Unresolved Botanical Ponderings

by Green Deane

in Blog, Plants



Spurge Nettle

Cnidoscolus stimulosis:   Can the leaves be boiled and eaten like other species in the genus? I personally know of two account of folks who mistook the C. stimulosis for a common nettle, either juiced it and drank it raw, or cooked it and ate  it raw. Amounts were not conveyed. It may be a possible green and raw food source. Also, is the root of the C. texanus edible and are the seeds of the C. stimulosis edible?

Aquatic Taro

The common taro invading Florida’s Florida’s waterways is an aquatic variety that does not set roots of any size but its stolons might be pickable and its greenery boiled and maybe made edible. There are reports of said in Vietnam.

Rosary Pea

The deadly rosary pea may be edible if heated above 45º C, or boiled for 45 minutes to an hour.

The Dioscorea alta may have only single leaves when young and then later develops opposite leaves.

Albizia julibrissin

Are the seeds of the Albizia julibrissin edible? I received an email from someone who said his grandmother used to serve them. He wrote in part: I have very fond memories of this tree, it’s flowers, leaves, and especially it’s seeds. My grandmother had several of these trees in her yard and I would harvest baskets and baskets of the seedpods whenever I was staying with her. I remember sitting with her in the evenings peeling open pod after pod scraping and collecting the seeds as we went. She would warm me up a flower tortillas place maybe half a cup of seeds on the tortilla, squeeze lemon, and dash salt over them roll it all up and hand it over to me. She called them “Waches” though (In Spanish). The only Ill effect that I ever noticed from eating the seeds was that it gave me really bad breath. I don’t think I have ever seen the seeds for sale in any modern grocery store but, I have seen them being sold in local markets (especially in Mexican neighborhoods.) But as you see below another readers suggest he is mistaken with the acacia tree.

Virginia Creeper

Is the sap from the Virginia Creeper and or the Pepper Vine drinkable? (Parthenocissus quinquefolia and Ampelopsis arborea respectively.)  At least on man on the internet reported he drank the Virginer Creeper sap with no ill effect. There is also a few reports the berries of the latter are edible where as other reports make them fatal.

Tobacco Hornworm

Can dried Manduca sexta that fed on tobacco be used to thin blood because of the nicotine content?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John B. August 27, 2012 at 11:08

Regarding the Albizia julibrissin, is it possible your correspondent confused it with an acacia? Acacia seeds (guajes in Spanish, which sounds sort of like waches) have been eaten in Mexico since precolumbian times. They are supposed to taste like garlic, which could explain his report of bad breath.


Green Deane August 27, 2012 at 13:04

Very well could have, memories of what other did is often poor.


josh yingling June 3, 2012 at 23:26

I just want to make bracelets from the rosary pea, so should I just boil three seed for an hour to destroy the Abrin? Any info would be great , josh


Green Deane June 4, 2012 at 06:41

This is the most toxic seed on earth. One very tiny mistake and you can be dead in three days, no antidote. The only advice I am going to give is to leave the seed completely alone.


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