fleshy part of the fruit is called the cashew apple to
distinguish it from the true fruit or cashew nut. The apple
reaches three and one-half inches in length, and its skin.
which is very thin and easily broken, is commonly brilliant
yellow or flame scarlet in color, while the flesh is very
juicy and light yellow. The nut, which also has a commer-
cial value, is about an inch long. It must be roasted before
the shell can be bitten into, as the shell of the fresh nut
contains acids which burn the mouth and lips.
Almost of greater interest even than the introduction
of tropical fruits is the propagation of tropical medicinal
plants, shrubs and trees. Among the most interesting
seeding are those propagated from the chaulmoogra
oil tree, whose seeds were obtain by the agricultural
explorer, Joseph Rock, from the jungles of Burma.
Chaulmoogra oil for centuries has been used as a palliative
for leprosy by the natives who took it internally an"-
applied it externally. It was found, however, that when cer-
tain derivatives of the oil were administered to leprous
patients in the earlier stages by intramuscular injections
the best results were obtained. Leprous patients in Hawaii
who had been thus treated were released under parole ar
being no longer a menace to the community. The oil is
obtained from the seed of the adult tree, which are con-
tained in a nut or pod. It is possible that some of the
medicinal value of the seeds is lost by the native treat-
ment, and if the trees can be artificially propagated
this wonderful remedy for the dread leprosy can be
obtained under the best circumstances.
The chaulmoogra oil specific is more efficacious at the
Kalihi receiving station, for its greatest effect is obtained
LIGUSTRUM JAMONICUM-A BgautifuI Ormgntil
P' d yP d rr s~ e oLebr
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 21
in the early stages of the scourge, and the leper colony at
Kalaupapa on the Isle of Molokai receives only relatively
advance cases. So highly did John D. McVeigh, one time
Superintendent of the Molokai colony, regard the treat-
ment, that he predicted the close of the Molokai colony
within twenty years if diseased persons would surrender
themselves and receive treatment in time.
The avocado, pronounced by some notable dietitians to
be "the perfect food." is now being grown successfully in
Florida and exported to an increasing extent to the north
Many varieties of the fruit are grown-some of them of
large size, reaching two and three pounds. The avocado
is a real food. There is nothing in the definition of the
word fruit which prevents it also being regarded as a food.
except the fact that many fruits are limited in the nutri-
tion they supply. This is not the case of the avocado. The
U. S. Department of Agriculture provides the following
analysis and comparison between milk and eggs and the
Water --------.....------.~-.... -----...-... 72.8 73.7 87.0
Protein ........................................ 2.2 1.48 3.3
Carbohydrates ................-.......-- .. 4.4 ...... 5.0
Fats --.....-......-.......... ..- ...........-.. 17.3 10.5 4.0
Crude Fiber .............................. 1.4
Ash ---................ ----... .........-.. 1.9 1.0 .7
Further comparison is furnished in the following state-
ment from the same department:
"Eggs contain a combination of substances intended by
nature, with the action of heat and moisture, to revert into
life and activity: milk contains the natural substances in
the most correct proportions to build, sustain and repair
friction from action in animal life, especially in its infantile
stages: the avocado contains the elements of food intended
by nature to build, sustain and repair animal life in its
advanced stages, when friction is greatest by the activitie-
Natives of tropical countries think that avocado takes
the place of meat. The protein content is greater than that
of any other fresh fruit. While avocado growing on a large
commercial scale is in its infancy in Florida, the tree
flourishes in the Redlands district south of Miami. The
most desirable varieties bring from six to thirty dollars.
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
and even more per crate of thirty-six to forty fruit. Seventy
trees can be grown on an acre, yielding from one to three
crates at six years, and while data on actual profits in
avocado growing is not readily available, many individual'
trees have returned thousands of dollars to their owners.
PLANT IMMIGRATIONS MAKE GOOD IN FLORIDA'S
Based upon an article in the Christian Science Monitor by
DR. BEVERLY T. GALLOWAY
Plant Pathologist, United States Department of Agriculture.
I hesitate to say what would happen to Florida if all the
plant immigrants that have gone into the State and made
good should be taken away. There would be no oranges or
grapefruit, mangoes or avocados, pineapple or bananas
and a lone list of other fruit, vegetables, farm crops, and
what not. Florida would revert to its original wilderness
and would have little but climate on which to fall back.
WORLD SEARCH FOR NEW CROPS
As a background for our story of plant immigrants that
have made good in Florida, we should like to put down a
few words about the way our government has searched
the world for new plants and used them in helping to
build up great crop industries here. This work has been
going on for a long time, but it has only been within thr
last 35 years that it has been organized and systematized.
There have been romance, tragedy, and some comedy
associated with it. Even before the government took r
hand there were intrepid pioneers with wide vision who
saw the possibilities of plant introduction.
Dr. Henry E. rerrine was one of these early workers
and the first, we believe, to introduce tropical plants into
Florida. Dr. Perrine was a plant lover and had faith in his
country and especially Florida. He was sent to Yucatan
as American Consul more than 100 years ago, and his let-
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 23
MR. COLLINS, EFFORTS
ters to this government show that his whole thought was
for making a tropical garden out of Florida. He finally
received a big grant of land near where our present Plant
Introduction Garden is located at Chapman Field, a few
miles south of Miami, and he immediately began introduc-
ing new crops. He was just getting started in this work
when he was slain by Indians August 7, 1840. For many
years there after Florida was considered practically hope-
less as a crop-producing actuality.
With what wonder would the good doctor view today the
incomparable gardens around Miami, the like of which for
variety and beauty, are found nowhere else in the world.
Coming to a more recent period, I recall a few years ago
standing in the shadow of one of the magnificent palaces
at Miami Beach, called a hotel, and talking with a plants-
man and pioneer who had vision. I remarked on the beauty
of the scene, the blue sea, the wonderful tropical vegeta-
tion, buildings that reminded one of Arabian Nights stories.
and over all an atmosphere of quiet and peace. The pioneer.
with whom I talked, landed on this practically unknown
coast less than three decades ago, and what do you sup-
pose he did? Planted cocoanuts-thousands of them.
The nuts often had to be floated ashore, as there was no
other way to land them. This intrepid man, with a partner.
traveled up and down the coast for 40 miles planting co-
coanuts. Later he began planting large groves of other
tropical fruits, such as avocados, mangoes, and many
tropical palms, and then came the great rush and Miam'
Beach blossomed into a tropical wonderland, surpassing
anything the Old World can show. The pioneer, J. S
Collins, lived to seel all this come to pass.
But to come back to what the government through the
Department of Agriculture, has done in systematically
organizing plant introduction work, it may be said that the
first steps in this enterprise were taken something over
35 years ago when James Wilson of Iowa was Secretary of
Agriculture. James Wilson, a man of broad vision, saw the
possibilities of this wonderful field and put one of his young
men, David Fairchild, at work on the job. Agricultural
explorers were appointed and sent into the byways and
highways of China, India, Japan, Africa, South and Cen-
tral America, and the islands of the seas, in search of new
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
crops. David Fairchild was one of these pxnlorers. Tn fact
he snent a good many vears at it, came back, and devoted
the best part of his life in making it a success.
In addition to the agricultural explorers the government
sends out, there has been built up a corps of cnrresnond-
ents and collaborators in all parts of the world. This corns
of valuable aids is made up of American consuls, mission-
aries, army officers of many nations, travelers. soldiers of
fortune, and all and sundry who may be useful. They are
all working for Uncle Sam and the story of a few things
some of these good peoDle have accomplished would make
a volume. Of course. the benefits are not all one way. fo*
in exchange for what the countries they are in -ive us, we
try to give value received in the shape of seeds or plante
of our own development.
Thus has been built un an office of Foreign Seed and
Plant Introduction. an office that has introduced nearly"
75.000 numbered new and promising nlant immigrants in
the last 35 years. And, in doing this work. we believe
we have gone ahead of our colleagues who have looked
after the human immigrants that have come to our shores
for we have a record of every one of the 75.000 different
lots that have come in. know how they have behaved, and
whether they have made good. The record, known as Plant
Inventories, containing descriptions alone of our plant
immigrants, consists of 74 volumes, each aggregating 50
to 75 pages. Every one of these plant immigrants, upon
arrival, is submitted to rigid inspection and fumigation. W,
take no chance of introducing new crop pests along with
the crop itself.
When our plant immigrant gets into the country, we are
not through with it by any means. We have gardens. sort
of plant Ellis Islands, where our new friends are placed
on probation, as it were, so that we can keep an eye on
them for a time. For more than 30 years we have main-
tained one of these plant introduction gardens in southern
Florida, most of the time in or near Miami, and more re-
cently at Chapman Field. The story of this little garden
alone would make an interesting one. Here, even now, can
be found some of the old trees of avocados and mangoes.
Carissas, Surinam cherries, and other plants that consti-
tute the parents of thousands that have been distributed
in many parts of the State. We must pass by the story of
the garden, however, and what it has done and speak more
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 25
particularly of crops that have been introduced and wha,
nas happened to them.
PLANT IMMIGRANTS IN FLORIDA
We shall pass over some of the big money-making crups,
like the orange, grapefruit, and pineapple. These are aid
established anu are bringing to the State a good many mil-
lions or dollars annually. The federal and state govern-
ments have done much to foster these big industries, Dut
they are now on their feet and can take care of themselves.
We want to speak particularly of some of the more im'por-
tant o0 what may be called our struggling plant immi-
grants that still have to make a place for themselves in the
sun or the land, whichever may sound best. And may we
pause for just a moment to say that it often takes a long
time and many ups and downs for a planI inunigrant to
make good. Witness the tomato, long regarded as a mere
curiosity, a "love-apple," not suited for food, and even
sometimes poisonous. The potato, too, had a long struggle
before it was accepted as food in good standing.
The mango is a good fruit to start with because it is a
very old one, whose praises have been sung by men o.
many kinds and many climes for hundreds of years. The
people of India were growing and singing the praises o0
the mango long before the Christian Era. It was Dr.
Perrine, to whom we have already referred, who probably
brought the first mangoes to Florida. They were lost, anu
then about the beginning of the Civil War another ship-
ment came in. Along in the early nineties the Department
of Agriculture took a hand and introduced some choice
Now, before going any farther, let us see what a mango
is and how it grows. It grows on a tree and the tree is a
beautiful evergreen with long, narrow, glossy leaves. The
tree in Florida is 15 to 25 feet high, has a rounded sym-
metrical form, and even as a shade tree is well worth while.
The fruits vary according to variety, the best ones, ulKe
the Mulgoba, Haden and Amini, often weighing 9 to 10
ounces to more than 20 ounces each. The best mangoes
have a flavor and piquancy all their own. They have sweet
yellow flesh and a thick, tough, greenish and sometimes
beautifully colored skin. There is one large seed in the cen-
ter of the fruit. The fruits are borne on long pendulous
stems and a tree loaded with them is a beautfiul sight.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The Department of Agriculture has introduced a large and
varied assortment of mango varieties from all parts of the
world where the tree thrives. From the little garden on
Brickell Avenue, Miami, it has sent out many hundreds of
EASY FRUIT TO HANDLE
Nurserymen and private individuals have not been idle
and have done much to popularize the truit and bring i.
good qualities to public notice. Since our people have as-
sumed responsibilities in the tropics, travel more, and see
more of the out-of-way places of the world, a greater de-
mand for such things as the mango has developed. Mangoes
from Florida are now shipped to many of our northern
markets where they sell at good prices. It is an easy
fruit to handle, to ship, and to market, but a rather
messy one to eat. Some one has said that the way
to enjoy a mango is to eat it in a bathtub. Florida has a
monopoly on the production, for the southern part of the
State is the only region in the United States proper where
it has been grown in marketable quantities. The mango, no
doubt, has a future and is another one of our immigrants
of which we may well be proud.
It is fitting in closing this little story of the mango, that
we should say a word about one of the children of the
mango immigrants. The Haden mango is believed to be a
child of the Mulgoba. The Mulgoba came from India. More
than 50 years ago there was a professor of military sci-
ence at the University of Missouri. Captain Haden had
been assigned to this duty by the War Department at
Washington. Captain Haden later moved to Florida and
took up his residence in the wilderness where Cocoanut
Grove is now located. The Captain and Mrs. Haden were
ardent plant lovers and soon had a pioneer plant garden
The Haden mango originated from a seed of the Mulgo-
ba planted by the captain. It was a good seed, for mangoes,
like apples, peaches, pears, and plums, do not come true
except where propagated by buds, cuttings, scions, or other
vegetative arts. One might plant 10,000 mango seeds and
then get nothing but bearers of worthless fruit. Captain
Haden planted one seed and the Haden is the result.
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 27
STORY OF THE AVOCADO
The Department of Agriculture at Washington has con-
ducted a number of explorations in search of new and
promising types of avocados. In 1916 and part of 1917,
Wilson Popenoe, an agricultural explorer for the depart-
ment, spent 18 months in Guatemala searching for and
sending home one of the largest collections of avocados
ever brought together. Mr. Popenoe traveled the moun-
tains and valleys of Guatemala on foot and on mule back
locating desirable types and sending back bud wood for
propagation. The avocado, like the mango, does not come
true from seed, hence twigs or branches containing living
buds had to be sent many hundreds of miles to Washing-
ton, where in special greenhouses, thousands of avocado
seedlings were growing ready to receive the buds.
After making sure that every bud was absolutely free
from insects, etc., a single bud was made to grow on each
seedling. The bud thus transplanted has all the characters
of the tree from which it was taken. The seedling root
and stem merely serve as the nourishing mother. Between
five and six thousand of these baby avocado immigrants,
representing nearly 30 different kinds of avocados, were
distributed and a number of them have already made
good in Florida. Numerous other introductions have been
made and several new types have originated within the
state, so the avocado is well on its way to recognition as
an important food crop.
The avocado tree is not so handsome as the mango and
usually has a somewhat bedraggled appearance in winter
time. It is an evergreen, blooms in March and April, and
fruits from July to January, depending on the variety.
Late fruiting varieties are much in demand. The avocados
vary greatly in size, shape, color, and quality. Varieties
like the Pollock may weigh as much as 50 ounces; Trapp,
a native of the State of Florida and one of the best, runs
from 18 to 20 ounces in weight. The Trapp, which may be
taken as a typical round avocado, is like a big green cro-
quet ball. The skin is about one-sixteenth of an inch
thick, very firm and tough.
A cross-section reveals the firm yellow flesh making up
over one-half of the weight of the entire fruit. In the
center is one large seed which easily slips out, leaving
just the right kind of receptacle for salad dressing, vine-
28 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
gar, salt, or both. Our favorite way of eating the avocado
is to take it right out of the shell, using just a httle sait
to bring out the fine flavor.
There are three distinct races of the avocado-West
Indian, Guatemalan, and Mexican. The first is tropical and
will stand but little frost. The second is more hardy and,
as a rule, gives fruits of the best quality. The third, or
Mexican, is the hardiest of all but the fruits are usually
thin skinned, small, and more suitable for local use. Then
there are some hybrids or "crosses." The thick, round-
shelled avocados are good shippers and are found in many
of our northern markets. The avocado has a great future
in Florida and now that the State is filling up so fast with
people there ought to be a big local demand for the pro-
duct. As an article of diet it is to be commended, for it
can be made to take the place of some of the heavier
meat fats, providing energy in a very desirable form.
Now let us turn for a little while from things that grow
on trees above ground to things that grow on very differ-
ent plants underground. Dasheens and tropical yams are
the things we want to talk about. The names are sugges-
tive of pirates, pieces of eight, etc. What the potato is to
millions of folks in the temperate regions, dasheens ana
yams are to great masses of humanity in the tropics. The
dasheen is an underground corm or tuber in which the
plant stores up quantities of starch. The leaves of the
dasheen are like those of our common garden plant, the
Dasheens are planted much like potatoes, only small
corms or cormlets are put in the ground and not cut into
pieces like the potato. In the fall the dasheens are dug,
cleaned and stored in a cool dry place. The tubers are
cooked and eaten like potatoes. They may be baked whole,
boiled, mashed, diced, or shredded, made into chips, and
served in other ways. They have a nutty, delicate flavor
and are drier than a potato, also more nutritious. They
yield heavily on good soil, often producing 300 to 400 bush-
els of tubers to the acre. The dasheen is rapidly making a
place for itself in Florida and some other southern states,
and is beginning to find its way to our northern markets.
The tropical yams are no relation to our common sweet
potato, sometimes erroneously called yams. I was visiting
with a friend and noticed what I thought was a rough
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 29
stick of wood on the back porch. Later I observed my
friend take a handsaw and cut off a piece of the supposed
stick, and then I discovered that my stick of wood was a
yam, weighing 60 to 70 pounds. The piece of cut off was
boiled, diced, and beaten with milk to make a delicious
dish, drier and more nutty than our potato. The idea of
piling one's potatoes on the back porch like cordwood and
cutting off slices with a handsaw always appealed to me.
No one should go hungry in Florida when food can be
produced as easily and cheaply as yams.
CHAYYOTE A CLIMBER
Now, another comparatively new plant immigrant that
goes splendidly with yams is the chayote, not coyote of
western fame and mournful voice. The chayote is also a
climber and hails from Mexico. The Department of Agri-
culture has been making a modest drive with the chavote
for the last 20 years. The plant looks like a cucumber
vine, but the chavote itself is more or less pear-shaped.
with green or whitish skin. There is one big seed in each
chayote. Two or three of these vegetables make a dish
for an average size family.
The chavotes are cut crosswise, peeled, sliced or diced.
and served in many ways. They may be creamed. sliced
in butter, sliced and fried, baked with cheese. mrde into
fritters, salads and nickles. A delicious sauce can be made
by boiling and mashing them, and then adding lemon juice
and sugar, or the juice of the flowers of a hollyhock-like
plant, known as roselle. The roselle colors the sauce red.
and when sugar is added a sprightly and healthful dessert
is produced. The chavote is of special interest because it
furnishes an excellent vegetable at a time when vegetable"
are scarce in Florida. When once planted it continues to
grow year after year, and that adds to its value.
So far we have been sneaking of things to eat we now
want to enter a little different field of plant immigrants.
Paint, varnish. linoleum and oilcloth manufacturers an-
nually import large quantities of an oil from China, known
as China wood oil. The soil is extracted from a nut which
grows on a tree 10 to 30 feet in height. The nuts are about
the size of walnuts and each nut contains several seeds.
The oil is extracted from the seed kernels. It is highly
prized by the manufacturers of high-grade water-proof
varnishes, high-grade linoleums and high-grade oilcloths.
30 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
We import 75,000,000 to 80,000,000 pounds of this oil a
year, and as it brings around 15 cents a pound this is a
snug little industry.
The department has been interested in the introduction
of China wood oil or tung oil trees for more than twenty
years. Many thousands of trees have been grown and dis-
tributed, with the result that an important industry is
starting in the central portion of the State. This effort
bids fair to be a commercial success, another illustration
of how plant immigrants are utilized.
Now, we must condense into a paragraph some refer-
ence to other promising new and little-known immigrants,
such as the papaya, or melon fruit, which grows on an
annual non-branching tree. Papya trees have been known
to produce 2,000 or 3,000 fruits. The flesh is like a rich
cantaloupe, but has a taste peculiar to itself. As a break-
fast fruit it is highly prized, especially as the flesh is rich
in pepsin. Carissa from Natal, S. Af., is a beautiful scarlet-
fruited shrub. The fruits of the carissa may be utilized
like cranberries. The Surinam cherry, a prolific sprightly
fruit that makes good pies and fine jelly. Guavas of many
kinds may be grown almost anywhere and constitute one
of the best of the jelly and home domestic fruits. Pome-
granates of Biblical fame are also grown. Bananas, suit-
able for garden and backyard culture. Strychnos, or the
Natal orange, a fruit with a hard shell and an aromatic
juicy pulp. Figs of many kinds. The lychee, noted all over
South China for its delicious fruits, which have translu-
cent flesh and a very sprightly taste, resembling well-
NATIVE PLANT LIFE
TWENTY CULINARY HERBS
From the Herb Journal
There may be readers who disagree with my choice of
20 culinary herbs when they do not find listed Cumin, for
instance, or Bay. But Cumin is most difficult to grow
and the Bay Laurel does not fit into the space allotted to
kitchen gardens, which we like to keep simple and un-
pretentious. My thought is to set forth a little about the
commonly used and easily grown herbs, to help you
choose those you would like for the garden this spring.
How you will enjoy looking over your own herb beds
and selecting the herbs you will try today! How proudly
you will serve for dinner that old stand-by, newly set forth
with a flavor and fragrance which will make it demanded
Each of the herbs may be looked up in the list and some
idea gained of its nature and flavor. Here, too, you may
find what part of the plant to use and also how the herb
may serve a purpose in a far different way than in cook-
ing. It is amazing to learn what a great part culinary
herbs play in commerce and industry. Dill, for instance,
is highly valued as an ingredient in perfume, and fennel,
that we have come to regard as practically inseparable
from fish, is used in certain sachets. From Pickles to Per-
fume! From Salmon to Sachet! What startling herb thrill-
ers could be written!
Almost any combination of herbs is pleasing if too many
are not used together. Just observe a few points-strong
flavors, like sage, counteract the presence of milder herbs,
and peculiar flavors, like tarragon, are best, as a rule, used
alone or tempered with a milder herb. (Lemon balm is
often added to tarragon vinegar.) Chervil is rarely satis-
factory unless combined with another herb. Then, too,
there is little point in combining herbs much alike in flavor,
as Lovage and Celery. You may wish, however, to achieve
a certain blend in flavor, like the delightful result obtained
from combining orange mint, applemint, spearmint, and
peppermint, in making mint jelly.
32 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE FLAVOR OF HERBS
In the proceeding discussion of hers i cooking is
emphasized the point of varying the flavor of dishes you
serve by the addition of individual herbs or varied combi-
nations, depending on the flavor you want accented. Man-
times the appetites of perfectly healthy members of the
family want to be coaxed, for they grow tired of the
"same old thing." Have you ever noticed someone begin
a meal rather apathetically, but later eat with decided
pleasure? His taste had been aroused by a stimulating or
piquant flavor. That was all that was needed to give the
taste organs an impulse.
To perform what seems to be practically a miracle some-
times, this exciting of dull appetites, we must seek to
know what flavors each of our family likes or actively
dislikes. Just as some people won't eat oysters or strong
cheeses, so they might not care for fennel which tastes
something like anise. So, before experimenting too rashly,
get acquainted with the flavor of each unfamiliar herb.
not only for its own peculiar flavor but also for its effect
in combination with others.
Have you ever tried to describe the taste of something
to someone unfamiliar with that food, or worse still, to
describe the taste of a food commonly eaten, such as to-
mato, or to explain the difference between the flavor of
veal and lamb? This is a decidedly novel game to play,
warranted to break up even the most long standing friend-
ships. Everyone will simply fan the air, trying to find the
appropriate, of even adequate words. Taste varies so with
the individual according to state of health, feelings at the
time, or other flavors recently encountered, so it may be
risky to attempt ot describe the flavors of these culinary
herbs. You must decide from your own reaction, but in a
general way the following comments may help you.
The seeds of anise and fennel are distinctly of licorice
in taste. Caraway is reminiscent of licorice but more pun-
gent and warm. Seeds and the foilage of dill are similar
and more "herby." Coriander seeds are warm and piny
to taste, Sesame seeds are delightfully nutty, like popcorn,
and treated in a similar manner for a delicacy or con-
fection. The whole seed may be popped, after a fashion,
on a hot skillet.
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 33
Lemon balm has a lemon taste which is distinctly notic-
ed in hot infusions. Basil somewhat resembles pepper for
which it is often substituted in tomato cookery, and has
a spicy clove taste. The leaves of burnet taste so much
like cucumber that a burnet vinegar is made which, usea
with salad oil, makes a French dressing with a definite
cucumber taste much appreciated by those who cannot
digest that vegetable. Borage also resembles cucumbers in
taste, and the anti-cucumberites can still enjoy the flavor
by eating greens made of the young leaves.
Chives, certainly, we all recognize as mild onion. Chervil
faintly resembles parsley. Sweet marijoram is slightly bit-
ter and aromatic, while thyme has a strong heroal taste
and is somewhat bitter. Rosemary is rather pirny and resin-
ous on the tongue, while tarragon has its own peculiar,
sweetish taste faintly recalling anise. Summer savory has
the typical pleasing taste we associate with savory, a bih
like sage or mint.
GENERAL USES OF 20 CULINARY HERBS
Anise-pimpinella anisum-annual-from seed.
Seeds: bread, cake, apple sauce, stews, soups, tea
Fresh leaves: garnish, salad.
Technical uses: ground seeds in curry powder and for
sachets. Oil from seeds: flavors liqueurs, liquid
tooth washes, soaps, perfumes, ointments, lini-
ments, hair preparations, licorice extract, candy,
and in medicine and as a vermifuge.
Lemon Balm-melissa officinalis-perennial-buy plants,
Fresh leaves: salad, in tarragon vinegar, soups, stews,
fish sauces, iced beverages, hot infusions.
Technical Uses: Oil from plant: liqueurs, toilet prepa-
ration, particularly "Eau 'es Carmes," furniture
Basil-ocimum basilicum-annual-from seed.
Leafy tops: garnish, vinegar.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): soup (bean, tomato,
turtle), rich stews, salads, cream or cottage
cheese, egg or tomato dishes, chopped meat, saus-
ages, in butter sauce for fish, sprinkled over peas
Photo and Planting
LIVE OAK-A Native of Florida
by Florida Nursery & Landscaea Co., Leesburg
s~ i , ~r:3'
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 35
or boiled potato, in vegetable juice cocktails.
Technical uses: oil from plant: perfumes or flower
Household use: basil plants in house to drive away
Bene or Sesame-sesamum orientale-annual -from
Seeds (after shucking): bread, cookies, cake, confec-
Oil from seeds: for frying meats, etc.
Technical uses: seed oil as adulterant for olive oil.
Borage-borago officinalis-annual-from seed.
Young fresh leaves: salads, pickles, iced beverages, as
Fresh flowers: crystallized for confectionery, cakes,
and in potpourris.
Burnet-sanguisorba minor-biennial-from seed.
Leafy tops: gives cucumber taste to vinegar, salads,
Caraway-carum carvi-biennial-from seed.
Seeds: rye bread, cake, cheese, German sauerkraut,
sugar coated for confectionery, in apple sauce and
baked apples, German and Hungarian cabbag(
soups and goulashes, served to munch after meals.
Roots: boiled for vegetables.
Technical uses: Oil from seeds: of Tunis variety for
mouth washes and cheap perfumes; of Russian
variety for flavoring liqueurs (Kummel), and
Chervil-anthriscus cerefolium-annual-from seed.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): in soup (sorrel or
spinach), fish sauce, egg dishes, French dressing,
butter sauce with wine over veal cutlets,, bearnaise
and ravigote sauces, butter sauce for broiled
Household use: leafy tips (and seeds) formerly used
in polishes to scent floors and furniture.
Chives-allium schoenoprasum-perennial-buy plants.
Green tops: (chopped fine): soups, cheese, omelettes,
potatoes, croquettes, sausages, tomato cocktail.
Coriander-coriandrum sativum-annual-from seed.
Seeds (crushed): bread, gingerbread, biscuits, cookies,
36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
cakes, baked apples, sausages, cheese, sauce for
wild game, poultry stuffing.
Seeds (whole): sugar coated for confections comfitss).
Technical uses: (Seeds) improve taste of cheap cocoa,
flavors liqueurs, used in gin distilling, in curry
Dill-antheum graveolous-annual-from seed.
Seeds: apple pie, spiced beets, pastry, Scandinavian
bean and beet soup, gravy.
Seed heads: pickles and vinegar.
Young leafy tops (chopped): cottage and cream cheese,
fish butter, sprinkled over steaks and chops, in
potato salad, cream sauce for chicken.
Technical uses: oil from seeds: to scent soap and per-
Fennel-foeniculum dulce-annual-from seed.
(Florence fennel or finnochio)
Thick part of the base: boiled as a vegetable, used to
Seed oil: used in soap
Foeniculum officinalis-perennial-from seed.
Young stems: served raw as appetizer.
Carosella (f. officinalis, var. piperitum)-raw stems
particularly popular with Italians.
Foeniculum vulgare-perennial-from seed.
Seeds: pudding, soups, cakes, German sauerkraut,
Leaves (chopped or powdered): soup, fish sauce, boil-
ed or baked fish, garnish.
Technical uses: oil from seeds: to flavor liqueurs, in
confectionery, scent for soap. Seeds: for hair dye.
Sweet Marjoram-origanum marjorana-annual-slow
Leaves (powdered or crushed): sprinkled over roast
beef, lamb or pork, in butter sauce for fish; used
in vinegar, salads, cheese, puddings, chopped
meat, stuffings, soup, egg dishes, peas, beans,
spinach, tomatoes, in cocktails.
Leafy top: garnish.
Technical uses: oil from plant; to scent soap, perfume
NATIVE PLANT LIFE 37
Flowering tops: in dye, potpourris, and sachets.
Household uses: hot infusions; leafy tops formerly
used in polish to scent furniture.
Mint-perennials-buy plants or slips.
Spearmint (mentha spicata); peppermint (m.piperita).
Applemint (m.gentilis); orange mint (m.citrata).
Leaves (chopped or powdered): lamb and fish sauces,
apple sauce, fruit cup, iced beverages, confection-
ery, sprinkled over vegetables, (peas, boiled pota-
toes, carrots, spinach, raw cabbage), in pea soup,
in current jelly.
Leafy tops: (fresh, if possible) in vinegars, mint jelly.
Technical uses: oil from plant: tooth paste, mouth
washes, liqueurs, chewing gum, soap, perfumes.
Household uses: leafy tops (fresh) in hot infusions
and scattered about to keep mice away.
Leafy tops (dried) in hot infusions and in moth
Parsley-petroselinum hortense, either filicinum (ferny
leaf) or crispum (curly)--biennial slow from seed.
Leaves (fresh): garnish.
Leaves (nowdered or chopped): sprinkled over soup.
poached eggs, boiled potatoes, fish, mixed in but-
ter sauces, fricasseed chicken stock.
Rosemary rosmarinus officinalis perennial buy-
Leafy tops (fresh): garnish, summer drinks, pickles.
Leaves choppedd or powdered): in jams, sweet sauces,
sprinkled over pork and beef roasts, in veal stews,
soups, peas; added to deep fat for frying potatoes.
Technical uses: oil from plant; Hungary water, hair
preparations, tooth washes, in perfumes and soaps.
Household uses: leafy tops (dried) in moth mixtures.
Sage-salvia officinalis-perennial-from seed.
Leaves (chopped fresh): cottage cheese, pickles.
Leaves (chooped or powdered); sprinkled over poul-
try, veal, pork; used in sausage, stewed tomatoes.
string beans, cheese.
Technical uses: hair tonic.
Household uses: leaves rubbed on teeth to clean them
and strengthen gums; hot infusion for gargle; hot
infusion for tea.
38 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Summer Savory-satureia hortensis7-annual-from seed.
Leafy top (fresh): garnish.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): in string beans, peas,
salads, stuffings, meat cakes, croquettes, cocktails.
Household uses: leaves (fresh) rnbbed on insect bites
to take out the sting.
Leaves (fresh or dried) for aromatic baths.
Tarragon artemisia dracunculus perennial buy
Leafy tops (fresh): for Vinaigre d'Estragon, in pickles.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): in salads, in mustard;
in tartar, fish, cream and bearnaise sauces; with
chervil in ravigote sauce; in cocktails; butter
sauce for shell fish dishes; in egg, mushroom and
Technical uses; oil from plant; perfumes and toilet
Thyme-thymus vulgaris-perennial-from seed.
Leafy tops (fresh)--garnish.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): with other herbs in
vinegar, in sauces for meat and fish, cocktails,
croquettes, chipped beef, fricassees; with pork,
veal; in soups with onion; cheese, carrots, peas,
Technical uses: oil from plant: in deodorants, ane-
sthetics, gargles, perfumes.
Household uses: leafy tops in aromatic bottles; sa-
chets, hot infusions.
POWDERED PARSLEY IN A JIFFY
Try this simple way of drying the parsley and still re-
taining its green color. Plunge the leaves, picked from T-e
stems, into boiling salted water-enough to a little more
than cover the parsley. Let it stay in the water just long
enough to wilt the leaves-about half a minute. Strain off
the water. Spread the leaves on a fine wire mesh laid on
a flat pan. Put into a medium hot oven until the leaves are
dry, watching carefully so they do not burn. This will
take possibly five or ten minutes. Then rub the leaves
through a fine strainer or sieve.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE 39
And that is all thee is to it. The powdered parsley is
ready to put into a container which can be covered tightly.
The next time you want a touch of green for the soup,
salad, cheese, or a core more dishes, your powdered
parsley is waiting to qerve you with its rich green color.