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                     USEFUL DOMESTICATED AND WILD PLANTS

                                        OF AMERICAN ORIGIN

                          (* =  KNOWN PRE-COLUMBIAN USAGE)

                                                           (Contacts)

 

 

 

Aromatic & Fleshy Fruits, Fruit Trees

Aromatics, Narcotics, Stimulants, Etc.

Farinaceous Plants

Herb & Bush Fruits

Legumes

Oil Plants

Palms

Pasture Plants (Tropical Grass)

Plants for Industry

Protein Plants

Roots & Tubers

Timber

 

 

 

            COMMON & SCIENTIFIC NAMES WITH REMARKS

 

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Roots & Tubers

*American yam = Dioscorea trifida Willd. = tubers eaten, prehistoric cultivation

  Añu = Tropaeolum tuberosum R.P. = Nasturtium-like plant

*Arrowroot = Maranta arundinacea = lowlands, medicinal, starchy root cooked

*Aymara, Ajipa = Pachyrrhizus ahipa (Wedd.) Parodi = edible tubers & seeds

  Cocurito = Calathea allouia (Aubl.) Lindl. = wax, thatch

*Jerusalem artichoke = Helianthus tuberosus L. = N. Amer., tubers eaten

*Jícama = Pachyrrizus erosus (L.) Urban = crunchy vegetable, root

*Jícama, Potato bean = Pachyrrhizus tuberosus (Lam.) Sprengel = crunchy root

*Manioc = Manihot esculenta Crantz = lowlands

*Oka = Oxalis tuberosa Mol = substitute for potatoes

*Peruvian carrot = Arracacia esculenta DC = aromatic tasty roots.

*Potato = Solanum tuberosum L. = over 50 species in S. Amer.

*Purple arrowroot = Canna edulis Ker. = S. Amer., ornaments

*Ruba, Papa verde = Ullucus tuberosus Lozano = very ancient usage as vegetable

*Sweet potato = Ipomoea batatas (L.) Poir = tubers eaten

*Tannia, Yautia = Xanthosoma sagittifolium L. (Schott) = cultivated >1,000 yrs ago.

*Yam bean = Pachyrrhizos erosus (L.) Urban = edible tuber; lowlands

 

Farinaceous Plants

*Amaranth, Gautli, Haautl = Amaranthus spp. = seeds used as grain

*Goosefoot = Chenopodium spp. = pot herb, cereal

*Maize = Zea mays L. = flour, beverages, early cultivation (2,000 BC?)

*Mango, Teca = Bromus mango Desv. = extinct now, primitive cereal in S. Amer.

 

Protein Plants

*Beans = Phaseolus lunatus L. = Phaseolus lunatus L.,  

          *Phaseolus aborigineus Burkhart, Phaseolus spp = seeds eaten (since ca. 2,000 BC)

*Giant bean = Canavalia plagiosperma Piper = S. Amer. cultivar

*Jack bean = Canavalia ensiformis (L.) DC. = slightly toxic bean

*Jícama = Lupinus mutabilis Sweet = seeds require leaching

*Lima bean = Phaseolus coccineus L = seeds eaten

*Scarlet runner bean, Ayocote = Phaseolus acutifolius L. = seeds eaten

*Tawri, Indian lupin = Canavalia spp. = S. Amer. cultivar

*Tepary bean = Pachyrrhizus spp. = seeds eaten

 

Oil Plants

*Abilla = Caryodendron orinocense Karst = oil extracted from seed

  Aromatic Plant = Madia sativa Mol. = like olive oil, S. Amer.

*Brazil nut, Paranut = Bertholletia excelsa Humb. & Bonpl = still mostly wild trees

*Buffalo gourt, Chilicote = Caryocar spp. = cultivars developed early

*Chia = Salvia hispanica = high energy food plant of N. Amer. origin

*Jojoba = Simmondsia chinensis Schneider (Link) = fatty oil extracted by boiling seeds

  Mellinus = Mellinis minutiflora Beauv. = volatile sticky oil

  Monkeypot = Helianthus annuus L. = N. & Cent. Amer. Origin, seeds

  Oil Madi, Melosa = Lecythis elliptica H.B.K. = seeds eaten

  Oiticia tree = Jatropha curcas L. = purgative

*Orinoco nut = Eschweilera odorata Miers = rare species, seeds eaten

*Peanut, Maní, Cacahuete = Arachis hypogaea L. = origin in Andes

  Physic nut = Fevillea cordifolia L = climbing herb

*Soapberry, Jaboncillo = Sapindus saponaria L = substitute for soap.

*Sunflower, Mirasol = Cucurbita foetidissima H. B. K = seeds & roots eaten

 Uaku = Licania sclerophylla Mart. = fast-drying oil

 Ucuba oiltree =Virola sebifera Aubl. = for candles

 ?? = Monopterix uacu Spruce = eaten raw, boiled or as beverage

 

Palms

*Abassu, Coruba = Orbignya martiana Barb.-Rodr. = oil, fuel

*Acrocomia palms = Acrocomia spp. = alcoholic beverage, fruits eaten raw

*Astrocaryum palms = Astrocaryum spp. = fruit eaten, leaves for fiber

*Attalea palms = Attalea spp = fruit eaten, leaves for fiber

*Batana = Jessenia bataua (Mart.) Burr. = fruit eaten, oil extracted

*Dendé, Corozo = Elaeis oleifera H.B.K. = oil for cooking

*Moriche = Mauritia flexuosa L. = timber, oil & fruit

*Oenocarpus palms = Oenocarpus spp. = oil & fruit

*Pejibaye, Pixba = Bactris gasipaes H.B.K. = seeds & fruit eatn, leaves for fiber

  Queen Palm = Palmitos (Heart of Palms) = similar to asparagus but more fibrous

  Urucuri palm = Copernica prunifera (Miller) Moore = carnauba wax substitute

  Wax palm = Copernicia australis Becc. = carnauba wax substitute

*Wax palms = Copernicia cerifera (Arr.) Mart. = carnuba wax

  ???? = Ceroxylon andicola Humb. & Bonpl. = high altitude in Colombia, wax used

  ???? = Syagrus coronata (Mart.) Becc. = substitute for carnauba

 

Plants for Industry

*Agave =  Agave spp. = food, drink, fiber

*Cabuya = Agave cabuya Trel. = fiber

*Cabuya = Fourcraea spp. = fiber

*Calabash tree, Calabacero, Tecomate, = Crescentia cujete L. = rind containers; lowlands

*Cotton = Gossypium spp (double chromosome) = fiber, oil

*Dwarf aloe = Agave angustifolia Haw. = high quality fiber

*Gigante = Agave gigantea Vent.= fiber

*Guayule = Parthenium argentatum A. Gray = rubber substitute

*Hennequen, Sisal = Agave fourcroydes Lemaire = durable, high quality mats, rope

*Indigo = Indigofera suffruticosa = dye

*Istle = Agave lecheguilla Torrey = coarse hard fiber, brushes

  Jicaro = Crescentia alata H.B.K. = fruits eaten, containers

*Jicaro, Guacal = Crescentia spp. = containers

*Maguey = Agave cantala Roxb. = drink, food, fiber

*Maguey gigante = Agave tecta Trelease = largest agave, pulque

  Manicoba = Manihot glazovii Muell-Aarg. = latex

*Para rubber, Caucho = Hevea brasiliensis (H.Bk.) Muell-Aarg. = rubber

*Quiche = Agave quicheensis Trel. = fiber

*Rubber, Caucho = Castilla elastica Cerv. = latex; lowlands

*Sapota, Sapodilla = Manilkara achras (Mill.) Fosbereg = chewing gum, fruits eaten

*Silk cotton, Kapok, Ceibo = Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn = water repellent fiber,

       oil seed, light timber

*Sisal hemp = Agave sisaliana Perrime = highly esteemed fiber

*Yucca = Yucca elephantipes = fiber, hedges

 

Aromatics, Narcotics, Stimulants, Spices, Aesthetics

  Allspice, Pimienta = Pimenta dioica (L.) Merrill = spice & food preservative

*Annatto, Achiote = Bixa orellana L. = lowlands, body paint, medicine

  Bay Rum = Pimenta racemosa (Mill) = perfume, after-shave lotion

*Black nightshade = Solanum nigrum = pot herb

*Cacao, cocoa = Theobroma cacao L. = chocolate, in lowlands (e.g., Veracruz)

*Chile peppers = Capsicum spp = spice

*Coca = Erythroxylon spp = narcotic, endurance medicine

*Copal = Protium copal = resin as incense

*Dahlia = Dahlia spp. = flower

  Golden root, Raicilla = Cephaelis ipecauana (Brot.) Rich = remedy for amoeboid

        dysentery

  Guarana, Yoco = Paullinia spp. = stimulants, fish poison

*Kaahée, Sweet Paraguay herb = Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni = sweetener

*Marigold = Tagetes erecta = flower, food coloring (added to animal feed)

*Misc Flowers = Nasturtium spp, Cosmos spp., etc = many genera appear on ceramics

  Quinine, Cascarilla = Cinchona spp. = malarial fever reduction

  Snake bark, Mambee = Colubrina reclinata (Herit.) Brongn. = stomach disorders

*Tobacco (hybrid) = Nicotiana tabacum L. = hybrid produced by Amerindians

*Tonka tree, Cumaru = Dipterix odorata (Aubl.) Walld. = spices, flavoring

*Vanilla = Vanilla spp (fragrans pompona Schiede, pittieri, planifolia Andr.). = tree

        orchids; lowlands

  Wild tobacco = Nicotiana spp. = 10 different spp., narcotic/medicinal

  Yerba mate = Ilex paraguariensis St. Hil. = high caffeine, stimulant, ease digestion

 

Timber

*Balsa = Ochroma pyramidalis (Cav.) Urb. = light wood for canoes, insulation, etc.

*Bamboo = Bambusoideae = arrow shafts, poles, etc

*Mahogony, Caoba = Swietenia macrophylla Jaq. = valuable tropical timber

*Mangroves = Avicennia germinans L. = ship masts

*Pines = Pinus spp. = many North American species for timber, seeds & resin

*Pino = Araucaria araucana = S. Chile

*Pino de Parana = Araucaria augustifolia (Bertol.) Kuntze = N. Argentina/Brazil; fruit

 ???? = Languncularia racemosa Gaertn. = firewood

 ???? = Rhizophora mangle L. = termite resistant wood

 

Pasture Plants (Tropical Grass)

*Arrowleaf = Gynerium sagittatum (Aubl.) Beauv = for arrows

*Teosinte = Euchlena mexicana Schroder = ancestor of maiz, forage

  Bahia grass = Paspalum notatum Flüge = palatable forage

  Buffel grass = Cenchrus ciliaris L. = drought resistant forage

  Guatemala grass = Tripsacum latifolium Nash = hardy forage

  Panicum grass = Panicum spp. = drought resistant

  Savannah grass = Bothriochloa pertusa (L.) Camus & Brachiaria mutica (Forsk) = forage

  Sorghum = Sorghum almum Parodi = hybrid American/African plant

  ???? = Axonopus affinis Chase = pasture

 

Legumes

  Bejuquillo = Desmodium spp = pasture

  Calopo = Calopogonium coeruleum Benth. = forage

  Grass pea, Almorta = Dioclea guyanensis H.B.K. = forage

  Horse tamarind = Lathyrus spp. = forage

  Peanut-like plants = Arachis spp = food for humans & animals

  Vichada = Centrosema acutifolium L. = forage

  Yerba rosada = Aeschynomena americana L. = forage

  ???? = Leucaena spp = forage

  ???? = Macroptilium spp. = forage

  ???? = Stylosanthes spp. = forage

  ???? = Zornia spp. = forage

 

Aromatic & Fleshy Fruits, Fruit Trees

  Achras Zapota, Sapodilla = Chrysophyllum cainito L. = lowlands, shade, tart fruit

*Algarrobo, Mesquite = Prosopis spp. = sweet seeds, wood

*Avocado, Aguacate = Persea americana Mill. = lowlands, high protein fruit;

       many varieties

  Bacuri do Parana = Platonia esculenta Arr. da Gamarh = seed & fruit

*Barbados cherry, Acerola = Malpighia punicifolia L = fruit very high in Vitamin C

  Biriba = Rollinia deliciosa Saff. = fruit eaten

*Cashew = Anacardium spp. = lowlands, nuts

*Chestnut = Pachira spp .= fruit & seeds (superior to European variety, but declined)

  Coroboro, Guanipol = Hymenaea courbaril L. = hard wood, implements

*Cow tree, Macho = Couma utilis (Mart.) Müller = latex like milk

  Feijoa = Acca sellowiana (Berg) Burket = fruit, beverages

*Genip tree = Casimiroa edulis Llave & Lex. = lime-like sweet custard fruit

*Guama = Inga spp. = fruit

*Guava, Guayaba = Psidium guajava, Psidium spp. = lowlands, high vitamin fruit, wood

*Guayabo, Pitomba, etc. = Eugenia spp. = fruit, high vitamin content

*Hog plum, Jobo = Spondias mombin L. = lowlands, fruit like plums

*Jagua, Genipap = Genipa americana L. = a stain from sap

*Jocote = Spondias purpurea L. = fruit pulp eaten

  Madrono, Naranjito = Rheedia spp. = fruit

*Mamey = Mammea americana L = very sweet & aromatic fruit

  Mamey Colorado = Pouteria sapote (Jacq.) H.F. Moore & Stearn = sweet & aromatic fruit

*Membrillo = Gustavia superba H.B.K. = tart gelatinous cooked fruit

*Milk trees = Brosimum spp = sap like milk

  Mountain plum, Manzanilla = Ximenia americana L = candles made from seeds

*Nance, Chaparro = Byrsonima crassifolia (L.) H.B.K. = fruit

*Papaya = Carica papaya L. = fruit/vegetable; lowlands

*Papayas = Carica spp. = fruit/vegetable, lowlands & highlands

*Peruvian pepper = Schinus molle L = alcoholic beverage, spice

  Red mulberry = Morus rubra L. = fruit

*Sapota = Chrysophyllum spp. = fruit

  Sapote Mamey = Pouteria spp. = fruit

*Sour- & Sweetsops = Annona spp. = lowlands, prized aromatic sweet fruit (painting in

        Pompeii, Italy)

*Soursop (Guanabana) = Annona muricata L. = lowlands, prized aromatic tart fruit

*Star apple = Calocarpum spp. = latex from fruit used

  Taruma = Vitex triflora Vahl. = sweet fruit

  Trumpillo, Madroño = Aliberta edulis Rich. = fruit

*Uvero de Playa, Sea Grape = Coccoloba uvifera (L.) Jacq. = grape-like fruit, occurs at

        tropical & sub-tropical sea coasts

  Uvilla, Guarumo = Pourouma spp = fruit

*White sapote = Psychotria spp = white custard apple

*Yba-Puro = Myrciaria cauliflora (Dc.) Berg = grape-like fruit

*Yellow Genip = Melicocca bijuga L. = fruit

*Zapote = Diospyros spp. = sweet fruit

*Zapote del Monte   = Matisia cordata H.B.K. = tasty fruit (many related species)

*Zapote Verde = Talisia olivaeformis Radlk. = aromatic fruit

  ???? = Manilkara spp. = sap for chicle & plastic

  ???? = Pouteria domingensis Gaert.) Baehni = lowlands, fruit

 

Herb & Bush Fruits

*Boro-boro, Moco-moco = Montrichardia arborescens Schott = edible fruit

*Bottle gourd, Tecomate = Lagenaria siceraria (Mul.) Standl. = African origin, containers

*Cochineal plant = Nopalea cochenillifera (L.) Salm. = cochineal from insects on cactus

*Chayote = Sechium edule (Jacq.) Swartz = kind of squash

*Chilean strawberry, Fresa = Fragaria chiloensis (L.) Miller = large-fruited strawberry

*Liane = Monstera deliciosa Liebm. = tasty fruit on vine

*Liane = Philodendron bipinnatifidium Schott = fruit eaten fresh or cooked

*Melon pear, Pepino Dulce = Solanum muricatum Ait. = vegetable

*Orinoco Apple, Topiro = Solanum topiro Humb. & Bonpl. = seeds, fruit

*Passion Vine = Passiflora spp. = aromatic tart fruits

*Pepino Hueco = Cyclanthera pedata (L.) Schrad. = vegetable

*Pineapple, Ananas, Piña = Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. = fruit

*Pitahaya = Hylocerus undatus = epiphyte cactus; lowlands

*Prickly pear = Opuntia spp. = seedy fruit of cacti & pads for vegetable

*Prickly pear, Tuna = Opuntia ficus-indica Mill. = fruit, vegetable

*Pumpkin = Cucurbita pepo L. = vegetable

*Secana, Cajuba = Sicana odorifera Naudin = fruits used for fragrance

*Sponge gourd, Luffa = Luffa spp. = sponge substitute

*Squash (summer) = Cucurbita spp. = vegetables

  Tacaco = Polakowskia tacacco Pittier = squash-like fruit

*Tomatillo, Husk tomato = Physalis ixocarpa Miller = vegetable

*Tomato = Lycopersicon esculentum = fruit & vegetable

*Tomato, Tomate = Physalis spp. = fruit & vegetable

  Tree tomato, Tomatillo = Cyphomandra betacea (Cav.) Sendt = fruit & vegetable

*Walnut squash = Cucurbita mixta Pang. = vegetable

*Warty Crookneck Squash = Cucurbita moschata Duch. Ex. Poir. = vegetable

*Winter Squash = Cucurbita maxima Duch = vegetable

*Yucca = Yucca elephantipes = flowers edible, fiber

 

 

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1/ , Brüchner (1989), Coe (1994)