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Cereus.

Major entries:
Cereus giganteus Engelm.
Cereus thurberi Engelm.

Cereus caespitosus Engelm. & A. Gray. Cactaceae.

Texas. The fruit, rarely an inch long, is edible, and the fleshy part of the stem is also eaten by the inhabitants of New Mexico. The fruit is of a purplish color and very good, resembling a gooseberry. The Mexicans eat the fleshy part of the stem as a vegetable, first carefully freeing it of spines.

Cereus dasyacanthus Engelm.

Southwestern North America. The fruit is one to one and one-half inches in diameter, green or greenish-purple, and when fully ripe is delicious to eat, much like a gooseberry.

Cereus dubius Engelm.

Southwestern North America. The ripe fruit, one to one and one-half inches long, green or rarely purplish, is insipid or pleasantly acid.

Cereus engelmanni Parry.

Southwestern North America. This plant bears a deliciously palatable fruit.

Cereus enneacanthus Engelm.

Southwestern North America. The berry is pleasant to eat.

Cereus fendleri Engelm.

New Mexico. The purplish-green fruit is edible.

Cereus giganteus Engelm.

Texas. This cactus yields a fruit sweet and delicious. The Indians collect it in large quantities and make a sirup or conserve from the juice, which serves them as a luxury as well as for sustenance. The Mexicans call the tree suwarrow; the Indians, harsee. The sirup manufactured from the juice is called sistor. Engelmann says the crimson-colored pulp is sweet, rather insipid and of the consistency of a fresh fig. Hodge, in Arizona, calls the fruit delicious, having the combined flavor of the peach, strawberry and fig.

Cereus greggii Engelm.

Texas. The plant has a bright scarlet, fleshy, edible berry.

Cereus polyacanthus Engelm.

Texas. It bears a berry of a pleasant taste.

Cereus quisco C. Ga.

Chile. The sweetish, mucilaginous fruits are available for desserts.

Cereus thurberi Engelm.

New Mexico. This plant grows in the Papago Indian country on the borders of Arizona and Sonora and attains a height of 18 to 20 feet and a diameter of four to six inches and bears two crops of fruit a year. The fruit is, according to Engelmann, three inches through, like a large orange, of delicious taste, the crimson pulp being dotted with numerous, black seeds. The seeds, after passing through the digestive canal, are collected, according to Baegert and Clavigero, and pounded into a meal used in forming a food. Venegas, in his History of California, describes the fruit as growing to the boughs, the pulp resembling that of a fig only more soft and luscious. In some, it is white; in some red; and in others yellow but always of an exquisite taste; some again are wholly sweet, others of a grateful acid. This cactus is called pithaya by the Mexicans and affords a staple sustenance for the Papago Indians.


Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, 1919, was edited by U. P. Hedrick.



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