W. DONALD CONKING
' BULLETIN No. 14 ,,NEW SERIES JANUARY 1942-
o ction *a Cult*
Collection and Cultivation
SBy B. V. CHRISTENSEN, Ph. D.
Director, School of Pharmacy :,
Professor of Pharmacognosy and Pharmacology
and Director of Medicinal Plant Garden
University of Florida
STATE OF FLORIDA
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
NATHAN MAYO, Commissioner
Prepared and Publishec in Cooperation with the
School of Pharmacy
University of Florida, Gainesville
2937 SW 27th Ave.,
Dec. 3, 1941
Commissioner of Agriculture,
Dear Sir: Many thanks for the bulletin on "Collection and
Cultivation of Medicinal Plants of Florida" by Dr. Christen-
sen. It is the best bulletin I have ever seen on the subject, in
fact I am showing it to nmy 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
only a mine of useful information but just the kind of defense
facts that will lead to home production, leading to self-suffi-
ciency in this State.
Yours very truly,
John C. Gifford
Professor Tropical Forestry in the University of Miami.
Figures 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7 are reproductions from Millspaugh
-American Medicinal Plants and used by permission of the
publishers, Boericke V 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 Phar-
macy. Figure 3 is used through the courtesy of Parke, Davis
8 Co., Detroit, Michigan and Figure 6 is from a photograph
taken by Dr. Geo. F. Weber and kindly furnished by J. F.
Cooper, both of whom are members of the Agricultural Exper-
iment Station staff. University of Florida. Sketch for Figure
8 was furnished by the M.-F. Neal T6 Co, Richmond, Va.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction ..................................................................... 7
General Considerations.............................................. 9
Collection and Curing............................................... 10
Marketing Crude Drugs..........-...----- ........-.......--...... 13
Prices--.......-.. ---..-.. --...............---.....................-.... 14
Crude Drug Dealers......................--.-..--- ..-.... .... 14
Medicinal Plant Literature.........................-- .... 15
Collection of Medicinal Plants-................................. 16
Stillingia........................................... ................ .... 16
A sclepias ....................... .............. ........... ................. 18
Stram onium ................ ....................... .. ......... 19
G elsem ium ................................................................. 19
Phytolacca-..................---- ... .---- ..-.--- .......--...... 21
Trilisa Odoratissima.................. ............ .... ;--.--. 23
Dioscorea- -------------....-......................................... .. 25
B aptisia-......... ............. ........... ......... ................... 26
Styrax.................................................... ................. 26
Myrica -..................--- ..------- --.. --.......----.......-. 29
Xanthoxylum ............---------------.............. ........ 29
Sabal..--....-- .........------- ...........- -- -- ......-.......--- 33
Sambucus .....-................................ ...------- -........ 34
Cultivation of Medicinal Plants.-.............................. 36
Medicinal Plant Garden-----------------.-.-39
Medicinal Plant Garden ...................... .................... 39
Aloe -------------..--.....................................--------------------------.................................. 39
Andropogon Citrata and Andropogon Flexuosa........ 41
Carica Papaya.............. ........................................... 43
K oellia M utica............................................................ 45
SMentha Viridis-- .......-... .--- ............---..... ...--... 46
Stramonium .-................ ........... ....... ....... 46
SRicinum Communis...............--- ------........... ......-..... 48
Z ingiber ............................. .................. ................ 49
Florida Grown Medicinal Plants ............................. 51
Primary List of Medicinal Plants............................. 52
Plant Constituents and Properties......................... 53
Secondary List of.Medicinal Plants-.-...... .................. 54
Twenty Culinary Herbs of Florida-........................... 57
Plant Life of Florida............... .... ......................... 65
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Fig. 1--Stillingia sylvatica L.................................... 7
Fig. 2-Asclepias tuberosa L......................................... 18
Fig. 3-Gelsemiuim sempervirens L........................... 19
Fig. 4-Datura stramonium L............................. -20
Fig. 5-Phytolacca Americana L............................... 22
Fig. 6-Trilisa Odoratisima...........................................24
Fig. 7-Dioscorea Villosa L........................................ 25
Fig. 8-Tapped Tree........................................... 27
Fig. 9-Xanthoxylum Clava-Herculis L....................... 28
Fig. I0-Myrica Cerifera L.............................................. 30
Fig. 11-- Serenoa serrulata............................................. 32
Fig. 12-Sambucus Canadensis L.............................. 35
Fig. 13-Aloe vera..................................... ............ 40
Fig. 14-Lemon Grasses............................................. 42
Fig. 15-Carica Papaya L...-..-................................... 44
Fig. 16-Koellia mutica................................................. 46
Fig. 17-Spearmint........................ ...... ............. 47
Fig. 18-Jamaica Ginger.................................. ...... 49
Fig. 19-Map of Plant Areas........................... ........ 56
The large number of letters received by the School of
Pharmacy, University of Florida, requesting information re-
garding 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 Number
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 experi-
ence to be practical but other methods which may be 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 col-
lect 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 done by farmers during spare time and much of
if can be done by women and children. There are some in-
stances 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. Adulteration, whether
intentional or not, detracts from the quality of the crude drug
and may result in rejection or reduction in price.
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 salability and price.
Hence, such drugs should be carefully dried in the shade and
exposure to dew or rain carefully avoided.
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
Most of the-drugs herein mentioned are packed in clean,
strong burlap. Small quantities may be packed in cardboard
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 powdering.
An attic over the kitchen is a very good place in which to
dry crude drugs, especially-if the kitchen-below is heated 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
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
or shelves, as described later, may be constructed 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 tempera-
tures. 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 120F. that a very good product is obtained. This
is difficult to control without a controlled heating and venti-
lating 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 grad-
ually closed to retain. heat as the drying process continues.
In the case of-flfiwers and drugs containing constituents
affected by heat the temperature should not exceed 950?. and
a temperature around 80 F. is much better.
After drugs have been dried sufficiently they may be re-
arranged 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 place.
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 this bulletin.)
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 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
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 11
wires or boards attached in tiers to the rafters in the attic and
thus provide a large amount of drying space. These trays.
may also be used out of doors.
It is not advisable to dry roots in direct sunlight although
this is sometimes done. The sun hardens the outer layer and
thus slows the movement of the moisture from the inner part
of the root and also takes out 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 discus-
sion of the drug. The drying process usually requires from
three to six weeks and when thoroughly dry the roots will
readily snap when bent.
Leaves are usually collected when the plant is in
Leaves 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. Fre-
quently the plant is cut and suspended head downward by
booking a branch or leaf stalk over a wire and the leaves
stripped off when dry. The method used depends 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 bunched 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.
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 about how large a bundle can be
safely made. Large bundles do not permit free circulation of
air and hence, the leaves will turn black and make an un-
desirable product for the market. If leaves are placed in bunches
on 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 clean water, then shake the
12 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
free water off and suspend top downward to dry. Leaves
should not be washed unless it is absolutely essential. 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 sus-
.. pended 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 process.
It is advisable to reject the large and coarse stems and
retain the smaller stems, the leaves and flowering tops. The
coarse stems mayy-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
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 the
Barks winter or early spring before growth takes place.
This is the period when barks contain the greatest
amount of active medicinal constituents. In the collection of
barks, the destruction of the tree should be avoided as far as
possible. Barks of stems may be collected in alternate strips
from the standing tree and a continuous and future supply
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 .opportunity 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,
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 13
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 strips 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 be 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.
Flowers are gathered when freshly opened or in
Flowers full bloom. A natural color and odor are very
essential in flowers and hence, it is inadvisable to
include old or faded flowers. In most cases the flower head
only is desired and hence, stems and other plant parts should
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
14 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
to two or three dealers for quotation of prices. The collector
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 always
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 correspond
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 expenses.
It is always advisable to ask for the prices f.o.b. shipping
,point. The collector will thus know exactly how much he
can get for his drugs.
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 advisable 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 deter-
mining 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,
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 15
All Crude Drugs
S. B. Penick 8 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 f Co., Inc., 1900 E. Franklin St., Richmond,
E. K. Vietor Company, P. O. Box 555, Richmond, Virginia.
Richard D. Heins, 129 Fulton Street, New York, N. Y.
Wm. M. Allison 8 Co., 162 Water Street, New York,
Saw Palmetto Berries
R. C. Burns, Canaveral, Florida.
Sweet Gum Balsam
M- F. Neal 84 Co., Inc., 1900 E. Franklin St., Richmond,
MEDICINAL PLANT LITERATURE
It is suggested that collectors subscribe for a current journal
such as Drug 8 Cosmetic Industry, 101 W. 31 St., New
York, price $2.00 per year, which will give information on
prices and price tendencies and also articles 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.
16 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Collection of Medicinal Plants
A large number of crude drugs used in the United State
ate imported from Europe, Asia, South America and other
countries, not because they cannot be grown here but because
the imported drugs can be bought more cheaply. However
we depend on our native supplies of some drugs such as Man
drake, Wild Cherry and Cascara to meet our demands. W
have also exported drugs to some extent. Due to unsettled
economic conditions in foreign countries, supplies of crud
drugs have been considerably reduced in a number of case
and prices hav consequently increased to the point where
such drugs could be profitably collected or produced in thi
Due to the fact that there are ample supplies of several
native drugs in this State, the collection of medicinal plant
is deserving of more attention. Following is a list of nativ
herbs which grow in commercial quantities in the localitie
indicated. Brief comments and descriptions are offered to ail
those interested in identifying these plants and preparing then
Stillingia sylvatica L.
Range and Habitat.-Queen's root grows commonly ii
open areas and thinly wooded sections of the light sand,
regions of this State. It is particularly plentiful in Alachua
Marion and adjoining counties and in the region of the uppe
Description.-This is an herbaceous perennial and grow
from 1 to 3 feet high. The stems are clustered, smooth an
-branched and when bruised emit a milky juice. The leave
are alternate and vary somewhat in shape from ovate an<
obovate to oblong and lanceolate. They are thick and flesh,
with a saw-toothed margin. The flowers are very small an<
yellow in color and the seed is produced in a round, three
celled capsule, with one seed in each cell. The root is cylindrica
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 17
(Fig. 1) Stillingia sylvatica L.
18 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 Milk Weed Root
Range and ifabitat.-Pleurisy root is found in northeastern
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.
a perennial herb' growing
from 2 to 3 feet high. It is
very hairy, very leafy and
branched at the top. The
S leaves are arranged irregu-
larly 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-lanceo-
late in shape and undulately
wrinkled along the margin.
This plant has beautiful,
bright, orange-colored flow-
7'r ers arranged in umbels or
:l- i flat-topped cymes. Orange
milk weed root differs from
L other milkweeds in not giv-
(Fig. 2) Asclepias tuberosa L. ing off a milky juice when
cut or bruised.
Collection.-The root of this plant is used for medicinal
purposes. It grows deep in the soil, is shaped very much like
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA
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 shipment.
Gelsemium Sempervirens L.
Range and Habitat.-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- conditions of
moisture and temperature. This plant is very popular as an
S is a perennial woody climber
with a purplish slender stem.
S The leaves are arranged op-
posite, have very short stalks
\and are lance-shaped. The
flower is yellow and funnel-
shaped and in this State ap-
pears in late February or
and roots are used for me-
dicinal purposes. They are
dug up in the autumn,
washed, dried and broken or
S'cut into pieces from 2 to 12
inches in length. The usual
S drying and packing methods
for roots should always be
(Fig. 3) Gelsemium sempervirens L. observed.
.Datura stramonium L.
Range and Habitat.-Jimson weed, although native in the
tropics, is widely distributed throughout the subtropics and
temperate zones. In Florida it grows commonly in dooryards,
,2 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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
Sis herbaceous and grows
from 2 to 6 feet in height
depending on soil condi-
Sh tions. The leaves, especially
when crushed, give off a dis-
agreeable odor, similar to,
that of the Irish potato vine
and, as a matter of fact, it
belongs to the same family
(S'olanaceae). The .s- e in s
are yellowish-green, cylin-
drical, flattened, longitudi-
Se nally wrinkled, stout and
much branched. The leaves
.are large, 2 to 12 inches
long, 11/2 to 6 inches broad,
irregularly waved and tooth-
ed, pointed at the apex and
narrowed at the base. The
(Fig. 4) Datura stramonium L. v s are e t an
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 continuously 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 seeds 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
and the leaves then stripped off. In either case, they must be
dried in the shade and protected from rain and dew to pre-
serve the green color. After being thoroughly dried they should
be carefully packed in bales, bags or cartons and stored in a
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 21
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 capsules
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
Phytolacca Americana L. (P. decandra)
Range and Habitat.-Pokeweed is common along roadsides,
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 ornamental 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
SCollection.-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 the fall, carefully
/ washed, cut into-tranverse slices and thoroughly dried. Poke-
weed 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
22 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
(Fig. 5) Phytolacca Americana L.
IU .-C-I-Wr --
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 23
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.
TRILISA ODORATISSIMA (WALT), CASS
Range and Habitat.-Deer-tongue grows in commercial
quantities in Alachua, Lake, Marion, Orange, Seminole, Sum-
ter 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 collected
when full grown, which is about the time of flowering. The
leaves may be stripped from the plant or the plant cut and
the leaves then stripped and tied in small bundles and sus-
pended under shelter to dry, i.e., the methods used for col-
lecting 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, 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
24 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
(Fig. 6) Trilisa Odoratissima
"- *" 1~iLI1 "mil- im i m a. _- ____ -*.. ...
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 25
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 some other States.
Discorea Villoso 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-
ennial herb', with slender
stems w hi'ch twine over
bushes for support. The!
1 eaves are heart-shaped,
/ hairy beneath, 9 to 11 ribbed
and variously arranged on
the stem but the upper ones
are alternate. The flowers are
small and greenish-yellow
and the seed is borne in a
(underground stem) is used
in medicine. These should
S.be dug in autumn or during
the season when the plant
Sd.. --, is not growing. The small
SI :'- .. | roots are removed and the
rhizome cut into pieces of
(Fig. 7) Dioscorea Villosa L. varying lengths, usually 2 or
S- 3 inches, -carefully washed
arid 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.
26 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 situations.
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 lIaf 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 an'd about as long as the leaflets. It flowers
from Da7 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 through-
out Florida and is found growing in moist woods in loamy
or muck soil.
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 somewhat
resembles the northern maple in general appearance.
Collection.-The secretion (balsam) of the sapwood caused
by wounding the tree is used for medicinal purposes and for
YLI~LIIYYC.. 1 _(-7I11l~-~- f Tli~dlZll~il3dlFI -Cl--r~- .-
-. -. ta^^k
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 27
industrial purposes also. The following directions for tapping
trees and collecting gum are offered through the courtesy of
M. F. Neal 8 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, depending
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 condi-
tions 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.
j..li "Collecting the Gum.-
This gum as collected will
have some trash in it and
S bits of bark, and it must be
Cleaned before shipping. To
-. do this heat gum in a double
boiler, with water between,
and bring water to boiling
point and keep it there until
gum runs easily. Then fil-
ter through cheesecloth into
some vessel that will keep.
S i-- the gum in good condition
S until shipped. A good con-
tainer is a tin can with double
.iifriction top. or a molasses
(Fig. 8) Tapped Tree can.
28 bEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURP
(Fig. 9) Xanthoxylum Clava-Herculis L.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA
"When gum is ready for shipment, it ought to be clear,
light brown, rather solid and sticky. If 20 pounds and over
ship the gum by express; if less than 20 pounds send by
parcel post, insured, and we will include the postage when we
remit for the gum."
Xanthoxylum Clava-Herculis L.
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 streams.
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 end).
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 from
the standing tree or the tree cut down and the bark then
peeled from the trunk and branches. This is usually done 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
Prickly ash berries are also used for medicinal purposes.
They are collected-when full grown and dried similar to poke
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 the Atlantic.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
(Fig. 10) Myrica Cerifera I,.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 31
Description.-This is an evergreen shrub or tree varying
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 cov-
ered 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 then stripped off and carefully dried. It is
usually cut or broken into pieces or quills from 1 to 8-inches
long and from 1/2 to 1 inch wide and packed in bales for
Both wax and root bark may be obtained from the same
shrub and both should be collected to prevent unnecessary
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 dis-
color the wax. Boiling water should also be added to replace
that evaporated. When several pounds of ax-- have been ob-
taip'ed, it is placed in a-' oth 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 greenish color.
32 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
(Fig. 11) Serenoa seirulata (Mich.) Hooker filius
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 33
Serenoa serrulata (Mich.) Hooker filius
Saw Palmetto Berries
Range and Habitat.-Saw palmetto is common throughout
most of the State. It grows in sandy soil in open spaces, thin
woods and thickets. Very plentiful along the Atlantic Coast.
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 light green to yellow-
ish-green in color. The fruit somewhat resembles a small
plum, varying in size from 1/2 to 7/s inch in length and black
when ripe. -
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
r~- ----l"-5-~-CUCrrs--LI- ~Yu-----rrllllr-~-
34 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
by placing on trays in the sun or by artificial heat. The
berries are then sorted for the market. Experienced 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 pal-
metto berries is limited to about 200,000 pounds annually and
the price depends on the relative amount available for market.
Sombucus Canadensis L.
Range and-lHabitatt.--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 arranged
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 FLORIDA 35
(Fig.,/I2) Sambucus Canadensis L.
36 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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. Dis-
turbed and unsettled economic conditions in the countries
from which suppliesof many plant drugs have been obtained
have resulted in a decrease in supplies and a consequent increase
in prices which has stimulated further interest incultivation
,in this country. Again, due to destructive methods of harvest-
ing 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
undoubtedly 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 gardens 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 fundamentals of medicinal plant
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 im-
portant crude drugs in common use, it is quite evident that
the securing of high standards of quality should be an im-
portant consideration in the production of drugs under culti-
vation. 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 unques-
- eY1--I..^LCI- I-l^ii~L~----l L I- i- ~. LL-IIPII
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 37
tionably 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 col-
lection and preparation for the market. The problems pre-
sented 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 truck crops.
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 experi-
mental 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
Many medicinal plants are regarded as weeds-that is, when
they grow in the wrong place. It has been demonstrated 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. Hence,, a steam still is
required to extract the oil from such plants. A simple yet
efficient type of steam still has been devisei-fand is in use by
tb6 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
__I IlL _ Il_____il_ _YUU_
38 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 production.
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 major proceed intelligently, and thus not only
be fair to themselves but to the industry as well. The re-
quirements for success in the business of growing medicinal
plants are similar to the requirements for success in any other
business; namely, industry, ordinary 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 branchiouit. This would be less expensive in the
first place, and, secondly, it would enable the grower to ac-
quire valuable experience which could be applied advaiitageously
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 the world. Indiana 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 expense of transporta-
tion must be considered. With the natural advantages in the
way of climate, soil and plant resources possessed by Florida,
the outlook for drug collection and drug culture as a profitable
and financially important future industry for this State is
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA
MEDICINAL PLANT GARDEN
(School of Pharmacy, University of Florida)
The School of Pharmacy, University of Florida, maintains
a medicinal plant garden for instructional and experimental
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--con-
cerning 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 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 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
rur _ -- ~----^-
40 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The juice of the leaves is the important medicinal constit-
uent. 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 crushed to a
pulp and the juice strained out through a closely woven but
The juice may then be dried by evaporating off the water
at a low temperature. This produces the dried aloe of com-
merce. The fresh juice is used by incorporating into an oint-
ment and applied locally and also by diluting with water and
administered by mouth as a liquid.
(Fig. 13) Aloe vera
The fresh leaves are in great demand for various medicinal
purposes. For local application the leaves are cut into thin
slices and the slices are then applied to the local area to be
This plant is being cultivated in the southern part of
Florida and acreage is being rapidly increased to meet the
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA
ANDROPOGON CITRATA and ANDROPOGON FLEXUOSA
The lemon grasses are also native to the tropics and ad-
jacent 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
Two crops may be produced each year. In the medicinal
plant garden the first crop is usually harvested early in 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
80% 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 harvesting.
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.
-- -----*- -7--Cc,'- ---. --:.im
42 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
IL~C II II
,,. .X~ c~L~', .;.
(Fig. 14) Lemon Grasses
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA
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 Bradenton. 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 melon-
like in appearance and edible when ripe. (For cultivated pa-
paya, see Bulletin No. 4 New Series October 1938, De-
partment of Agriculture, Tallahassee.)
Nearly all parts of this plant are used for medicinal pur-
poses 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 col-
lected 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 1/ to 2 days and is then placed in well
dried bottles, tightly corked and stored in a dark, dry place
and marketed as soon as,-possible. 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.
44 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
(Fig. 15) Carica Papaya L.
pI ~; ''
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 45
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 per-
ennial 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 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 re-
quired in rich loam soil.
(Fig. 16) Koellia mutica
46 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 Septem-
ber 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 3,000 acres would be
required to meet the present market demands for this oil.
Stramonium which was described and discussed as growing
wild and thus available to collectors is also adapted to culti-
vation. The cultivated plants, especially when fertilized,
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 blossoms 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 accord-
For information concerning curing and marketing, refer
to Stramonium, page 19.
Spearmint also yields a volatile oil known as oil of spear-
mint which is used to some extent for medicinal purposes but
it is in greatest demand for use in the confectionery, perfume
and chewing gum industries, The principal constituent of the
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 47
(Fig. 17) Spearmint
48 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
oil is carvone and according to legal requirements, standard
oil of spearmint must contain not less than 50% of carvone
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 harvest-
ing. Rootstock should be-transplanted during March and a
well-moistened but well-drained soil is required. Cultural
methods are similar to those recommended for mountain mint.
Crops are harvested when plants are in full bloom as illus-
trated in Fig. 17. The first crop is usually harvested during
June and the second during late September or early October.
The plants are mowed, allowed to wilt and then steam
Both yields and quality of oil produced in this State are
above the averages recorded for other sections where spear-
mint 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 co'd 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
Castor Bean, Castor-oil Plant, Palma Christi
The castor-oil plant is found growing wild in many
localities in Florida, especially in the open areas of the Ever-
glades. 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 castor-oil plant at
Gainesville. It is adapted to warm climates and in tropical
regions sometimes develops into 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
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 49
or dentate. The flowers and fruits are grouped in clusters,
The flowers are pistillate and staminate, the pistillate occur-
ring above the staminate on the flower stalk; hence, the clus-
ters of fruit occur at the top of the stalk. The beans are
borne in a 3-celled capsule covered with soft spines.
The beans are collected when ripe, that is, when the cap-
sules 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.
(Fig. 18) Jamaica Ginger
Ginger is extensively cultivated in tropical and subtropical
areas and most of the supplies used in the United States are
imported. However, ginger grows well in Florida and hence,
50 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
attention is directed to the cultivation of ginger as a possible
commercial crop in this State.
There are several commercial varieties but cultural experi-
ments carried out in the medicinal plant garden indicate that
Jamaica ginger grows rapidly and produces a good yield of
good quality and hence, is the preferred variety.
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 inthe 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,'depelding 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 needed.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA
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 medicinal
as well as the industrial point of view. Following this, the
important constituent. and medicinal properties are given,
numbered to correspond with the plants respectively.
The second list, indicated as secondary list, is made up of
plants which are used medicinally but are not used as exten-
sively 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 -alLknown
drugs 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 or cultivation.
Accompanying these lists is a map of the State of Florida
(See Fig. 19). It is to be noted that the State has been arbi-
trarily 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.
I_ _ 11_111__ _~ _ _~ _ _~ ~Cr
52 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 accom-
panying map (See Fig. 19).
Name of Plant
Aristolochia serpentaria S
Betula lenta S
Capsicum frutescens C
Brassica nigra E
var. anthelminticum I
Cinnamomum camphora C
Cinnamomum.cassia- --- C
Citrus medical, var.
Citrus aurantium S
Datura Stramonium J
Gossypium herbaceum (
Mentha piperita 1
Monarda punctata 1
Pinus palustris and
Long leaved pine,
loblolly pine, etc.
Saw palmetto, Sabal
E. F, G
D, E, F, G
A, B. C, D
A, B. C
B, C, D, E
A, B, C
E, F, G
A, B, D, E
A. B, C
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. S. P.
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. S. P.
U. S. P.
U. S. P.
A. B, D, E N. F.
D, E N. F.
*U. S. P.-United States Pharmacopoeia.
*N. F.-National Formulary.
MEDICINAL PLANTS OF FLORIDA 53
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,
diaphoretic; external- rebufa-
5. Oil _____Anthelmintic, vermifuge
6. Camphor I--nternal- 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, antiseptic,
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
2+. Oil, resin, glucoside _Expectorant, emetic, laxative
25. Vanillin _____ Perfumery, flavor
*Number of Plant on this list corresponds to the one on the preceding
: _ ~
SSECONDARY LIST OF MEDICINAL PLANTS IN FLORIDA
Symbols A, B, C, D, E, F, G, after the name of the plant means that this plant is found
which the plant occurs, as indicated on the accompanying map (See Fig. 19).
in the region of the State in
Name of Plant
1. Amanita muscaria
2. Aletris farinosa .
3. Apocynum Cannabinum
4. Aralia spinosa
5. Asclepias tuberosa
6. Baptisia tinctoria
7. Carica papaya
8.. Chionanthus virginica
9. Cocos nucifera
10. Conocarpus erecta
11. Cornus Florida
12. Cymbopogon citratus
13. Delphinium consolida
14. Dioscorea villosa
15. Drosera rotundifolia
16. Eupatorium perfoliatum
17. Eryngium aquaticum
18. Gelsemium sempervirens
19. Gentiana elliottii
20. Guaiacum officinalis
Water eryngo, Button
U. S. P.
A, B, CI D, E
B, C, D, E
E, F. G
A, B, D
&, B. C, D
A, B, C, D, E
21. Hamamelis Virginiana Witch Hazel
N. F. A. Bi, D
22. Hedcoiha pulegoides
23. Hydrangea arborescens
24. Ipomoea pandurata
25. Iris versicolor
26. Lobelia cardinalis
27. Marrubium vulgare
28. Myrica cerilera
29. Papaver somniferum
30. Panax quinquefolium
31. Phytolacca decandra
32. Polygala polygama
33. Rumex crispuss
34. Salix nigra
35. Sambucus canadensis
36. Sanguinaria canadensis
37. Sassafras variifolium
38. Scutellaria lateriafolia
39. Senecio aureus
40. Solanum carolinense
41. Tamarindus indica
42. Trilisa odoratissima
43. Ulmus fulva
44. Verbascum Thapsus
45. Xanthoxylum Clava-
Life root plant
Horse nettle berry
Slippery Elm Barl
A, B, C, D, E
------ ----- ---- --- ---- -
N. F. A, B,, D, EE
U. S. P. A, B, C, D, E
U. S. P.
---- ---- ---- ----
A, B, D, E, F
N. F. A, B
U. S. P.
A, B, C, D. E
N. F. Bi C, D,E
C rminative, diapho-
(Fig. 19) Map of Florida
-- ---- _y~qll ~CIU-Y-~U_?LUI~YLi~l-~1U*Y"*~~di~~
CULINARY HERBS OF FLORIDA
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 in-
stance, 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 again
-and soon! / &.
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 cer-
tain 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 a certain
/'blend in flavor, like the delightful result obtained from com-
bining orange mint, applemint, spearmint, and peppermint,
in making mint jelly. .'_ -
/- Choose a dozen, or so, herbs that have aroused your
58 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
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 sug-
gests 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 garden.
THE TASTE FLAVOR OF HERBS
SIn the discussion of herbs in cooking (January Journal),
I emphasized the point of varying the flavor of dishes you
serve by the addition of individual herbs or varied combina-
tions, 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 some-
times, this exciting of dull appetites, we must seek to know
what flavors each of our family likes or actively dislikes.
Just as some people won't eat oysters or strong cheeses, so
they might not care for fennel which tastes something like
anise. So, before experimenting too rashly, get acquainted
with the flavor of each unfamiliar herb, not only for its
own peculiar flavor but also for its effect in* combination
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 friendships. Everyone will
"I- 4 .. I ...... a ; - -- 1
CULINARY HERBS OF FLORIDA 59
simply fan the air, trying to find the appropriate, or even
adequate words. Taste varies so with the individual accord-
ing 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 com-
ments 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 the 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 skillet.
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
Chives, I'm sure we all recognize as mild onion. Chervil
faintly resembles parsley. Sweet marijoram 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 sweetish
taste faintly recalling anise. Summer savory has the typical
pleasing taste we associate with savory, a bit like sage or mint.
GENERAL USES OF 20 CULINARY HERBS
/ Anise-pimpinella anisum-annual-from seed.
Seeds: bread, cake, apple sauce, stews, soups, tea drink.
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.
60 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
./ Lemon Balm-melissa officinalis-perennial-buy plants.
1" Fresh leaves: salad, in tarragon vinegar, soups, stews.
fish sauces, iced beverages, hot infusions.
Technical uses: Oil from plant: liqueurs, toilet prepara-
tions, particularly "Eau des Carmes," furniture oil
SBasil-ocimum basilicum-annual-from seed.
S Leafy tops: garnish, vinegar.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): soup (bean, tomato,
turtle), rich stews, salads, cream or cottage cheese,
egg or tomato dishes, chopped meat, sausages, in
butter sauce for fish, sprinkled over peas or boiled
potato_ invegetable juice cocktails.
Technical uses: oil from plant: perfumes of flower
Household use: basil plants in house to drive away flies.
.Bene or Sesame-sesamum orientale-annual-from seed.
Seeds (after shucking): bread, cookies, cake, confec-
Oil from seeds: for frying meats, etc.
Technical uses: seed oil as adulterant for olive oil.
Borage-borago officinalis-annual-from seed.
Young fresh leaves: salads, pickles, iced beverages, as
Fresh flowers: crystallized for confectionery, cakes, and
-xBurnet-sanguisorba minor-biennial-from seed.
Leafy tops: gives cucumber taste to vinegar, salads, iced
L .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
CULINARY HERBS OF FLORIDA
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 chicken.
Household use: leafy tips (and seeds) formerly used in
polishes to scent floors and furniture.
S, Chives-allium schoenoprasum-perennial-buy plants.
I Green tops (chopped fine): soups, cheese, omelettes,
potatoes, croquettes, sausages, tomato cocktail. -
Coriander-coriandrum sativum-annual-from seed.
Seeds (crushed): bread, gingerbread, biscuits, cookies,
cakes, baked apples, sausages, cheese, sauce for wild
games, poultry stuffing.
Seeds (whole): sugar coated for confections, comfitss).
Technical uses: (Seeds) improve taste of cheap cocoa,
flavors liqueurs, used in gin distilling, in curry
SDill-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 perfume.
> Sweet Marjoram-origanum marjorana-annual-slow
SLeaves (powdered or crushed): sprinkled over roast
beef, lamb or pork, in butter sauce for fish; used
in vinegar, salads, cheese, puddings, chopped meat,
stuffings, soup, egg dishes, peas, beans, spinach,
tomatoes, in cocktails.
Leafy top: garnish. ,
Technical uses: oil from plant: to scent soap, perfume
/ and pomades.
Flowering tops: in dye, potpourris, and sachets.
Household uses: hot infusions; leafy tops formerly used
in polish to scent furniture.
~- ---* *- *-**---- - - .. __ __ T^
62 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Fennel-foeniculum dulce-annual-from seed.
(Florence fennel, or finnochio)
Thick part of the base: boiled as a vegetable, used to
Seed oil: used in soap.
foeniculum officinalis-perennial-from seed.
Young stems: served raw as appetizer.
Carosella (f. officinalis, var. piperitum) -raw
stems particularly popular with Italians.
foeniculum vulgare--perennial--from seed.
Seeds: pudding, soups, cakes, German sauerkraut, spiced
Leaves (chopped or powdered): soup, fish sauce, boiled
or baked fish, garnish.
Technical uses: oil from seeds: to flavor liqueurs, in con-
fectionery, scent for soap. Seeds: for hair dye.
)e, Mint-perennials-buy plants or slips.
Spearmint (mentha spicata); peppermint (m.piperita).
Applemint (m.gentilis); orange mint (m.citrata).
Leaves (chopped or powdered): lamb and fish sauces,
apple sauce, fruit cup, iced beverages, confectionery,
sprinkled over vegetables, (peas, boiled potatoes,
carrots, spinach, raw cabbage), in pea soup, in cur-
Leafy tops: (fresh, if possible) in vinegars, mint jelly.
Technical uses: oil from plant: tooth paste, mouth
washes, liqueurs, chewing gum, soap, perfumes.
Household uses: leafy tops (fresh) in hot infusions and
scattered about to keep mice away.
Leafy tops (dried) in hot infusions and in moth
\,.Parsley-petroselinum hortense, either filicinum (ferny
leaf) or crispum (curly) -biennial-slow from
Leaves (fresh) : garnish.
Leaves (powdered or chopped): sprinkled over soup,
poached eggs, boiled potatoes, fish, mixed in butter
sauces, fricasseed chicken stock.
CULINARY HERBS OF FLORIDA
-'Rosemary-rosmarinus officinalis-perennial-buy plants.
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 potatoes.
Technical uses: oil from plant: Hungary water, hair
preparations, tooth washes, in perfumes and soaps.
Household uses: leafy tops (dried) in moth mixtures.
3 Sage-salvia officinalis-perennial-from seed.
S Leaves (chopped fresh): in cottage cheese, pickles.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): sprinkled over poultry,
veal, pork; used in sausage, stewed tomatoes, string
Technical uses: hair tonic.
Household uses: leaves rubbed on teeth to cleanrthem
and strengthen gums; hot infusion for gargle; hot
infusion for tea.
i,/x Summer Savory-satureia hortensis-annual-from seed.
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.
/,x Tarragon-artemisia dracunculus-perennial-buy plants.
Leafy tops (fresh): for Vinaigre d'Estragon, in pickles.
Leaves (chopped or powdered): in salads, in mustard;
in tartar, fish, cream and bearnaise sauces; with
chervil in ravigote sauce;. in cocktails; butter sauce
for shellfish -dishes; in egg, mushrooms and
Technical uses: oil from plant: perfumes and toilet
/ Thyme-thymus vulgaris-perennial-from seed.
Leafy tops (fresh) : garnish.
Leaves (chopped -or powdered): with other herbs in
/ vinegar,, -ii sauces for meat and fish, cocktails,
croquettes, chipped beef, fricassees; with pork, veal;
in soups with onion; cheese, carrots, peas, scalloped
64 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Technical uses: oil from plant: in deodorants, anes-
thetics, gargles, perfumes.
Household uses: leafy tops in aromatic bottles, sachets,
POWDERED PARSLEY IN A JIFFY
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.
PLANT LIFE OF FLORIDA 65
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 31 on the
north to a little below 241/2 on the south, a distance of some
460 miles and to within less than a degree of the Tropic of
Cancer. From the Perdido River on the western end, to the
city of Palm Beach at its eastern edge, it covers about the'
same amount of 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 ele-
ments; 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 headquar-
ters in the West Indies or the Spanish Main: warm temperate
forms which probably have had their origin in the south-
eastern States, and fourthly, a considerable 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 con-
siderably over 2,000 exogens.
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 of Nyssa
dr 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 vegetation would
66 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
begin to drop, especially if he traveled near the Atlantic
seashore, and the observer -would begin to encounter 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 Erythrina, with a number
of others. The live oaks, the cabbage and saw palmettos,
which are abundant all over the northern 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 be-
cause of the presence of a few Bahaman plants that do not
grow in the great island. There is a bewildering variety of
trees and they are jumbled together without any order just
as they are in a tropical forest. The south shore of the main-
land, 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 Jittle if any
tropical vegetation that formerly inhabited the peninsula sur-
vived. 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
PLANT LIFE OF FLORIDA 67
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
Gerardia, an Amorpha and a Ruellia may be mentioned as
belonging to this class.
The flora of Texas differs decidedly from that of Florida
but it is probable that within comparatively recent times
some of our plants have migrated to the Lone Star State
around the land along the north shore of the Gulf 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 southeastern
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 this way from the great island and landed
on our shores in forty-eight hours. I have seen acres of such
seeds freshly landed on the Lower Keys by a hurricane and
some of them were sprouting.
Florida is a new State, geologically speaking, none of its
surface being older than the Eocene and a considerable part
either Pleistocene or Recent and these are the very last of the
earth's formations. The greater part of it is composed of
silicious sand and on most of this there sprung up a forest
.xf longleaf pine. No sooner had it developed than lightning
began to strike dead trees, thus setting the woods on fire.
These forest fires destroyed all the ground vegetation save
certain species which by one cunning device or another were
68 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
able in some way to protect themselves from the fire. Almost
every bit of dead wood, the leaves and all rubbish were de-
stroyed 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 prevented
fire from running over the land. Their seeds were planted
largely by birds which in carrying them in their beaks
dropped them or-passed them through, and without a doubt
a rain of such seeds has been falling over most of the State
for thousands of years. .-
SAll the leaves, limbs and trunks of dying trees that fell
in the forest were gradually changed to. leaf mold and its
soil soon became very fertile and this made conditions still
more favorable for plant growth.- A variety of epiphyta
orchids, ferns and wild pines established themselves on the
trees of these hammocks, making the forest bewilderingly
beautiful. I have never seen such enchanting scenes as may be
found in many of our hammocks; they scarcely seem to be
of the earth earthy.
A great area of the lower part of the State is very wet
prairie, the Everglades caused by the overflow of the great
Lake Okeechobee. This is covered with a wonderful growth
of herbaceous vegetation, some of it bearing beautiful flowers,
while a number of forms are remarkable for their extraor-
dinary 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 an Acnida or water hemp which springs
up from seed and in the course of a few months attains a
height of over twenty feet with a stem often as large as a
man's body. This remarkable growth very closely resembles
a forest when seen from a little distance.
The longleaf pine furnishes millions of feet of the finest
timber and several other of our forest trees are valuable for
PLANT LIFE OF FLORIDA 69
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 magnolia, 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 Blephari-
glottis, 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 plants.
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 won-
derful evenness, vegetation grows with remarkable vigor, not-
withstanding the poverty of the soil. The woods, the swamps
and the meadows are forever green, flowers bloom in all the
months and the songs of birds and the gaudy colors of
butterflies constantly add charm and happiness to the lives
of those who are fortunate enough to be numbered among
the residents of Florida.