Capsella.—Shepherd's Purse, cont'd.
Continued from previous page.
Dentaria diphylla, Linné, of North America, and several other species of Dentaria, are known as Toothwort and Pepperwort, the rhizomes of which have a pungent taste. Of the European species there may be mentioned the D. enneaphylla, Linné, and D. bulbifera; of the American, D. laciniata, Mühlenberg, D. heterophylla, Nuttall and D. maxima, Nuttall.
Barbarea vulgaris, Robert Brown, Yellow scurvy-grass, Winter cress, Yellow rocket.—Frequently cultivated as a salad, as is also the Barbarea praecox, R. Brown, or Early winter cress. Both are found in Europe and North America.
Nasturtium officinale, R. Brown (Sisymbrium Nasturtium, Linné), Water cress.—Common in wet places. Pungent and bitterish when fresh, and contains a sulphuretted essential oil analogous to that of mustard. A plant having similar properties is the Nasturtium palustre, De Candolle, or Marsh cress.
Capparis spinosa, Linné. Nat. Ord.: Capparidaceae. Caper.—The caper bush is a trailing shrub growing in northern Africa and Southern Europe. Formerly the root-bark was official. It has a bitterish, sub-acrid, aromatic taste. The bluish-green, entire, round-oval leaves also possess the bitter, acrid taste. The plant is chiefly cultivated, however, for its flower buds, which, when prepared with salt and pickled in vinegar, form a much esteemed condiment. The buds are about the size of a pea, have 4 each of petals and sepals, many stamens, a single ovary, and a sharp, hot taste. When pickled they are sour and burning to the taste. Besides tannin and a bitter body, the root-bark contains a pungent, saponin-like principle. The buds contain an alliaceous, volatile oil, and a yellow coloring body thought to be rutin (rutic acid) (see Ruta). Pickled capers were formerly employed in scurvy, and the root-bark in rheumatic complaints and amenorrhoea.
Capparis ferruginea, Linné, and Capparis cynaphallophora, Linné. West Indies. Root-bark vesicant and diuretic; fruit used in scurvy; all parts have been used in hysteria and to expel worms. The Eastern species, Capparis Egyptiaca, Lamarck, and Capparis coriacea, have similar uses. The African fruit of Capparis lodada, Robert Brown, and other species, are used as substitutes for pepper.
Reseda Luteola, Linné. Nat. Ord.: Resedaceae. Dyer's weed, Weld. Europe. Naturalized in the United States. The root of this plant is conical, and resembles in taste and odor the garden radish. It contains allyl-sulphocyanate (C3H5CNS), or volatile oil of mustard (Volhard). A persistent bitter taste is imparted by the herb. It contains silky yellow crystals of a coloring body, luteolin (C20H14O8). It is feebly bitter and somewhat astringent. It is quite soluble in alcohol, and less so in ether and water. Fused with caustic potash it yields protocatechuic acid, phloroglucin, and carbon dioxide. It is now used only in dyeing; formerly it was employed to increase the renal and cutaneous secretions.
Reseda odorata, Linné, Mignonette. Its root also contains the volatile oil of mustard, or allyl-sulphocyanate.
Polanisia graveolens, Rafinesque. Nat. Ord.: Capparidaceae. North America, from Vermont to Arkansas, in gravelly soil. An annual bearing small yellowish-white flowers and ternate leaves, and many-seeded, oblong-lanceolate pods. The whole plant is viscid-pubescent and has a pungent taste and disagreeable odor. It is an irritant.
Gynandropsis pentaphylla, De Candolle. Nat. Ord.: Capparidaceae. East Indies. Naturalized in this country, growing in waste places from Virginia to Georgia. Flowers white; capsule linear and containing numerous seeds, which have been used like mustard.
Tropaeolum majus, Linné, and Tropaeolum minus, Linné. Nat. Ord.: Geraniaceae. Garden nasturtium, Indian cress. Natives of Peru. Cultivated for ornament and for the buds and immature fruits, which are used in pickling.
Other Cresses.—Spilanthes oleracea, Jacquin (Compositae), is Para cress; Arabis lyrata, Linné (Cruciferae), is Rock or wall cress; and Senebiera didyma, Persoon, is Wart cress and Swine cress (see also Sinapis).