IIt'LLTIN. NO. II
Collection and Cultivation
of Medicinal Plants
fly H. V. CHIRISTENSIEN, Ph. 1).
Director. School of Pharmacy
Professor of Pharmacognosy and Pharmacology
and Director of Medicinal 'lnnt Garden
University of Florida
STATE OF FLORIIDA
DEPARTMENT OF A(;RICULTTU' E
NATHAN MAYO, Commisisioner
Prepared and Publish -d in ('c0nwration with the
School of Pharmacy
University of Florida, G(ainesville
... .as *.... *"*.. Is .* *_
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Collection and Curing
Marketing Crude Drugs
Prices .. . .. .
Crude Drug Dealers
Medicinal Plant Literature
Collection of Medicinal Plants
Sabal . .
Cultivation of Medicinal Plants 38
Medicinal Plant Garden ..41
A loe .. .. .41
Andropogon Citrata and Andropogon Flexuosa 43
Carica Papaya 45
Koellia Mutica 47
Stramonium .. 49
Mentha Viridis .. .. 49
Ricinum Communis ... 51
Zingiber .... 52
Florida Grown Medicinal Plants 54
Primary List of Medicinal Plants 55
Plant Constituents and Properties 56
Secondary List of Medicinal Plants 57
Secondary List of Medicinal Plants (Continued) 58
Twenty Culinary Herbs of Florida 60
Plant Life of Florida .. ... 69
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1-Stillingia sylvatica L. ................
2-Asclepias tuberosa L. .... .....
3-Gelsemium sempervirens L............
4-Datura stramonium L. ..............
5-Phytolacca Americana L .........
6-Trilisa Odoratissima .. . . ......
7-Dioscorea Villosa L. .. .. .........
8- Tapped Tree .......................
9-Xanthoxylum Clava-Herculis L. .......
10-Myrica Cerifera L...............
11- Serenoa serrulata ................. .
12-Sambucus Canadensis L. ........
13-Aloe vera ...... .... ............
14- Lemon Grasses ..................
15-Carica Papaya L.................
16- Koellia m utica ....................
17- Spearmint .. ...........
18-Jamaica Ginger .................
Fig. 19-Map of Plant Areas ................... ... 59
. . 19
.. .. 23
.. .. 29
2',37 Sif" 87;th Ave.,
Dec. .", 1 i/1
Commissioner of Agriculture,
Dear Sir: Many thanks for the bulletin on "Collection and
Cultivation of Medicinal Plants of Florida" by Dr. Christensen.
It is the best bulletin I have ever seen on the subject, in fact I am
showing it to my class as a sample of the very highest grade of
useful bulletins giving to the public, in few words and plain
language and excellent illustrations, just the kind of information
so many people are seeking these days. It is not onl a mine of
useful information but just the kind of defense facts that will lead
to home production, leading to self-sufficiency in this State.
Yours very truly,
John C. Gilford
Professor Tropical Forestry in the University of Miami.
Figures 1, 2, 4, 5 and 7 are reproductions from Mills-
paugh-American Medicinal Plants and used by permission
of the publishers, Boericke & Tafel, Philadelphia. Figures
9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 are from photographs
taken by former staff members of the faculty of the School
of Pharmacy: Figure 3 is used through the courtesy of
Parke, Davis & Co., Detroit, Michigan and Figure 6 is from
a photograph taken by Dr. Geo. F. Weber and kindly fur-
nished by J. F. Cooper, both of whom are members of the
Agricultural Experiment Station staff, University of Flor-
ida. Sketch for Figure 8 was furnished by the M. F. Neal
& Co., Richmond, Va.
The large number of letters received by the School of
Pharmacy, University of Florida, requesting information
regarding native medicinal plants, how to identify them,
methods of collecting and preparing for market and dealers
in crude drugs, indicated the need for a bulletin of this type.
The large number of requests received for Bulletins Num-
ber 14 and 45 after the supply of these was exhausted have
prompted the preparation of this bulletin.
This bulletin is not intended to be a scientific treatise on
drugs. Technical language is avoided as far as possible
and the terms used are such that the average individual
interested should be able to understand. The methods for
collecting and curing drugs herein suggested have been
found by experience to be practical but other methods
which have been time-saving and produce equally good
results may be developed by the ingenious collector. This
bulletin is designed to give the average layman enough
information to enable him to collect and place on the
market a good quality of crude drugs.
Some of the crude drugs herein mentioned are now
being collected in this and other States, supplies of some
are being imported from abroad, and in turn some are also
exported to other countries and thus form important items
of commerce. The prices paid to collectors for many crude
drugs are not great and probably would not tempt many
to take up this line of work as a business. However, the
collection of crude drugs is a means of earning some extra
cash and may furnish an important source of income if
given deserved attention. This work can be (lone by farm-
ers during spare time and much of it can be done by women
and children. There are some instances where families in
this State have tided over crucial financial situations by
collecting plant drugs for market.
The collector should first be sure that he is collecting
the right plant; hence, brief descriptions and figures are
included to aid in making proper identification.
The collector should next observe the proper season for
collection. The constituents vary somewhat according to
the season and hence, if collected at the wrong time, crude
drugs may be inferior in quality and of poor appearance.
Shrinkage in weight during the drying process may also be
greater if collected out of season.
All crude drugs, such as herbs, roots, leaves, barks,
flowers and seeds should be carefully and thoroughly dried,
otherwise they may mold or decay and thus be rejected by
the dealer. They should also be clean and free from foreign
material, such as stones or other plants or plant parts, that
is, stems should not be mixed with leaves, etc. Adultera-
tion, whether intentional or not, detracts from the quality
of the crude drug and may result in rejection or reduction
Color is an important consideration with most crude
drugs and a bright, clean, natural color is particularly
desirable in leaves, herbs and flowers and adds to the sala-
bility and price. Hence, such drugs should be carefully
dried in the shade and exposure to dew or rain carefully
Crude drugs are sometimes attacked by insects. This
may be prevented and insects may be destroyed by packing
drugs in closed bins or in clean, tight barrels and adding a
few drops of chloroform.
Most of the drugs herein mentioned are packed in clean,
strong burlap. Small quantities may be packed in hard card-
board cartons and roots are frequently packed in clean
barrels. In handling dried leaves and herbs care should
be taken to prevent loss from breaking, crumbling and
An attic over the kitchen is a very good place in which
to dry crude drugs, especially if the kitchen below is heated
10 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
with a stove. A circulation of air may be provided by open
windows and the heat from the sun on the roof and from
the kitchen below will keep the air well warmed and dry.
Drying racks or shelves, as described later, may be con-
structed or the drugs may be spread on the floor or
suspended from the rafters. In the attic, drugs will also be
protected from direct sunlight and from rain and dew.
It is important to give some attention to drying
temperature. It has been found that when fresh crude
drugs are subjected to a temperature of about 75,F. at the
beginning of the drying process and this temperature
gradually raised to about 1200F. that a very good product
is obtained. This is difficult to control without a controlled
heating and ventilating system but can be regulated to
some extent by opening or closing ventilators and windows
when the drying is done indoors. For instance, in an attic,
windows may be opened during the first few days of the
drying process and then gradually closed to retain heat as
the drying process continues. In the case of flowers and
drugs containing constituents affected by heat the temper-
ature should not exceed 95F. and a temperature around
80F. is much better.
After drugs have been dried sufficiently they may be
rearranged in thicker layers or bunched to provide room
for a fresh supply. When thoroughly dried they should be
packed in bags, bales or cartons and stored in a dry, cool
COLLECTION AND CURING
Roots of perennials should be collected in this
Roots State during the fall, winter and early spring
before growth begins. (Roots of annuals are
collected just before the plant flowers and of biennials in
the fall of the second year. None of either are listed in
All roots should be carefully washed in clean water. It
pays to do this for the dealer will usually pay a better price
for clean roots of good color. They are then carefully dried
by spreading thinly upon trays, racks, shelves or clean
MEDICINAL PLANTS or FLORIDA II
floors and turned occasionally to permit uniform drying.
After they have been partially dried they may be spread in
thicker layers to make room for more. Drying trays are
recommended. These may be made by making a frame,
about 2 x 3 ft., from 4-inch strips and then tacking a piece
of wire screen on the bottom. The screen permits a free
circulation of air around the drug and these trays are easily
handled. They may be placed on wires or boards attached
in tiers to rafters in the attic and thus provide a large
amount of drying space. These trays may also be used out
It is not advisable to dry roots in direct sunlight al-
though this is sometimes done. The sun hardens the outer
layer and thus slows the movement of moisture from the
inner part of the root and also takes the color in some
cases. They may be placed in the sun to complete thorough
drying. If dried out of doors, they should be protected
from dew and rain.
Large roots are usually broken into pieces or sliced
before drying. Where this is advisable it is mentioned in
the discussion of the drug. The drying process usually re-
quires from three to six weeks and when thoroughly dry
the roots will readily snap when bent.
Leaves are usually collected when the plant is
Leaves in full bloom. This may be done by cutting or
pulling up the plant and then stripping the
leaves off or by stripping the leaves from the standing
plant. Frequently the plant is cut and suspended head
downward by hooking a branch or leaf stalk over a wire
and the leaves stripped off when dry. The method used de-
pends on the preference and facilities of the collector. If
they are stripped off green they are dried by spreading
thinly on trays, shelves or floors and occasionally turned,
day by day, until fairly well dried. After fairly well dried
they may be re-arranged in thicker layers or bunches to
make room for fresh leaves. Leaves should always be dried
in the shade as it is essential that they retain their green
color when cured.
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Leaves are sometimes tied in small bundles, similar to
tobacco leaves, and suspended to dry. If it is desired to
follow this method, the collector should first experiment
with a few bundles in order to learn how large a bundle can
be safely made. Large bundles do not permit free circula-
tion of air and hence, the leaves will turn black and make
an undesirable product for the market. If leaves are placed
in bunches or trays they will also turn black, hence, they
should always be spread out thin and turned frequently.
Avoid dew and rain.
If it is necessary to wash leaves, this should be done
while they are fresh and green. In such case it is advisable
to cut out the whole plant and rinse in clear water, then
shake the free water off and suspend top downward to dry.
Leaves should not be washed unless it is absolutely essen-
tial. Usually sand and dirt may be shaken off or brushed
off when dry, or dirty leaves may be rejected.
The term "herb" is used here to indicate the
Herbs aboveground parts of a plant, i.e., leaves, stems
and flowers. Herbs are collected when the
plant is in full bloom. The plant is cut or pulled up and then
suspended top downward in a well aired, shady place to
dry. They may be spread out in thin layers on trays,
shelves or floors and turned frequently during the drying
It is advisable to reject the large and coarse stems and
retain the smaller stems, the leaves and flowering tops.
The coarse stems may be trimmed off when fresh or after
drying, according to the convenience of the collector. Herbs
should always be dried in shade as it is essential that the
green color be retained just as in leaves. Protect carefully
from dew and rain.
Herbs should not be washed unless necessary and in
such case, follow the direction for washing leaves.
Barks should be collected in the fall, during
Barks the winter or early spring before growth takes
place. This is the period when bark contains
the greatest amount of active medicinal constituents. In
the collection of barks, the destruction of the tree should
MEDICINAL PLANTS Or FLORIDA 13
be avoided as far as possible. Barks of stems may be col-
lected in alternate strips from the standing tree and a con-
tinuous and future supply thus assured.
When barks of roots are collected it may be necessary
to grub out the tree, but in many cases some of the roots
may be cut close to the base of the tree and pulled out and
some of the roots left to feed the tree and give it an oppor-
tunity to grow new roots. In the case of rhizomes, it is
always advisable to leave a few in the ground to allow for
the growth of new plants. A careful observance of these
suggestions will insure collectors a regular and continuous
supply and in the course of a few years will prove much
more profitable than the complete destruction of plants in
the first collection.
There are various methods of collecting barks. The
first, suggested above, is to collect from the standing tree.
To do this, cross incisions an inch or more wide are made a
couple of feet, or more, apart and then the bark peeled off.
Then, leaving a strip, cut out another in the same manner.
Usually the tree will grow a new bark over the exposed
strip and then the strip left the first time may be peeled off.
Hence, in a few years new bark may be ready so that the
process may be repeated. If the whole plant is grubbed out
it would be advisable to plant another to replace it.
The barks of branches and roots are usually collected
by making long, lengthwise incisions and then slipping the
bark off. Pounding with a mallet may help to loosen the
bark and permit easier peeling. The outer bark of some
stems is rough, irregular and corky and of no value
medicinally. This is shaved off before the bark is peeled.
After collection the bark is dried by placing on trays,
shelves or floors or strung on wires. Barks may be dried in
direct sunlight but should be protected from dew and rain.
Barks are usually cut or broken into quills or chips.
This may be done while fresh or after drying, depending on
the kind and character of the bark. Directions for cutting
or breaking are given in the discussion for each bark drug.
I DrEPATMEZT or AomRcLTLrrV
Flowers are gathered when freshly opened or
Flowers in full bloom. A natural color and odor are
very essential in flowers and hence, it is in-
advisable to include old or faded flowers. In most cases the
flower head only is desired and hence, stems and other plant
parts should be rejected.
They are usually collected by cutting off the flowering
branch and then stripping or clipping off the individual
flowers or flower heads and dropping in a basket. They are
then placed on trays, shelves or floors to dry according to
the directions given for leaves. Flowers should always be
dried in the shade and protected from moisture. Excessive
heat should be avoided as this will drive off the aroma and
thus reduce the value and quality.
MARKETING CRUDE DRUGS
When crude drugs are ready for market, the collector
should prepare fair samples of each kind on hand and send
it to two or three dealers for quotation of prices. The col-
lector should also state the quantity of each drug on hand,
ask for exact shipping directions and enclose postage for
reply. He should be careful to mark each sample plainly
with his name and address and the name of the drug. The
size of the sample depends on the drug but as a rule, 5 or 6
ounces should be sent. A fair sample should be submitted,
for dealers al" ays inspect shipments when received even
though samples have been previously examined.
Drug collectors should never send in an entire lot of
drugs to dealers without previous correspondence. Freight
is an important item, hence, it is usually advisable to corre-
spond with the nearest dealers. However, this is a matter
where the collector must exercise his judgment. Where
small lots only have been collected several collectors may
ship together and thus reduce packing and shipping
It is always advisable to ask for the prices f.o.b. ship-
ping point. The collector will thus know exactly how much
he can get for his drugs.
MEDICINAL PLANTS or FLORIDA 15
The prices paid for crude drugs fluctuate according to
demand and supply just as prices for other products.
Hence, prices are not given in this bulletin as they may
have changed by the time it is printed. Hence, it is advis-
able to write to dealers for prices as explained above.
CRUDE DRUG DEALERS
It would be impossible as well as unnecessary to give
here a complete list of all crude drug dealers in the United
States or even in the South. The list given is considered
sufficient to enable collectors to find a regular and reliable
market. There may be local dealers to whom crude drugs
may be disposed of to good advantage but since we have no
means of determining where all such dealers are located we
cannot list such buyers. However, if the name and address
of local dealers are made known to us, we will be glad to
refer collectors to them in the future.
The dealers listed herewith are classified as to the kinds
of drugs they handle.
All Crude Drus.
S. B. Penick & Co., Drug Collection Depot, Asheville,
The "Lahomach" Seed Co., 120 St. George St., St.
Deer Tongue Leaves
Mr. O. C. Bauman, DeLand, Florida.
M. F. Neal & Co., Inc., 1900 E. Franklin St., Richmond,
E. K. Victor Co., P. O. Box 555, Richmond, Virginia.
Richard D. Heins, 129 Fulton Street, New York, N. Y.
Wm. M. Allison & Co., 162 Water Street, New York,
Saw Palmetto Berries
R. C. Burns, Canaveral. Florida.
Sweet Gum ailxanm
M. F. Neal & Co., Inc., 1900 E. Franklin St., Richmond,
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
MEDICINAL PLANT LITERATURE
It is suggested that collectors subscribe for a current
journal such as Drug & Cosmetic Industry, 101 W. 31 St.,
New York, price $2.00 per year, which will give information
on prices and price tendencies and also dealing with
methods of collecting and preparing crude drugs for
Market. The U. S. Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington,
D. C., has issued several bulletins on Medicinal Plants. A
list of these and directions for obtaining them may be
secured upon request.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 17
Collection of Medicinal Plants
A large number of crude drugs used in the United States
are imported from Europe, Asia, South America and other
countries, not because they cannot be grown here but be-
cause the imported drugs can be bought more cheaply.
However we depend on our native supplies of some drugs
such as Mandrake, Wild Cherry and Cascara to meet our
demands. We have also exported drugs to some exteht.
Due to unsettled economic conditions in foreign countries,
supplies of crude drugs have been considerably reduced in
a number of cases and prices have consequently increased
to the point where such drugs could be profitably collected
or produced in this country.
Due to the fact that there are ample supplies of several
native drugs in this State, the collection of medicinal plants
is deserving of more attention. Following is a list of native
herbs which grow in commercial quantities in the localites
indicated. Brief comments and descriptions are offered to
aid those interested in identifying these plants and pre-
paring them for market.
Stillingia sylvatica L.
Range and Habitat.-Queen's root grows commonly in
open areas and thinly wooded sections of the light sandy
regions of this State. It is particularly plentiful in Alachua,
Marion and adjoining counties and in the region of the
upper Indian River.
Description.-This is an herbaceous perennial and grows
from 1 to 3 feet high. The stems are clustered, smooth and
branched and when bruised emit a milky juice. The leaves
are alternate and vary somewhat in shape from ovate and
obovate to oblong and lanceolate. They are thick and fleshy
with a saw-toothed margin. The flowers are very small and
yellow in color and the seed is produced in a round, three-
18 IWFPAtItITIN'T OF A6RICI-LTtRE
(Fig. 1) Stillingia sylvatica L.
MwEI)ICINAL IMPLANTS OF FLOIII)A 19
celled capsule, with one seed in each cell. The root is
cylindrical and tapering, occasionally branched and from 8
to 16 inches long. The taste is bitter, acrid and pungent.
Collection.-The root is used in medicine and should be
collected during the period after the tops have died down in
the fall and before the plant begins to grow in the spring,
usually from October to March. The roots may be dug up
with a spade and should be thoroughly washed in clean
water, cut in pieces from 1 to 2 inches long and then
thoroughly dried. The dried roots should be packed in
bags or clean barrels for shipment.
Asclepias Tuberosa L.
Pleurisy Root. Orange 1lilk Weed Root
Range and Habitat.-Pleurisy root is found in north-
eastern and southern Florida extending from Tallahassee
east and south. It grows in sandy fields, along roadsides
and in sandy waste areas similar to other milkweeds.
is a perennial herb grow-
ing from 2 to 3 feet high.
It is very hairy, very leafy
and branched at the top.
The leaves are arranged ir-
regularly on the stem and
have no leaf stalk, i.e., the
broad base of the leaf is
attached directly to the
stem. They are linear to
oblong-lanceolate in shape
and undulately wrinkled
along the margin. This
plant has beautiful, bright
orange-colored flowers ar-
ranged in umbels or flat-
topped cymes. Orange milk- .
weed root differs from .
other milkweeds in not giv-
ing off a milky juice when
cut or bruised. (Fig. 2) Asclepias tuberosa L.
20 D)EI'AIITMENT or A(RICI.LTIHE
Collection.-The root of this plant is used for medicinal
purposes. It grows deep in the soil, is shaped very much like
a carrot and is occasionally branched. It is collected in the
fall or early spring and cut lengthwise to facilitate drying.
After it is thoroughly dried it is packed in bags for ship-
G ELSEM I UM
(.elsemium Sempervirens L.
Range and Ilabitat.-Gelsemium is very common in all
parts of Florida. It is found in thickets, in well-shaded
woods, along fences and occasionally in open spaces. It
grows well in different types of soil and under varying con-
ditions of moisture and temperature. This plant is very
popular and ornamental.
is a perennial woody climb-
er with a purplish slender
stem. The leaves are ar-
ranged opposite, have very
short stalks and are lance-
shaped. The flower is yel-
low and funnel-shaped and
in this State appears in late
February or early March.
and roots are used for me-
ldicinal purposes. They are
dug tiLp in the autumn,
washed, dried and broken
or cut into pieces from 2 to
12 inches in length. The
usual drying and packing
(Fig 3) Gelsemnium sempervirens L. methods for roots should
always be observed.
STR.\ IONIL t
I)atura stramconium L.
Range and Ilabitat.-Jimson weed, although native in
the tropics, is widely distributed throughout the subtropics
MEDICINAL PLANTSr OF ILORIDA 21
and temperate zones. In Florida it grows commonly in
dooryards, in fields, along fences and in waste places and is
common in both open and shaded areas. It grows well in
sandy soil and thrives in rich loamy soils. This plant readily
adapts itself to cultivation. It is an annual plant and must
be propagated by seed.
is herbaceous and grows
from 2 to 6 feet in height
depending on soil condi-
tions. The leaves, especially
when crushed, give off a
disagreeable odor, similar
to that of the Irish potato
vine and, as a matter of
family (Solanaceae). The
stems are yellowish-green,
cylindrical, flattened, longi-
tudinally wrinkled, stout
and much branched. The
leaves are large, 2 to 12
inches long, 11/ to 6 inches
broad, irregularly waved
and toothed, pointed at the (Fig. 4) Datura stamonium L.
apex and narrowed at the base. The veins are very
prominent and the color is dark green on the upper surface
and paler green beneath. The flowers are large, funnel-
shaped and white in color. This plant usually flowers con-
tinuously from May to September and the odor of the flower
is heavy and depressing. The seed is produced in an oval,
prickly capsule which, when ripe and dry, bursts open and
allows the seed to drop out. The seeds are very numerous,
kidney-shaped and black in color.
Collection.-Both the leaves and the seeds are used for
medicinal purposes. The leaves may be collected in August,
usually, or when the lower leaves of the plant begin to turn
yellow. They may be stripped from the plants or the whole
plant may be cut and strung on wires and dried in the shade
22 DE'PAITMENT OF AGRICULTUIIE
and the leaves then stripped off. In either case, they must
be dried in the shade and protected from rain and dew to
preserve the green color. After being thoroughly dried
they should be carefully packed in bales, bags or cartons
-and stored in a dry place, if not immediately delivered to
the market. (In handling dried leaves it is advisable to
avoid placing the fingers in the mouth or eyes.)
The seeds should be collected when ripe, that is, when
black. This may be done by cutting off the still green cap-
sules and allowing to dry for a few days when they will
burst open and the seeds can then be shaken out. The
seeds should then be carefully dried and packed in bags,
ready for delivery to the market.
Phytolacca Americana L. (P. decandra)
Range and Habitat.-Pokeweed is common along road-
sides, margins of fields, in the open woods, and in waste
places throughout the whole State. In rich, moist soil, such
as the Everglades, it grows to an enormous size. It adapts
itself readily to cultivation and is regarded as an orna-
mental garden plant in some localities.
Description.-Pokeweed is a perennial herb and grows
to a height, usually, from 3 to 9 feet. The stem is erect,
much branched, and reddish purple in color. The leaves
are alternate, ovate in shape, about 5 inches long, 2 or 3
inches wide and have smooth margins. This plant usually
flowers from June to September. The flowers are small
and whitish in color and are arranged in long clusters. The
flowers are followed by green berries which become a dark
purple upon ripening. The clusters of berries are from 3 to
6 inches in length and the berries are globular but flattened
slightly at the top and bottom, smooth and shiny and when
crushed give off a rich dark-red juice.
Collection.-The root and berries of pokeweed are used
for medicinal purposes. Both are collected when the berries
are ripe, usually August to November. The root is usually
large, conical in shape, fleshy and much branched and the
sliced ends show many concentric rings. It is dug in
.MDIUCINSL I'LNT4 oF FLORIDdA 2
(Figr. 5) Phytolaica Amcnlircnn L.
I)MPARTIuExT or AwtICULTUR.E
the fall, carefully washed, cut into transverse slices and
thoroughly dried. Pokeweed is usually packed in 200 pound
bales for the market.
The berries are collected when ripe and carefully dried
in the shade. The whole cluster is usually collected and
the berries stripped off and the stems removed when dry.
They are poisonous and hence should not be eaten. They
may be dried according to the method outlined for roots
and are packed in bags for the market.
TIILISA ODORATISSIMA (WALT), CASS
Range and Habitat.-Deer-tongue grows in commercial
quantities in Alachua, Lake, Marion, Orange, Seminole,
Sumter and Volusia Counties. It is particularly abundant
in the region of Sanford and has been collected to some
extent in that area. It inhabits low, damp, sandy or loam
prairies or moist, open woods and pine barrens.
Description.-The stems are smooth, from 2 to 4 feet
high and grow from the center of a cluster of leaves at the
base. The leaves are oblong, from 3 to 10 inches long, pale
green in color and give off a vanilla odor when crushed or
upon withering. The flowers are purple and are grouped in
many heads arranged in a flat-topped panicle. Deer-tongue
blooms usually from July to September.
Collection.-The leaves of this plant contain coumarin
which is used for flavoring purposes. The leaves are col-
lected when full grown, which is about the time of flower-
ing. The leaves may be stripped from the plant or the
plant cut and the leaves then stripped and tied in small
bundles and suspended under shelter to dry, i.e., the
methods used for collecting and curing tobacco may be
followed. Leaves may also be spread on trays or on a
large floor in a building which permits good circulation of
air. Some buyers prefer leaves which are brownish in color
similar to that of tobacco. In such case, leaves may be
dried in the sun or spread in thick layers on trays or floors.
When dried in the shade protected from rain and dew, the
natural green color is retained. Hence, leaves may be
cured to suit the requirements of buyers. Then, usually,
NUDICINAL PLAT-T or FLORIDA 25
(Fig. 6) Trilisa Odoratissima
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
the properly dried leaves are delivered by the collector to a
buyer who has facilities to pack them in machine-pressed
bales ranging from 200 to 400 lbs. in weight. Strong burlap
is used and the bales are further reinforced by three or
four wires strapped around them.
The demand for deer-tongue leaves is steady and buyers
are anxious to make connections with regular sources of
supply. One firm alone states that they could easily handle
from 40 to 50 tons per year. This firm states also that they
prefer Florida deer-tongue leaves as they are of a finer
aroma and a better leaf and of a better color than those
obtained from other States.
Dioscorea Villosa L.
Wild Yam Root
Range and Habitat. Dioscorea is very common
throughout northern Florida and is found growing in moist
thickets and well shaded areas. Its habitat, soil and
moisture requirements are quite similar to those of the
native species of Smilax and hence, it is frequently found
growing in the same localities.
? Description.-It is a per-
enniel herb with slender
stems which twine over
/ bushes for support. The
leaves are heart shaped,
hairy beneath, 9 to 11
ribbed and variously ar-
ranged on the stem but the
S upper ones are alternate.
The flowers are small and
greenish yellow and the
seed is borne in a three-
J Collection.-The rhizome
\ (underground stem) is
Used in medicine. These
S-. should be dug in autumn or
(Fig. 7) Dioscolea Villosa L. during the season when the
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 27
plant is not growing. The small roots are removed
and the rhizome cut into pieces of varying lengths,
usually 2 or 3 inches, carefully washed and thoroughly
dried. This may be done by spreading out thinly on trays,
racks, shelves or floors which are light and well-aired but
not in direct sunlight. When thoroughly dried, pack in bags
or clean barrels for shipment.
Baptisia Tictoria (Linne), R. Brown
Range and Habitat.-Wild indigo is common in Citrus,
Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties, particularly in the
area between Ocala and Inverness. It is usually found
growing in dry, sandy soils along roadsides, in the open
fields and in dry woods but it may be found in other
Description.-Wild indigo is a smooth, slender perennial
herb, with stems and leaves somewhat waxy and with
many bushy branches. It grows to a height of from 1 to 3
feet and gives off a disagreeable odor when bruised and is
repellant to insects. The leaves are palmately three-foliate,
somewhat like the leaf of red clover, and are attached
closely to the stems and branches. They are dark bluish-
green in color with a light green stripe on the midrib. The
flowers are a bright canary-yellow and about as long as
the leaflets. It flowers from May to July.
Collection.-The root of this plant is used for medicinal
purposes and also for the preparation of a dye, as the name
indicates. It is gathered in the fall, cut into small pieces
and dried. It is usually packed in bags for shipment.
Liquidambar Styraciflua L.
Sweet Gum; American Storax
Range and Habitat. Sweet gum is very common
throughout Florida and is found growing in most woods
in loamy or muck soil.
28 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Description.-This is a large tree commonly reaching a
height of from 45 to 100 feet. The leaves are 5- to 7-lobed,
resembling crudely the palm of the hand with fingers spread
apart and extended. They are smooth on the upper surface
and have small tufts of reddish-brown hairs in the axils of
the principal veins on the lower surface. This tree some-
what resembles the northern maple in general appearance.
Collection. The secretion (balsam) of the sapwood
caused by wounding the tree is used for medical purposes
and for industrial purposes also. The following directions
for tapping trees and collecting gum are offered through
the courtesy of M. F. Neal & Co., Richmond, Virginia.
"Tapping Trees.-With turpentine hack, or hatchet or
puller, or other similar tool that will do the work, cut one
upright streak 24 inches long, three-quarters of an inch
wide, at workable height on sunny side of tree. Cut through
bark and about one-quarter of an inch into sapwood. Then
cut 4 streaks same width and depth 6 to 8 inches long, de-
pending on diameter of tree, across the upright streak, at
even distances from each other, with downward peak in the
middle where they meet the upright streak. The upright
should run through the centers of the cross streaks. The
drawing, Figure 10, will make this plain. Tap trees early in
spring before sap rises. Gum will begin to form soon after
sap is in trees. When gum starts to form the streaks should
be scraped every two weeks with a dull cake-knife, or some
tool like it, to collect gum FRESH. This scraping from
time to time makes more gum. If gum is collected regularly
in this way, there should be no need for an apron such as
used on the pine to collect rosin, because the gum is slower
in forming. Different local conditions cause trees to produce
different amounts of gum. A large tree ought to produce
a pound or more. Tap your trees now. Remember, early
tapping produces more gum in a season.
"Collecting the Gum. This gum as collected will
have some trash in it and bits of bark, and it must be
cleaned before shipping. To do this heat gum in a
N:DICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 29
double boiler, with water
between, and bring water
to boiling point and keep it
there until gum runs easily.
Then filter through cheese-
cloth into some vessel that
will keep the gum in good
condition until shipped. A
good container is a tin can
with double friction top, or
a molasses can.
"When gum is ready for
shipments, it ought to be
clear, light brown, rather
solid and sticky. If 20 --,
pounds and over ship the (Fig. 8) Tapped Tree
gum by express; if less
than 20 pounds send by parcel post, insured, and we will
include the postage when we remit for gum."
Xanthoxylum Clava-llerculis ..
Southern Prickly Ash; Toothache Bark
Range and Habitat.-Southern prickly ash is found in
northeastern and southern Florida from Leon County east
and south to the Keys. It grows in high or well-drained
sandy or loamy soil in thin or open woods and along
Description.-This is a small tree sometimes reaching a
height of 35 feet. The bark is purple-gray, aromatic and
pungent and covered with corky warts with a sharp thorn
at the point. The leaves are alternate and arranged in
groups of 7 to 17 on the stem (in pairs with one at the
Collection.-The dried bark is used in medicine. The
bark is frequently chewed for relief of toothache, hence the
common name "toothache-bark." The bark is usually col-
lected from the smaller trees and may be peeled in strips
30 Ierrs oF AGRICU'LTUUHE
(Fig. 9) Xanthoxylum Clava-Herculis L.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 31
from the standing tree or the tree cut down and the bark
then peeled from the trunk and branches. This is usually
clone in late summer or fall. The bark is then cut or broken
into small pieces or quills varying from 1/25 to 1/6 of an
inch in thickness when dry. The bark is carefully dried and
marketed in bales.
Prickly ash berries are also used for medicinal purposes.
They are collected when full grown and dried similar to
Myrica Cerifera L.
Bayberry Bark, Wax Myrtle Bark
Range and Habitat.-Bayberry is common throughout
this State and is found growing in low marshy areas, in
sandy soil on the borders of ponds, on the borders of canals
and around lagoons near the Gulf. It is also very common
in thickets near swamps and marshes of the sand-belts of
Description.-This is an evergreen shrub or tree vary-
ing from 3 to 35 feet in height. The trunk is usually
irregular and crooked and branches numerous, especially at
the top. The young branches are frequently reddish-brown
and covered with yellowish or reddish dots. The leaves are
sword-shaped, smooth and waxy on the surface and with
resinous dots on both sides. The berries are arranged in
scattered groups along the branches, are bluish-white in
color and covered with a thin layer of wax.
Collection.-The bark of the root is used for medicinal
purposes and the wax is used in making candles and for
The roots are gathered late in the fall, thoroughly
cleaned and the bark is then stripped off and carefully dried.
It is usually cut or broken into pieces or quills from 1 to 8
inches long and from I' to 1 inch wide and packed in bales
Both wax and root bark may be obtained from the same
shrub and both should be collected to prevent unnecessary
32 DEPARTmr.NT or AGRICULTU F.
(Fig. 10) Myrica Cerifera L.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 33
waste and also for greater profit. It is claimed that a very
fertile shrub will yield about six pounds of wax. The shrub
should not be cut down to collect the wax alone as this
destroys the source of future supply. Large trees may be
cut down to collect the berries for the wax. About 5 pounds
of berries will yield about 1 pound of wax.
To collect the wax the berries are thrown into a kettle
and enough water poured over them to cover to a depth of
about 6 inches. This is then boiled and stirred and the
berries pressed against the sides of the kettle to loosen the
wax. During the process of boiling the wax comes to the
top and should be skimmed off with a spoon and strained
through a coarse cloth. When no more wax appears at the
surface of the water, the berries are taken out with a
skimmer and more thrown into the same water. However,
the water should be entirely changed for the third time as
impurities may discolor the wax. Boiling water should also
be added to replace that evaporated. When several pounds
of wax have been obtained, it is placed in cloth and
suspended to drain off the water. It is then melted again
by placing it in a pan which is placed in hot water (double
boiler) and poured into kegs or barrels for shipment. The
wax may first appear yellow but should later become a
Serenoa serrulata (Mich.) Hooker filius
Saw Palmetto Berries
Range and Habitat.-Saw palmetto is common through-
out most of the State. It grows in sandy soil in open spaces,
thin woods and thickets. Very plentiful along the Atlantic
Description. This plant is a perennial shrub with
slender leaf stalks, somewhat flattened and with sharp
spines along the edges. The leaves are fan-shaped, nearly
circular, and with deep clefts extending nearly to the point
of the leaf stalk, forming feather-like divisions. They are
341DPclTMF%-T oF A(;RIC'LTURF.E
(Fieg. 11) Serenoa serrulata (Mich.) Hooker filius
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 35
light green to yellowish-green in color.
what resembles a small plum, varying in
inch in length and black when ripe.
The fruit some-
size from / to "! l
Collection.-The partially dried ripe fruit is used in
medicine. It is collected from August until January. The
method of collection depends on the ingenuity of the
collector but a common practice is to shake the fruit into a
basket or pail. It is then partially dried to the consistency
of a prune by placing on trays in the sun or by. artificial
heat. The berries are then sorted for the market. Ex-
perienced collectors are expert in sorting and can readily
determine quality by appearance of the fruit. It is claimed
that the berries collected within four or five miles of the
seacoast and those dried by artificial heat are of a better
quality than those collected farther inland or dried in the
sun. The demand for saw palmetto berries is limited to
about 200,000 pounds annually and the price depends on
the relative amount available for market.
:36 I) 'rARTMEINT oI Ai.III(LTI'I:
Siinlmicui C('anadelnsis L.
Range and 1Habitat.-This plant is common throughout
Florida and grows in moist soil along streams, on the
border of marshes or swamps.
Description.-Sambucus is a perennial shrub growing to
a height of about 12 to 15 feet. The stem is grayish-brown
in color and when the outer skin is peeled off a bright green
layer is exposed. The inner part of the stem consists of a
white pith. The leaves are compound, with the leaflets ar-
ranged in 2 to 5 pairs and one at the end. The flowers are
creamy-white and arranged in flat-topped, umbrella-like
clusters at the end of the flower stalk. The berries are
purplish-black in color and are edible (non-poisonous).
Collection.-The flowers are used in medicine and are
collected when in full bloom, each separate flower clipped
from its stalk and quickly dried. They should have a clean
yellowish color when dry: brownish or black will not be
accepted by dealers. The berries and the inner bark of the
stem are also sometimes used in medicine.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORID.A 37
(Fig. 12) Sambucus Canadensis L.
; ~lr LCj
38 DEPARTMENT OF A(itICULTULRE
Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
The cultivation of medicinal plants in the United States
is a comparatively recent innovation and is still only in its
early infancy from the standpoint of development. This
may be attributed to the fact that natural supplies have
heretofore been sufficient to meet the demand and could be
placed on the market more cheaply than the cultivated
product; secondly, to the fact that it has been financially
impossible heretofore to compete with the cheap labor of
foreign countries. Disturbed and unsettled economic con-
ditions in the countries from which supplies of many plant
drugs have been obtained have resulted in a decrease in
supplies and a consequent increase in prices which has
stimulated further interest in cultivation in this country.
Again, due to destructive methods of harvesting and the
spread of agriculture and other industries which require
clearing of the land, the natural supplies of native plant
drugs in some cases are being rapidly depleted and un-
doubtedly the time is not far distant when it will be neces-
sary to resort to cultivation to supply the demand for these
drugs. Some of our most important medicines are obtainable
from plants only and hence, since natural supplies are
being depleted we must depend on cultivation for our future
supplies of such drugs. Cultivation of medicinal plants is
also being stimulated by the operation of drug plant gar-
(lens and the introduction of courses in the cultivation of
medicinal plants by colleges of pharmacy, thus making it
possible for students to secure training in the fundamen-
tals of medicinal plant production.
Inasmuch as the Federal government has established by
law certain standards of purity and quality which must be
maintained by manufacturers in their medicinal products,
and has prescribed official standards of quality for the
more important crude drugs in common use, it is quite
evident that the securing of high standards of quality
should be an important consideration in the production of
MIE)ICINAL PLANTS OF FILORIDA 39
drugs under cultivation. It is further evident that this end
would not be likely to be attained by persons untrained or
unskilled in drug growing. These requirements are factors
which will unquestionably stimulate the production of drug
plants under cultivation, for the drugs offered in the
market by the collector are seldom first class from the
standpoint of purity and quality. According to Dr. W. W.
Stockberger of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington,
D. C., in order to place commercial drug-growing upon a
sound basis, it is necessary that individuals undertaking
this work shall have experience in special methods of plant
culture, acquaintance with trade requirements and market
conditions, and knowledge of collection and preparation for
the market. The problems presented by this industry are
quite similar and equally as difficult as those encountered
in the cultivation of other crops and the knowledge required
is just as fundamental and probably more specialized than
that required for the successful production of farm or
Interest in the possibility of successfully growing drug
plants for market is growing yearly. This interest is
evident in Florida and is manifested by the large number of
inquiries concerning drug cultivation being received by the
School of Pharmacy. A few medicinal plants are now being
grown under cultivation in this State, but this industry is
still in the experimental stage and has not yet developed to
the point where it is made a means of livelihood or family
support. Although the list of plants in this State which
yield useful drugs is large the number suitable for
profitable cultivation is probably relatively small because
the demand for many is small and irregular, which makes
the market for them unstable and irregular.
Many medicinal plants are regarded as weeds-that is,
when they grow in the wrong place. It has been demon-
strated that many of these plants which grow commonly as
weeds can be grown successfully under cultivation. With
such plants it is only a question as to whether or not it is
profitable to grow them. Some plants contain a volatile oil
which is the important and valuable medicinal constituent.
4-0 D)P'AITMENT OF AGOICL'LT'RE
Hence, a steam still is required to extract the oil from
such plants. A simple yet efficient type of steam still has
been devised and is in use by the School of Pharmacy,
University of Florida. A diagram with specifications may
be secured upon request at a minimum service charge.
Among such plants are mints, several of which have been
grown experimentally in the School of Pharmacy medicinal
plant garden and have been found to thrive and produce
good yields and oils of acceptable quality. Some of these
have been called to the attention of interested individuals
who are now developing acreage for commercial produc-
Since the cultivation of medicinal plants is a new
industry, persons who are contemplating taking up this
work should inform themselves as thoroughly as possible
before beginning it, so that they may proceed intelligently,
and thus not only be fair to themselves but to the industry
as well. The requirements for success in the business of
growing medicinal plants are similar to the requirements
for success in any other business; namely, industry, ordi-
nary intelligence, and plenty of good common sense. It
might be suggested that it would also be advisable to begin
this work on a small scale and then gradually branch out.
This would be less expensive in the first place, and, sec-
ondly, it would enable the grower to acquire valuable ex-
perience which could be applied advantageously with the
expansion of the industry.
There is one disadvantage which prospective drug
growers in Florida should carefully consider, and that is
the great distance from markets. It might be interesting
to note in this connection that the three important drug
producing States of the United States are New York,
Michigan and Indiana. If you will stop to consider for a
moment, you will readily surmise that this is undoubtedly
largely due to their easy accessibility to drug markets.
New York is not only accessible to important home
markets, but to export markets as well. Michigan has
within its borders several drug concerns, and at Detroit
one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturing houses in
MEDICINALL. PLANTS OF FILORHIA H1
the world. Indilana not only has its home market at
Indianapolis, but is within easy shipping distance to the
markets of nearby cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee.
It is true that we have drug markets in Florida. but
these are only subsidiary to the larger markets in the
North. This does not mean, however, that drug growing
could not be made profitable here, but it does mean that ex-
pense of transportation must be considered. With the nat-
ural advantages in the way of climate, soil and plant re-
sources possessed by Florida, the outlook for drug collection
and drug culture as a profitable and financially important
future industry for this State is encouraging.
.M1EDICINA. PLANT G;.ARDlEN
(Slhool of I'hiurnii- y. Ulniver'sity if Floridl)
The School of Pharmacy, University of Florida. main-
tains a medicinal plant garden for instructional and experi-
mental purposes. This garden consists of ten acres,
approximately four acres of which are under cultivation,
three acres from which the underbrush has been cleared
and three acres in the natural wooded state. Experimental
culture of medicinal plants is carried on for the purpose of
determining whether or not selected medicinal plants will
thrive under cultivation and if so, what yields are produced
and what is the quality of the product as measured by
recognized standards. During the several years this garden
has been in operation, experimental data concerning a
number of plants have been collected and on the basis of
the information obtained, suggestions concerning methods
of propagation, cultivation, harvesting and preparing for
market are offered in the succeeding pages and conclusions
concerning yields and quality of product are stated, where
such data are available.
There are several species of aloes all of which are native
to tropical and adjacent subtropical regions. These plants
are sensitive to cold and hence, will thrive only in the
southern part of the State. Of the several species. Aloe
42 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
vera (See Fig. 13) is best adapted to growth in Florida
and is also in greatest demand for medicinal purposes.
The leaves of aloe are long and narrow, fleshy, with
spiny margin, about 2 inches in thickness, 4 inches broad
at the base and 12 to 20 inches long when full grown.
Aloe is propagated primarily by means of the suckers.
These small plants grow out from the roots of the mother
plant. These should be carefully removed and transplanted.
They may be set out in rows about 40 inches apart and
eighteen inches between plants to permit weeding and
cultivation. These plants may also be set out in beds but
in such case hand weeding and cultivation is necessary.
From three to five years are required for plants to grow
to marketable size and when properly cared for may be
productive for ten to twelve years.
(Fig. 13) Aloe vera
The juice of the leaves is the important medicinal con-
stituent. This may be obtained by cutting the matured
leaves at the base, then placing cut end downward in an
inclined trough or receptacle so that the juice in trickling
from the leaves may be collected. The leaves may also be
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 43
crushed to a pulp and the juice strained out through a
closely woven but thin cloth.
The juice may then be dried by evaporating off the
water at a low temperature. This produces the dried aloe
of commerce. The fresh juice is used by incorporating
into an ointment and applied locally and also by diluting
with water and administered by mouth as a liquid.
The fresh leaves are in great demand for various medici-
nal purposes. For local application the leaves are cut into
thin slices and the slices are then applied to the local area
to be treated.
This plant is being cultivated in the southern part of
Florida and acreage is being rapidly increased to meet the
ANDROIOGON CITRATA and ANDROPOGON FLEXUOSA
The lemon grasses are also native to the tropics and
adjacent subtropical areas. Two species of lemon grass are
under cultivation in the medicinal plant garden, namely, a
narrow leaved plant scientifically named Andropogon
citrata and a broad leaved species, Andropogon flexuosa.
These are perennial plants and in the subtropics must be
propagated by means of the roots. The roots stool out
profusely and hence, acreage may be increased rapidly by
splitting up old bunches and setting out single rooted
plants. The plants are usually set out in rows about 40
inches apart and eighteen inches between plants to give
room for growth. A loam soil with plenty of moisture is
desirable and each crop should be fertilized at least once,
preferably during the early stages of growth.
These plants produce a volatile oil known as lemon
grass oil. The principal constituent of this oil is citral
and the quality of the oil is based on the percentage of
citral it contains.
Two crops may be produced each year. In the medicinal
plant garden the first crop is usually harvested early in
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
(Fig. 14) Lemon Grasses
MEDIICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 45
July and the second in October. The grass is mowed down
and allowed to wilt, then steam distilled to obtain the oil.
The July crop usually produces a better yield as well as a
better quality of oil. The July crop averages 25 pounds of
oil per acre with 75;' citral for citrata and 20 pounds per
acre with 801: citral for flexuosa. The October crop
averages 20 pounds per acre with 70',: citral for citrata
and 15 pounds per acre with 75% citral for flexuosa.
Some care must be exercised in cutting when harvest-
ing. The July crop may be cut about three inches above the
base of the plant but the October crop must be cut at least
six inches above the base of the plant in order to allow
enough strength and vitality to carry the roots through the
winter. Plants should be transplanted every year, preferably
in March during desirable transplanting weather. Plants
should be watered if weather is dry. In transplanting, the
old matted bunch of plants should be divided into smaller
bunches to prevent choking and crowding, thus producing
a more rapid and productive growth in the new crop.
Carica Papaya L.
The papaya is a strictly tropical plant and is found only
in the extreme southern part of the State. It is found in
Florida south of the line extending from Palm Beach west
to Fort Myers and then extending northward to Braden-
ton. The wild papaya is found in moist loamy or humus
soil around marshes and on hammocks in open woods.
The wild papaya is a shrub or small tree varying from
8 to 15 feet in height. The leaves have long stalks and are
palmately 7-lobed and each lobe divided into small lobes.
The papaya bears fruit when very young. The fruit is
arranged along the stem principally below the leaves, is
melonlike in appearance and edible when ripe. (For culti-
vated papaya, see Bulletin No. 4-New Series-October
1938, Iepartment of Agriculture, Tallahassee.)
46 DEPAnT.rIEST OF AGRICULTURE
(Fig. 15) Carica Papaya L.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA *17
Nearly all parts of this plant are used for medicinal
purposes by the natives of the tropics. However, the dried
juice (papain) of the full-grown but unripe fruit is the
most important medicinal product. It is obtained by
scratching or incising the rind with a bone or wooden
knife. The milky juice that first exudes is quite fluid and
this should be collected in a glass. After a few minutes the
juice thickens and the flow stops. This curd is then scraped
off with a bone or wooden knife and added to the juice first
collected in the glass. Metal knives or dishes should not be
used as they cause the papain to become dark or black.
The tapping may be repeated every three or four days, until
the fruit begins to ripen. After collection the milky juice
is allowed to stand for a short time to coagulate and form
a curd. This is then dried by spreading it in a thin layer on
a sheet of glass placed in the sun. (Protect from dew and
rain.) It should become thoroughly dried in 1/. to 2 days
and it is then placed in well dried bottles, tightly corked and
stored in a dark, dry place and marketed as soon as pos-
sible. Glycerin is sometimes added as a preservative.
When papain is produced on a large scale, artificial
dryers such as fruit evaporators or specially constructed
drying stoves are advisable.
Mountain mint is native to Florida. Several years ago
attention was directed to this plant because of its common
occurrence and healthy growth and volatile oil content.
Hence, wild growing plants were transplanted in the
medicinal plant garden and grown under cultivation. These
plants are perennial and may be propagated either by roots
or seeds. They grow rapidly and also stool out enormously
and thus produce good yields and permit rapid increase in
acreage. Plants should be set out in rows about 40 inches
apart and plants in the row about 18 inches apart. It is
preferable to transplant each year usually in March. In
transplanting, old bunches of roots should be broken up
iS I)EPARTMEN~T or A4.KICIC.LTI.
and planted in trenches about 4 inches deep. Cultivate
regularly to destroy weeds. Instead of transplanting, old
rows may be plowed or cultivated out and new plants
allowed to grow between old rows. Each crop should be
fertilized at least once, preferably when plants reach a
height of 6 to 8 inches. Fertilizer would not be required in
rich loam soil.
(Fig. 16) Koellia mutica
Two crops may be harvested annually, the first usually
during June and the second during September. It is best to
harvest when the plants are in full bloom. The plants are
mowed and allowed to wilt, then steam distilled to obtain
the volatile oil which is the marketable product. The June
crop is usually better in yield and also in quality than the
September crop. The average annual yield per acre is 60
pounds of oil and pulegone content of the oil is 75 to 80';
based on data obtained from crops grown in the medicinal
plant garden. Based on the above yield, a minimum of
:,000 acres would be required to meet the present market
demands for this oil.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 49
Stramonium which was described and discussed as
growing wild and thus available to collectors is also adapted
to cultivation. The cultivated plants, especially when fer-
tilized, produce a better yield and better quality than wild
growing plants. Stramonium is propagated by seeds which
may be collected from wild plants. These may be
planted in the open field in rows 40 inches apart and plants
should be thinned out to leave a stand of plants about 2
feet apart in the row. If fertilizer is necessary, apply when
plants are 6 to 8 inches high.
As soon as blossoms appear, they should be clipped off
in order to conserve the food and nourishment for plant
growth instead of seed production. This practice will result
in a better yield and a better quality of crop than if blos-
soms are allowed to mature. As soon as leaves are full
grown, they should be collected. The leaves nearest the
base of the plant mature first and hence, collection may
be carried out accordingly.
For information concerning curing and marketing, refer
to Stramonium, page 20.
Spearmint also yields a volatile oil known as oil of
spearmint which is used to some extent for medicinal pur-
poses but it is in greatest demand for use in the confec-
tionery, perfume and chewing gum industries. The princi-
pal constituent of the oil is carvone and according to legal
requirements, standard oil of spearmint must contain not
less than 50% of carvone by volume.
Spearmint is propagated by rootstock. Roots should be
planted in trenches 3 to 4 inches deep, arranged in rows
40 inches apart. This permits cultivation, as spearmint
must be carefully weeded to prevent contamination of oil
in harvesting. Rootstock should be transplanted during
March and a well-moistened but well-drained soil is re-
50 DEPARTMENT OF A(;IICILTUHE
(Fig. 17) Spearmint
.%1IEICI. AI. I' PLANT O FLORIDA 51
quired. Cultural methods are similar to those recommended
for mountain mint.
Crops are harvested when plants are in full bloom as
illustrated in Fig. 17. The first crop is usually harvested
during June and the second during late September or early
October. The plants arc mowed, allowed to wilt and then
Both yields and quality of oil produced in this State
are above the average recorded for other sections where
spearmint is grown. The average annual yield of oil is
60 pounds per acre and the average carvone content of the
oil is 70', .
This is also suggested as a garden crop in Florida. The
leaves are popularly used as a flavor for cold drinks and
also as a garnish for meat. It should be possible to develop
a good demand for spearmint by contacting soft drink
stands. hotels and restaurants.
Castor Bean. (astor-oil Plant. Palma Chriti
The castor-oil plant is found growing wild in many
localities in Florida, especially in the open areas of the
Everglades. It is also found growing along roadsides,
around abandoned buildings and along fences. This plant
is also grown under cultivation and during the World War
period the United States Government operated a cas!or-oil
plant at Gainesville. It is adapted to warm climates and in
tropical regions sometimes develops a tree 40 feet in height.
It is susceptible to frost and hence, is an annual in areas
within the frost line.
There are many forms of this plant which vary in size,
branching, color and marking of seeds. The leaves are
large, alternate and 5 to 12 palmately lobed. The lobes are
serrate or dentate. The flowers and fruits are grouped in
clusters. The flowers are pistillate and staminate, the
pistillate occurring above the staminate on the flower stalk;
hence, the clusters of fruit occur at the top of the stalk.
52 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The beans are borne in a 3-celled capsule covered with soft
The beans are collected when ripe, that is, when the
capsules have turned brown and show signs of opening.
The clusters are usually cut off, allowed to dry and the
beans threshed out by flailing. They are then cleaned by
sieving and packed in sacks for marketing or storage.
Ginger is extensively cultivated in tropical and sub-
tropical areas and most of the supplies used in the United
(Fig. 18) Jamaica Ginger
States are imported. However, ginger grows well in
Florida and hence, attention is directed to the cultivation
of ginger as a possible commercial crop in this State.
There are several commercial varieties but cultural
experiments carried out in the medicinal plant garden
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA
indicate that Jamaica ginger grows rapidly and produces a
good yield of good quality and hence, is the preferred
Ginger is propagated from rhizome cuttings and each
cutting should contain a bud. Cuttings should be planted
about 4 inches deep in rows about 35. to 40 inches apart and
about 1 foot apart in the rows. The plants mature in 9 or
10 months, hence, the new crop can be harvested in
December or January. The rhizomes are dug up after the
leaves and stems have died and dried. The rhizomes are
then prepared in different ways for the market, depending
upon market requirements.
Ginger requires a loam soil rich in humus and with
plenty of moisture. Cultivation is required to keep the soil
well aired. Fertilizer may be applied as needed and if
54- DEPARTMENT oF A(nRlCLTURE
Florida Grown Medicinal Plants
Following you will note two lists of plants which grow
in Florida. The first is indicated as a primary list and
consists of twenty-five of the most important plants from
the medical as well as the industrial point of view. Follow-
ing this, the important constituent and medicinal proper-
ties are given, numbered to correspond with the plants re-
The second list, indicated as secondary list, is made up
of plants which are used medicinally but are not used as
extensively as those of the primary list, and are therefore
of secondary importance both medicinally and industrially.
These lists are not presented for the purpose of indicating
all known drug plants of this State. As a matter of fact,
less than one-half of such plants known to be growing in
this State are included. They are presented for the purpose
of suggesting possibilities from the viewpoint of collection
Accompanying these lists is a map of the State of
Florida (See Fig. 19). It is to be noted that the State has
been arbitrarily divided into sections for convenience in
indicating the general range of the drug plants listed.
These lists are based primarily on the results of the studies
carried on under the auspices of the College of Pharmacy,
University of Florida, by Rev. Hugh O'Neill, upon the
request and cooperation of Dean T. R. Leigh.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 55
PRIMARY LIST OF MEDICINAL PLANTS GROWING
Symbols A, B, C, D, E, F, G after the name of the plant refer to
the region of the State in which this plant occurs, as indicated on
the accompanying map (See Fig. 19).
Name of Plant Common Name
1. Aristolochia serpentaria Snake root
2 Betula lenta Sweet birch
3. Capsicum frutescens Cayenne pepper
4. Brassica nigra Black mustard
5. Chenopodium ambrosioidcs
var. anthelminticum American
Cinnamomum camphora Camphor
D U. S. P.*
A U. S. P.
F, G U.S. P.
E U. S. P.
wormseed F, G
7. Cinnamomum cassia Cassia cinnamon
8. Citrus medical, var.
9. Citrus aurantium Sweet orange
10. Datura Stramonium Jimson weed
11. Gossypium herbaceum Cotton
12. Liquidambar styraciflua Sweet gum
13. Mentha spicata
14. Mentha piperita
15. Monarda punctata
16. Pinus palustris and
17. Podophyllum peltatum
18. Prunus serotina
19. Punica granatum
20. Rhus glabra
21. Ricnus communis
22. Serenoa serrulata
23. Spigelia marilandica
24. Stillingia sylvatica
25. Vanilla planifolia
Long leaved pine,
E, F, G
D, E, F, G
A, B, C, D
A, B, C,
B, C, D, E
loblolly pine, etc. A, B, C,
Mandrake D, E
Wild cherry A, B
Pomegranate E, F, G
Sumac berries B
Castor bean A, B, D, E
Saw palmetto, Sabal A, B, C,
A, B, D, E
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. E. P.
U. E. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
*U. S. P.-United States Pharmacopoeia.
$N. F.-National Formulary.
56 I)EPARTMENT OF AGRICL'LTC'RE
IMPORTANT CONSTITUENTS AND PROPERTIES OF
PLANTS IN PRIMARY LIST
1. Oil, sein, bitters .. ......... Diuretic, emmenagogue
2. Methyl Salicylate and
derivatives .................. Flavor, antiseptic, analgesic
3. Oil, Resin .................. Internal-stimulant; External-
4. Oil .. Internal-stimulant, condiment.
5. Oil ....... ........ Anthelmintic, vermifuge
6. Camphor .. ... Internal-antiseptic
7. Oil .. . .. Carminative, stimulant
8. Oil .... Flavor
9. Oil ........................ Flavor
10. Oil and Atropine ............ Narcotic, anodyne, mydriatic
11. Hairs; oil .. .Absorbent, protective; demulcent
12. Balsam ........ ........ .. Stimulant, expectorant, diuretic,
13. Oil ........ .... Carminative, flavor
14. Oil ..................... .. Carminative, flavor
15. Thymol...... ... ......... Antiseptic, anthelmintic
16. Rosin ...... ... ..... Base in plasters, etc.
Turpentine .Antiseptic, anthelmintic; terpin
hydrate, expectorant, anti-
septic, terebene, inhalant
17. Resin ......... ........... Cathartic, Cholagogue
18. Amygdalin, emulsin,
bitters, prussic acid Pectoral, tonic
19. Pelletereine tannates Anthelmintic
20. Tannin .............. Astringent, diuretic
21. Castor oil ............. . Purgative
22. Oils, resins, sugars ..... . Sedative, diuretic
23. Bitters, oil, resins .. . Anthelmintic
24. Oil, resin, glucoside Expectorant, emetic, laxative
25. Vanillin .................. Perfumery, flavor
*Number of Plant on this list corresponds to the one on the
preceding Primary List.
SECONI)DARY LIST OF MED ICINAL P S IN FLORIDA)d
Symbols A, B, (', 1), E, F, G, after the name of the plant means that this plant is found in the region of the
State in which the plant occurs, as indicated on the accompanying map (See Fig, 19),
Name of Plant
1. Amanita muscariai
2. Aletris farinuosa
3. Apoecyn imn (iannabiiumn
'I, Allia spinosa
5, Ascliiias tubllrosii
I;, laptisia tinrtoria
7, (arica papaya
8, ('hioillthuis virginila
I9, (ocuis iicifcra
II, (' ('al'urpti ('ier cti
II (lCor'nis Floridai
12, ('yilbopogol itratus
1:i, lI',lphinium conisolida
11, DiosCorea villosa
1, Ihros r l nilia ifilia
1 i;, EI" titiilli perfoiliatumi
I7, El'yuugiuiu uii(uatitiuin
11. (;entiana elliottii
21i (;uaina'lum uill'icinalis
21, lamamelis Virgilniana
22, llellonlia pulgoilles
Cmuluuliill I lnip
I'viwlloll v a'
AIt, 1), EI
Al ji, 1)
AI, B, 1),
2:1, llydrangea arborescens Sevrn barks
I'leril le tic
SECONDARY LIST OF MEDICINAL PLANTS IN FLORI)DA
(Continued from Page 51)
Symbols A, B, C, D, E, F, G, after the name of the plant means thhis pulat is found in the region of the
State in which the plant occurs, as indicated oil the accompanying map (See Fig. 19),
Name of Plant
241, Ipomoea puanlurata
25, Iris versicolor
28, Lobelia carldinalis
27, llarubium vulgare
28, Myrica cerifera
29 Papaver somnllfrumn
:1, Palls quinquefolium
31, Phytolacca decandra
32, Polygala polygama
:13, Rumex crispus
14, Salix nigra
35, Sambucus canadensis
31i, Sanguinaria cnaudensis
17, Sassafras variifolium
38. Scutellaria lateriafolia
39, Senecio aureus
II0, Solanum carolinense
,41. Tamarindus indica
42, Trilisa odoratissima
4:1, Ulmus fulva
ti, Verbascum Thapsus
ii, Xanthoxylum Clava.
Life root plant
Horse nettle berry
Slippery Elm Bark
A,B, C,), E
(Fig. 19) Map of Florida
60 DEPARTIM NT oI F RIC(i'I.TI'H E
Twenty Culinary Herbs
(Herb Journal, 69 Old Orchard Road, New Rochelle, N. Y.)
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 unpretentious.
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 for 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 cooking.
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 Perfume!
From Salmon to Sachet! What startling herb thrillers
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
satisfactory 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
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 61
a certain blend in flavor, like the delightful result obtained
from combining orange mint, applemint, spearmint, and
peppermint, in making mint jelly.
Choose a dozen, or so, herbs that have aroused your
curiosity and interest enough to grow them this spring. In
the November Journal you will find some bulletin listed
which, for a few cents, will bring you much detailed in-
formation about your chosen herbs. In the December
Journal you will find sources from which you may buy
seeds or plants. Meanwhile, until your own garden
materializes, why not obtain some powdered culinary herbs
from those listed in the December Journal as selling herb
products, and try some recipes using herbs, either in dishes
suggested in the January Journal or in your own favorites.
A later note suggests how you can try your hand even
now, in drying herbs. By next month, your choice of herbs
confirmed by experiment, you will be ready to follow out
the suggestions that I shall make for your own kitchen
THE TASTE FLAVOR OF HERBS
In the discussion of herbs in cooking (January Journal),
I emphasize 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. Many
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 there was needed to give the taste
organs an impulse.
To perform what seems to be practically a miracle
sometimes, 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
cheese, 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
62 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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
tomato, 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, or 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 to 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
pungent and warm. Seeds and foliage 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 confection.
The whole seed may be popped, after a fashion, on a hot
Lemon balm has a lemon taste which is distinctly
noticed 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, used
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, I'm sure we all recognize as mild onion. Chervil
faintly resembles parsley. Sweet marjoram is slightly
bitter and aromatic, while thyme has a strong herbal taste
and is somewhat bitter. Rosemary is rather piny and
resinous on the tongue, while tarragon has its own peculiar
il'D> IN 10 P %lNT- at FLORII T6.'l
sweetish taste faintly recalling anise. Summer savory has
the typical pleasing taste we associate with savory, a bit
like sage or mint.
(ENERA.. I SES Of 20 (I I.INARY IIEIClHS
Anise-p-impiinella nnisium-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 lialm melissa ollicinalis perennial buy
Fresh leaves: salad. in tarragon vinegar. soups,
stews, fiAh sauces, iced beverages, hot infusions.
Technical uses: Oil from plant: liqueurs, toilet prepa-
rations. particularly "Eau des Carmes." furniture
Basil-ocimum basilicum-annual-from seed.
Leafy tops: garnish, vinegar.
Leaves (chopped or x)wdered) : soup (bean. tomato.
turtle), rich stews, salad-, cream or cottage cheese.
egg or tomato dishes, chopped meat. sausages, in
butter sauce for fish, sprinkled over pIas or boiled
potato, in vegetable juice cocktails.
Technical uses: oil from plant: Terfumes of flower
Household use: basil plants in house to drive away
Bene or Sesame-sesamum orientale-annual from
Seeds (after shucking) : bread, cookies, cake, con-
Oil from seeds: for frying meats, etc.
Technical uses: seed oil as adulterant for olive oil.
64 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICL'LT'RE
Borage-borago officinalis-annual-from seed.
Young fresh leaves: salads, pickles, iced beverages,
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 cabbage
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 for
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, biscuit, cookies,
cakes, baked apples, sausages, cheese, sauce for
wild game, poultry stuffing.
Seeds (whole): sugar coated for confections, (com-
Technical uses: (Seeds) improve taste of cheap
cocoa, flavors liqueurs, used in gin distilling, in
curry powder, confectionery.
MMEDICINAIL PLANTS OF FLORID.A 65
Dill-anethum graveolus-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
Sweet M1rj.oram-origanum marjorana-annual-slow
Leaves (powdered or crushed): sprinkled over roast
Leef, lamb or pork, in butter sauce for fish; used
in vinegar, salads, cheese, puddings, chopped meat,
stullings, soup, egg dishes, peas, beans, spinach,
tomatoes, in cocktails.
Leafy top: garnish.
Technical uses: oil from plant: to scent soap, perfume
Flowering tops: in dye, potpourris, and sachets.
Household uses: hot infusions; leafy tops formerly
used in polish to scent furniture.
Fennel-fooniculum dulce-annual-from seed.
(Florence fennel or finnochio)
Thick part of the base: boiled as a vegetable, used to
Seed oil: used in soa).
foeniculum oflicinalis-perenniel-from seed.
Young stems: served raw as appetizer.
Carosella (f. ollicinalis, 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,
boiled or baked fish, garnish.
66 DKPARTXEXT or A.GRCILTIURE
Technical uses: oil from seeds: to flavor liqueurs, in
confectionery, scent for soap. Seeds: for hair dye.
Mint-perennials-buy plants or slips.
Spearmint (mentha spicata); peppermint (m. pipe-
Applemint (m.gentilis); orange mint (m.citrata).
Leaves (chopped or powdered): lamb and fish sauces,
apple sauce, fruit cup, iced beverages, confec-
tionery, sprinkled over vegetables, (peas, boiled
potatoes, carrots, spinach, raw cabbage), pea soup,
in currant jelly.
Leafy tops: (fresh, if possible) in vinegars, mint
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.
Loeafy tops (dried) in hot infusions and in moth
Parsley-petroselinum hortense, either filicinum (ferny
leaf) or crispum (curly) biennial slow from
Leaves (fresh): garnish.
Leaves (powdered or chopped): sprinkled over soup.
poached eggs, boiled potatoes, fish, mixed in butter
sauces, fricasseed chicken stock.
Rosemary rosmarinus oflicinalis perennial buy
Leafy tops (fresh): garnish, summer drinks, pickles.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): in jams, sweet
sauces, sprinkled over pork and beef roasts, in veal
stews, soups, peas; added to deep fat for frying
Technical uses: oil from plant: Hungary water, hair
preparations, tooth washes, in perfumes and soaps.
Household uses: leafy tops (dried) in moth mixtures.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 67
Sage-salvia officinalis-perennial-from seed.
Leaves (chopped fresh): in cottage cheese, pickles.
Leaves (chopped 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.
Summer Savory satureia hortensis annual from
Leafy tops (fresh) : garnish.
Leaves (chopped or powdered) : in string beans, peas,
salads, stuffings, meat cakes, croquettes, cocktails.
Household uses: leaves (fresh) : rubbed on insect bites
to take out the sting.
Leaves (fresh or dried) for aromatic baths.
Tarragon artemisia dracunculus perenniel buy
Leafy tops (fresh): for Vinaigre d'Estragon, in
Leaves (chopped or powdered) : in salads, in mustard;
in tartar, fish, cream and bearnaise sauce; with
chervil in ravigote sauce; in cocktails; butter sauce
for shellfish dishes; in egg, mushrooms and chicken
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,
6iS I)D'.IATMENT OrF A(;RI(CILT'HRE
Technical uses: oil from plant: in deodorants, anes-
thetics, gargles, perfumes.
Household uses: leafy tops in aromatic bottles,
sachets, hot infusions.
I'OWDI)IEI) I'ARSLEY IN A JII"'FY
If you have never dried herbs, begin with an easy one.
You don't need even to have raised parsley. The butcher
usually puts a few sprigs in with the fish or meat for a
garnish. If not, he will be glad to give you a handful.
Try this simple way of drying the parsley and still re-
taining its green color. Plunge the leaves, picked from the
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 will not burn. This will
take a few minutes, possibly five or ten minutes. Then rub
the leaves through a fine strainer or sieve.
And that is all there 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 score more dishes. your powdered
parsley is waiting to serve you with its rich green color.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 69
Plant Life of Florida
CHARLES TORREY SIMPSON
The State of Florida covers a great range from north to
south and from east to west, reaching from latitude 310 on
the north to a little below 241/., 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 longitude. It is the only State in
the Union that has any territory 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 con-
siderable number of species belonging in other countries
which are naturalized within our borders. We probably
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 2,000
In some of the forests of the northern part of the State
the casual observer might well suppose he was in Indiana
or Ohio, for he would be surrounded with black, red, white
and bur oaks, black walnut, wild cherry, two or more
northern hickories, sycamore, witch 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 increasing
number of temperate things. The Georgia or longleaf pine
which covers by far the greater part of Florida would
stretch far to the southward; he would find several species
70 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTrRE
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 still be the magnolias, the
wax myrtle and a variety of hollies. The temperate vegeta-
tion would begin to drop, especially if he traveled near the
Atlantic seashore, and the observer would begin to en-
counter a good many tropical plants-marlberries, a couple
of members of the Eugenia or stopper family, a Psychotria,
one of the coffee berries, and perhaps a coral tree or Ery-
thrina, with a number of others. The live oaks, the cabbage
and saw palmettos, which are abundant all over the north-
ern part of Florida, would still be with him and would be
found to the lower end of the mainland. The Georgia pine
would begin to be replaced by another of somewhat similar
appearance, but a native 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 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 because 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 islands to the south shore of the State.
During the 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
DICINAL PLAS.T or FLORIDA 71
tropical vegetation that formerly inhabited the peninsula
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 its influence,
and so we have a large number of forms which are very
close to northern species but differ just enough to be
separated by the botanists. Our common thistle, a Gerar-
dia, an Amorpha and a Ruellia may be mentioned as be-
longing 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 and that
some of the Texan forms have reached us in a similar way.
Some may have crossed back and forth by means of seed
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 seed of hundreds of species of
plants from the tropics and during the time of hurricanes
or tidal waves has landed them high and dry on our south-
eastern shores. A few, as I have stated, came across in a
similar way from the Bahamas during severe storms
among floating material in form 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
72 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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
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 longleaf pine. No sooner had it de-
veloped 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 device or another were able in some way to protect
themselves from the fire. Almost every bit of dead wood,
the leaves and all rubbish were destroyed and only a little
residue of ashes was left. This process was kept up by the
action of nature and then primeval man came and greatly
increased the damage done by fire, and now since civilized
man has come the destruction is far more complete. For
this reason the soils of Florida are generally poor, the
exception being those formed in swamps or low land and
the hammocks. Wherever in the pine woods a space was
protected 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 pre-
vented 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
IEDIcI.SL PLANT' or FLORIDA 73
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 beautiful
flowers while a number of forms are remarkable for their
extraordinary size. There is a wild millet or foxtail grass
which reaches a height of twelve feet or more with great
heads a couple of feet long, a bulrush nearly as tall with
stems an inch in diameter, and ai Acnida or water homp
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 little distance.
The longleaf 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
blossoms. A number of our native orchids are superb, the
fringed orchids or Blephariglottis. Bletia, the Calopogons
or grass pinks, the Oncidiums and Crytopodiums. There
are a number of splendid Hibiscus, the wild Amaryllis, the
lovely Crinum and the spider lilies. Thousands of acres are
covered with Iris, sunflowers and other brilliant flowered
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 live-long year and the generous rainfall is distributed
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,
74 DEPARTMENT OF A(RICULTIR' E
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.