Botany 115 Economic Plant Families

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Economically Important Plant Families

Numbered Plant Familes Are Used On Botany 115 Exam #4 Submission Form

See A Numerical List Of All Plant Families Used On This Version Of Exam #4

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  1. Aceraceae: Maple Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Acer spp. Maple [Beautiful hardwoods, lumber and shade trees.]

      A. saccharum Sugar Maple [From sapwood during early spring; many commercial syrups contain artificial ingredients such as colorings, flavorings and preservatives.]

      Maple Syrup From The Sugar Maple Tree

  2. Actinidiaceae: Actinidia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Actinidia chinensis Kiwi or Chinese Gooseberry [Fuzzy green fruit with translucent pale green flesh surrounding narrow ring of tiny black seeds; the flavor suggests a blend of melon, strawberry and banana.]

      See Delicious, Fresh Kiwi Fruits

  3. Agaricaceae and Boletaceae: Mushroom Families   Back To Alphabet Table
    [Also Including The Cantharellaceae, Morchellaceae & Tricholomataceae]

  4. Agavaceae: Agave Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Note: This Family Sometimes Lumped With The Liliaceae

      Agave atrovirens Pulque Plant [Pulque is the fermented juice from the base of flower stalk; leaves of central cone are removed and the sap is allowed to collect in the cavity; mescal and tequila are distilled pulque; other species of Agave are also used for pulque.]

      A. sisalina Sisal [Strong fibers from leaves.]

      Phormium tenax New Zealand Flax [Strong leaf fibers 3 to 7 feet long.]

      Sansevieria metalaea and other spp. Bowstring Hemp [Strong fiber from leaves; sometimes placed in the Liliaceae.]

      Cordyline fruticosa Ti Plant [Many uses for fibrous leaves of this Polynesian plant.]

      Go To Wood/Plant Fiber Crossword Puzzle
      See Article About Plant Textile Fibers
      Read About Legendary Hawaiian Ti Plant

    Amaranthaceae: Amaranth Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Amaranthus caudatus Jataco or Achita [Edible leaves used as a potherb; nutritious seeds cooked and eaten like cereal grains.]

      Amaranthus retroflexus Pigweed [Edible leaves and seeds.]

      A. cruentus, A. powellii, A. hypochondriacus Amaranth [Edible seeds ground into flour; amaranth flour was important South American cereal during pre-Columbian times; grown by the Aztecs and southwest Indians for millennia, the small seeds are rich in lysine and the young leaves are high in calcium and iron.]

      Red Inflorescence & Seeds Of Amaranth Species

  5. Amaryllidaceae: Amaryllis Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Note: This Family Sometimes Lumped With The Liliaceae

      The following plants with edible bulbs are often placed in the lily family but are more correctly members of the Amaryllis Family--Amaryllidaceae:

      Allium cepa Onion and Shallot [Edible bulbs; including many different varieties.]

      A. ampeloprasum (A. porrum) Leek [Delicious edible bulb and leaves.]

      A. sativum Garlic [Edible bulb; valuable seasoning and medicinal herb.]

      A. schoenoprasum Chives [Leaves used for garnish and herb.]

      See Fresh Red, White & Yellow Onions
      Garlic: Seasoning & Medicinal Herb
      See Bulb And Leaves Of A Fresh Leek

  6. Anacardiaceae: Cashew or Sumac Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Anacardium occidentale Cashew [The cashew "nut" is attached to a swollen, fleshy stalk (pedicel) called the cashew apple; the outer shell of the "nut" contains the allergen urushiol and can cause a dermatitis reaction similar to that of poison oak and poison ivy.]

      Spondias mombin Hog Plum

      S. purpurea Red Mombin

      Harpephyllum caffrum Kaffir Plum

      Pleiogynium solandri (P. timorense) Burdekin Plum

      Mangifera indica Mango

      Pistacia vera Pistachio Nut

      P. lentiscus Gum Mastic

      P. chinensis Chinese Pistache

      Pachycormus discolor Elephant Tree [Native to Baja California; also see elephant trees (Bursera spp.) in Burseraceae.]

      Gluta renghas Rengas Tree [Tropical Malaysian tree with beautiful heartwood; dangerous to work because of urushiol in resin.]

      Melanorrhoea usitata Burmese Lacquer Tree [Sap contains urushiol.]

      Semecarpus anacardium India Marking Nut Tree [Sap contains urushiol.]

      Metopium toxiferum and Comocladia dodonaea [Caribbean shrubs that contain urushiol.]

      Schinus molle Peruvian Pepper Tree [Female trees are the source of pink peppercorns.]

      S. terebinthifolius Brazilian Pepper Tree [Female trees are the source of pink peppercorns.]

      Toxicodendron vernicifluum Lacquer Tree. [From milky sap which darkens upon oxidation; sap contains urushiol.]

      Note: Shellac is prepared from a resinous secretion on the twigs of several tree species by an insect, Tachardia lacca or Laccifer lacca. This insect is a member of the order Homoptera along with aphids, scale insects, mealy bugs, and cicadas. Confectioner's glaze (also known as pharmaceutical glaze) is an alcohol based solution of food grade shellac. It extends the shelf life of candies and tablets and protects them from moisture. It also masks the unpleasant odor and taste of certain medicinal tablets and aids in swallowing. Since the shellac coating is insoluble in stomach acids, it is used in time-released pills.

      T. diversilobum, T. radicans, and T. vernix Poison Oak, Poison Ivy, and Poison Sumac. All are painful experiences to hypersensitive people. Dermatitis reactions can also occur from handling the shells of cashew nuts and from eating mangoes.

      See Photo Of A Delicious Fresh Mango
      See Photograph Of Delicious Hog Plums
      See Photograph Of Colorful Kaffir Plums
      See Photograph Of Unusual Burdekin Plums
      See Pistachio Nut--Technically A Drupe
      See Leaf & Drupes Of Chinese Pistache
      See Resin Globules From Gum Mastic Tree
      See A Fabulous Cashew Apple And Nut
      Pink Peppercorns From Peruvian Pepper Tree
      Plants Of The Sumac Family (Anacardiaceae)
      See WAYNE'S WORD Poison Oak Article
      See The Seed Lac Excretion Of Lac Insect

  7. Annonaceae: Custard Apple Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  8. Apiaceae: Carrot Family (Umbelliferae)   Back To Alphabet Table

      Anethum graveolens Dill

      Anthriscus cerefolium Chervil

      Apium graveolens Celery [Edible leaf stalks or petioles.]

      Carum carvi Caraway

      Coriandrum sativum Coriander [Seeds used as a tasty seasoning; aromatic leaves (called cilantro) used as garnish and in salsa and guacamole dishes.]

      Cuminum cyminum Cumin

      Daucus carota Carrot [Edible taproot; also called Queen Ann's lace when flowering.]

      Foeniculum vulgare Fennel [Edible petioles; seeds used like anise for licorice flavoring in cady, medicines, perfumes, liquor and soap; true licorice from root of a perennial legume.

      Pastinaca sativa Parsnip [Edible taproot; similar to the deadly poisonous water hemlock.]

      Petroselinum crispum Parsley [Leaves used as garnish and possibly to freshen breath after eating.]

      Pimpinella anisum Anise

      Note: Two very poisonous species in this family with parsnip-like roots and parsely-like leaves that you do NOT want to use as greens in salads or cooked as vegetables. They typically grow along streams or in wet bottom lands:

      1. Cicuta douglasii Water Hemlock [One large taproot in a salad can be fatal to an adult human; causes convulsions.]

      2. Conium maculatum Poison Hemlock [The infamous hemlock supposedly used on Socrates; purple dots on stems; can be fatal without convulsions.

      Herbs & Vegetables Of Carrot Family
      See Coriander & Cilantro Compared
      See Leaf Bases & Seeds Of Sweet Fennel
      See The Large Edible Root Of Parsnip
      See The Petioles & Root Of Celery
      See Edible Taproots of Daucus carota
      See Large Field Of Dill In Montana
      See Poison Hemlock & Water Hemlock

  9. Apocynaceae: Dogbane Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  10. Aquifoliaceae: Holly Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Ilex species Holly [The bright red berries of several North American species are used for wreaths and colorful decorations at Christmas time.]

      I. paraguariensis Yerba Mate [A popular tea is brewed from the dried, crushed leaves of this South American holly; in "mate cocido" the leaves are toasted during the drying process; yerba mate contains about 1% caffeine compared with more than 5% for guaraná.]

      I. opaca, I. glabra and I. cassine Holly [North American species in which the dry, roasted leaves are occasionally used for teas.]

      Yerba Mate Tea Sipped From A Gourd

  11. Araceae: Arum Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Colocasia esculenta Taro and Dasheen [Source of Polynesian dish poi; from starchy subterranean corms; some botanists refer to dasheen as variety antiquorum; cultivated plants with huge leaves called elephant ears.]

      Monstera deliciosa Monstera or Ceriman [Edible multiple fruit or spadix.]

      See Taro Corms And Taro Plants
      See Fruit Of Monstera Deliciosa

  12. Araliaceae: Aralia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  13. Araucariaceae: Araucaria Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Agathis australis Kauri Pine [Important New Zealand source of copal resins for varnishes.]

      A. dammara (A. alba) Amboina Pine [Another source of copal resins from East Indies & Malaysia.]

      Araucaria columnaris Cook Pine or New Caledonia Pine [Timber tree native to New Caledonia with beautiful grain (knots) produced by whorls of limbs along main trunk.]

      A. heterophylla Norfolk Island Pine [Timber tree with beautiful grain (knots) produced by whorls of limbs along main trunk.]

      Note: Baltic amber is the polymerized resin from ancient coniferous forests dating back about 50 million years. The semiprecious gem called Whitby jet is the carbonized remains of ancient conifer forests dating back about 160 million years.

      See Bowl Made From The Beautiful Cook Pine
      Article About Amber: Nature's Transparent Tomb
      The Black, Semiprecious Gem Known As Jet

  14. Arecaceae: Palm Family (Palmae):   Back To Alphabet Table

  15. Aspergillaceae: Aspergillus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Aspergillus oryzae Miso Mold [A very important fungus used in the fermentation of soybeans to make miso paste and in the fermentation of rice to make sake.]

      Penicillium spp. Blue Bread Molds [Although this genus includes some destructive molds of bread and citrus fruits, it also contains some valuable species, including P. roqueforti and P. camemberti which are responsible for Roquefort and Camembert cheese; vital antibiotic drugs such as penicillin are also produced by species of Penicillium, including P. notatum and P. chrysogenum.]

      See Economically Important Fungi
      See Miso Paste Made From Soybeans

  16. Asteraceae: Sunflower Family (Compositae)   Back To Alphabet Table

      Anthemis nobilis Chamomile [From dried flower heads; weedy species called mayweed (A. cotula) in San Diego County.]

      Matricaria chamomilla German Chamomile [From dried flower heads; weedy species called pineapple weed (M. matricarioides) in San Diego County.]

      Artemisia dracunculus Tarragon. [Leaves used for seasoning.]

      A. absinthium Wormwood or Absinthe [Vicent van Gogh (1853-1890) suffered from epilepsy and was treated with digoxin from the foxglove plant (Digitalis purpurea). His famous work, "The Starry Night" contains yellow circles around the stars, which are similar to visual problems described by patients with digoxin toxicity even today. Van Gogh also drank the liqueur absinthe on a regular basis. Absinthe is a green, bitter liqueur primarily flavored with wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), a European herbaceous perennial related to the native sagebrush species (Artemisia) of the western United States. Absinthe also contains thujone, a terpenoid component of many essential oils, including those found in Artemisia and the coniferous genus Thuja. Research has shown that thujone not only fuels creativity, but also that an overdose of the compound causes yellow-tinged vision. Either absinthe or digoxin toxicity may have contributed to van Gogh's increasing use of the color yellow in the last years of his life; or perhaps van Gogh may simply have loved the color yellow.]

      Carthamus tinctorius Safflower. [Oil from seeds.]

      Cichorium endivia Endive [Leaves used as garnish and herb.]

      C. intybus Chicory. [Taproot roasted and ground, used as an adulterant in coffee; a weed in western U.S.]

      Cynara scolymus Globe Artichoke [Immature flower heads are cooked and eaten; the tender receptacle and "meaty" phyllaries are dipped in butter.]

      C. cardunculus Cardoon or Thistle Artichokes [Globe artichoke derived from this species and may be only be a variety rather than a separate species; inner leaves and petioles (leaf stalks) are edible; flower heads used for dry flower arrangements.]

      Echinacea purpurea Echinacea [Herb used to boost immune system.]

      Helianthus annuus Sunflower [Tasty, nutritious edible seeds produced in large heads; also valuable unsaturated oil from seeds.]

      H. tuberosus Jerusalem Artichoke [Sunflower with edible tubers similar to small potatoes.]

      Lactuca sativa Lettuce [Leafy compact head; many varieties, romaine lettuce with more elongate leaves; related to prickly lettuce (L. serriola), a common weedy species in San Diego County.]

      Parthenium argentatum Guayule [Only important U.S. source of rubber.]

      Silybum marianum Milk Thistle [A prickly herb used to detoxify the liver.]

      Tagetes lemmonii Scented Marigold [An aromatic shrub with fragrant foliage used for a tea.]

      Taraxacum officinale Dandelion [Leaves used in salads and cooked as a vegetable.]

      Tragopogon porrifolius Salsify or Oyster Plant [Cooked taproot with flavor of oysters; weedy species in western U.S. resemble large, blue-flowered dandelions; cross pollination with yellow-flowered T. dubius resulting in sterile diploid (2n=12) and fertile tetrapolid (2n=24) hybrids; in fertile, blue-flowered tetraploids, all haploid sets (n=6) from each parent have a homologous set of chromosomes to pair up with during synapsis of meiosis I; hence viable gametes and seeds are produced.]

      Parachute Seeds Of Tragopogon Related To Salsify
      See Photo Of Rubber-Producing Guayule Plant
      See Photo Of Jerusalem Artichoke Or Sunchoke
      Edible Sunflower Seeds & Valuable Sunflower Oil
      See Edible Flower Heads Of The Globe Artichoke
      Flower Head & Parachute Seeds Of Thistle Artichoke
      See Photo Of The Flowers & Leaves Of A Dandelion
      Chicory: A Dandelion Relative Used In Coffee
      See The Root Of Japanese Burdock Or Gobo
      See Photograph Of The Herb Called Echinacea
      See Photograph Of The Herb Called Milk Thistle
      See Photograph Of The Herb Called Tarragon
      Photograph Of The Shrub Called Scented Marigold
      See Photograph Of The Herb Called Absinthe
      Sunflower Family: World's Largest Plant Family

  17. Bangiaceae: Porphyra Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Porphyra species. Nori [This genus includes a number of species of intertidal red algae that are collected for food in Asian countries; nori is commonly cultivated in shallow muddy bays of Japan; the dried blades are packaged and sold in Asian markets throughout the world; nori provides the tasty black wrapper around sushi, and is also wrapped around crackers and used in soups.]

      Bangia fusco-purpurea Cow Hair or Hair Seaweed [An intertidal alga with a slender hairlike thallus; this species is eaten like fine pasta in many Asian dishes.]

      See Photo Of Porphya & Sheets Of Dried Nori

  18. Berberidaceae: Barberry Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Podophyllum peltatum May Apple or Mandrake. [Podophyllum resin or podophyllin from roots and rhizomes; used as an emetic and cathartic; the antineoplasmic glucoside called podophyllotoxin is used in chemotherapy treatment for certain tumors.]

      Berberis aquifolium Oregon Grape [The berries of several North American species are used in jams and pies; berries of several Middle Eastern species are dried and used like raisins.]

      Berberis spp. Barberry. [Alternate host of wheat rust (Puccinia graminis), a serious fungus disease of wheat.]

      See Oregon Grape & Middle East Dried Barberries

  19. Betulaceae: Birch Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  20. Bignoniaceae: Bignonia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  21. Bixaceae: Annatto Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Bixa orellana Achiote or Annatto [Popular red dye (bixin) used for coloring butter and cheeses; dye derived from seeds of spiny red fruits; also used for body paint by South American Indians; chemically similar to beta carotene and may protect skin from UV light.]

      See Photos Of Achiote (Annatto) Seeds and Fruits

  22. Bombacaceae: Bombax Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  23. Boraginaceae: Borage Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Alkanna tinctoria) Dyer's Bugloss [Roots a source of the deep red phenolic dye alkannin (alkanet) used on textiles, vegetable oils, medicines and wine; commonly used today as a food coloring.]

      Cordia sebestena Ziricote [This Caribbean tree is also known as cericote and geiger tree; the beautiful, dark wood is used in wood carving.]

      C. subcordata Kou [A Polynesian species with a beautiful, dark-grained hardwood used in wood carving.]

      Borago officinalis Borage [Leaves & flowers eaten in salads and brewed into tea.]

      Echium vulgare Viper's Bugloss [Blue flowers added to salads and cooked like spinach.]

      E. amoenum Gaozaban [Flowers used for a popular medicinal tea in Iran; a rich source of antioxidants, including rosmarinic acid and bioflavonoids.]

      See Beautiful Ziricote Wood Carvings
      Medicinal Teas Made From Borago & Echium

  24. Brassicaceae: Mustard Family (Cruciferae)   Back To Alphabet Table

      Armoracia lapathifolia (A. rusticana) Horseradish [Pungent relish obtained from the large taproot; a delicious condiment with meat and seafood.]

      Eutrema wasabi (Wasabia japonica) Japanese Horeseradish or Wasabi [The fleshy rhizome is the source of the green paste called "wasabi" that is commonly served with sashimi (raw fish) in Japan.]

      Lepidium meyenii (also L. peruvianum) Maca [A wild mustard native to the Andes of South America; the dried, radishlike roots are cooked to form a sweet, aromatic porridge called mazamorra; powdered maca root is sold as a nutritious herb and food supplement; nineteen species of Lepidium are native and naturalized in California.]

      Brassica campestris (B. rapa ssp. sylvestris) Field Mustard [A common weed in the western U.S.]

      B. nigra (Black Mustard) & B. alba (White Mustard) [Seeds used for mustard condiment; black mustard is a common weedy species in San Diego County; mustard gas is a synthetic chemical containing sulfur and chlorine, it is not made from mustard seeds.]

      B. rapa [Rapifera Group] Turnip [Edible root; sometimes referred to as B. campestris; turnip greens from edible leaves; n=10.]

      B. rapa [Chinensis Group] Bok Choy (Pak-choi). [Cultivated in Asia for succulent leaves.]

      B. rapa [Pekinensis Group] Chinese Cabbage

      B. napus Rapeseed Oil and Canola Oil [Unsaturated oil from seeds; 3rd most important edible oil in U.S. after soybean & cottonseed oils.]

      B. oleracea [Includes following varieties: cabbage (leafy head), kale (non-heading leafy sprout), collards (nonheading leafy sprout), broccoli (immature inflorescence and stalk or peduncle), cauliflower (immature inflorescence), brussels sprouts (tall-stemmed cabbage with small edible heads or buds along stem), kohlrabi (enlarged, edible, basal stem above the ground); all varieties with n=9 and 2n=18; broccoflower a hybrid between broccoli and cauliflower.]

      B. napobrassica Rutabaga [Tetraploid hybrid between cabbage (n=9) and turnip (n=10); resulting fertile polyploid with 38 chromosomes, 2 sets of cabbage chromosomes (9 + 9) and 2 sets of turnip chromosomes (10 + 10).]

      Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum (Nasturtium officinale) Water Cress [An aquatic weed in southern California; edible leaves.]

      Isatis tinctoria Woad [Important blue dye used in Europe during 1500s and 1600s; the glucoside dye indican in leaves; one of dyes used by Robin Hood's men for their green clothing.]

      Raphanus sativus Radish [A very common weed in San Diego County; edible taproot with many varieties, including white and red radishes; giant oriental radishes 4 feet long and 40 pounds; the large Asian radish called "daikon" belongs to the Longipinnata group of radishes.]

      Note: The bigeneric hybrid (Raphanobrassica) or Rabbage is a cross between the radish (Raphanus n=9) and cabbage (Brassica n=9). The diploid hybrid has two sets of chromosomes, one set (R) from the radish parent and one set (C) from the cabbage parent. [Note: The word "set" is defined here as one haploid set of chromosomes.] Since each set includes 9 chromosomes, the diploid rabbage has a total of 18 chromosomes. The diploid hybrid (RC) is sterile because the radish and cabbage sets of chromosomes are not completely homologous, and fail to pair up during synapsais of meiosis I. A fertile tetraploid (4n=36) hybrid (RRCC) has also been developed. It produces viable gametes and seeds because the radish chromosomes have another radish set to pair up with (RR), and the cabbage chromosomes have another set to pair up with (CC). Unfortunately this wonder plant has the leaves of the radish and the roots of the cabbage.

      See Brief Discussion About Monounsaturated Canola Oil
      See Kohlrabi, Broccoflower, Brussels Sprouts, & Rutabaga
      Bok Choy: A Leafy Mustard Commonly Cultivated In Asia
      See Massive Taproot Of Wild Radish In San Diego County
      See The Crispy Red Radish Cultivar Of The Wild Radish
      See The Large, White Japanese Radish Called Daikon
      See The Large Taproot Used In Spicy Horseradish Sauce
      Water Cress: Naturalized Vegetable In Southern California
      Maca: A South American Lepidium With An Edible Root
      See Photograph Of A Field Of Woad In Eastern Oregon

  25. Bromeliaceae: Pineapple Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  26. Burseraceae: Torchwood Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Boswellia carteri Frankincense. [Resin obtained from bark.]

      Commiphora abyssinica Myrrh

      Protium copal Guatemalan Incense

      Bursera simaruba Gumbo Limbo

      B. odorata and B. microphylla Elephant Tree [Native to Baja California; also see another elephant tree (Pachycormus discolor) in Anacardiaceae.]

      Photos Of Resins And Incenses From Plants

  27. Cactaceae: Cactus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Opuntia spp. Prickly Pear. [Stem segments edible and called "nopales" in Mexico; ripened fruit called "tuna" or "pitaya dulce."]

      Opuntia ficus-indica and other spp. Source of the brilliant red cochineal dye [Actual dye from the red body fluids of cochineal insect (Dactylopius coccus), a homopteran related to aphids, scale insects and mealy bugs; female cochineal insects are brushed from the cactus pads, dried, and pigments extrated from dried bodies; one pound of dye represents about 70,000 insects; source of carmine red stain used in microbiology classes; cactus were introduced into Australia for this dye with disastrous consequences; by 1925, 60 million acres of valuable range land covered by prickly pear cactus.]

      Hylocereus undatus Dragon Fruit [Sweet fruit similar in flavor to lime and kiwi fruit.]

      Lophophora williamsii Peyote. [Source of alkaloid mescaline.]

      Trichocereus pachanoi San Pedro Cactus [Another South American source of mescaline.]

      See The WAYNE'S WORD Alkaloid Article
      See Photos of Peyote and San Pedro Cactus
      See Photos of Cochineal Insect On A Cactus
      See Fruit & Edible Stems (Nopales) Of Opuntia
      See The Dragon Fruit (Hylocereus undatus)

    Camelliaceaeae: Camellia Family See Theaceae

  28. Cannabaceae: Hops Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  29. Cannaceae: Canna Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  30. Capparaceae: Caper Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  31. Caprifoliaceae: Honeysuckle Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Sambucus spp. Elderberry

  32. Caricaceae: Papaya Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Celastraceae: Staff-Tree Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Catha edulis Khat [Tree native to Arabia & South Africa; leaves contain the stimulant alkaloids cathine & cathinone; fresh leaves chewed and used for tea by inhabitants of this region.]

      See Images Of Khat (Catha edulis)

  33. Chenopodiaceae: Goosefoot Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Beta vulgaris Beets [Other varieties include sugar beets and Swiss chard; sweet taproot used for beets and sugar beets; tender leaves used for Swiss chard.]

      Chenopodium album Lamb's Quarters [An edible weed in California; tender leaves cooked and eaten like spinach.]

      C. quinoa Quinoa [South American herb with edible seeds that are cooked and eaten like a cereal grain; used by native people since pre-Columbian times.]

      Spinacia oleracea Spinach [Leaves consumed through pipe by Popeye; very nourishing vegetable rich in iron and folic acid.]

      Family also includes Russian thistle or tumbleweed (Salsola tragus) and halophytic salt marsh species, such as pickleweed (Salicornia).

      See Photo Of Beets & Swiss Chard
      See Photo Of Fresh Spinach Leaves
      See Photo Of Fresh Lamb's Quarters
      See The Grainlike Seeds Of Quinoa

  34. Chrysobalanaceae: Chrysobalanus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Clavicipitaceae: Ergot Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Claviceps purpurea Ergot [A grain fungus infecting rye and related grasses; the source of synthetic LSD and several important vasconstricting alkaloids such as ergotamine.]

      See The Infamous Ergot Fungus On Rye Grass

    Clusiaceae: Clusia Family See Guttiferae

    Combretaceae: Combretum Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Anogeissus latifolia Gum Ghatti [A natural gum from the sap of a tree native to dry, deciduous forests of India and Sri Lanka; the common name "ghatti" is derived from the word "ghat" or mountain pass; this gum was originally carried by people over mountain passes or "ghats" to ports in India; the gum has properties intermediate between gum arabic and karaya gum; because it is a superior oil emulsifier with a higher viscosity, it is used in liquid and paste waxes and for fat soluble vitamins.

      Terminalia catappa Tropical Almond [Malaysian tree naturalized along seashores of the Old and New World tropics, including Florida and the Hawaiian Islands; the oval, flattened, one-seeded fruit is commonly dispersed by ocean currents; the seed superficially resembles an almond and is eaten by natives.

    Compositae: Sunflower Family See Asteraceae

  35. Convolvulaceae: Morning Glory Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Cruciferae: Mustard Family See Brassicaceae

  36. Cucurbitaceae: Gourd Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Cucurbita pepo Summer Squash [Many varieties.]

      C. maxima Winter Squash [Many varieties.]

      C. moschata Butternut Squash

      Note: Many pumpkins are varieties of C. pepo; however, the largest pumpkins probably come from C. maxima.

      C. mixta (C. argyrosperma) Green-Striped Cushaws

      C. ficifolia Malabar Gourd

      Sechium edule Chayote

      Luffa aegyptiaca and L. acutangula Luffa Sponge

      Cucumis melon Melon [Many fabulous cultivars.]

      C. sativus Cucumber

      C. dipsaceus Teasel Gourds

      C. metuliferus Horned Cucumber

      Citrullus lanatus var. citroides Citron Melon

      Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus Watermelon

      Momordica charantia Bitter Melon

      Siraitia grosvenorii (Thladiantha grosvenorii) Luo Han Kuo or Buddha's Fruit [A small Asian gourd with an extremely sweet pulp; a glycoside in the fruit is 150 times sweeter than sucrose and may have economic potential as a non-caloric sugar substitute.]

      Lagenaria siceraria Hard-Shelled Gourds [Many shapes and sizes.]

      See WAYNE'S WORD Gourd Article
      See Buddha's Fruit (Luo Han Kuo)
      Gourd Family Fruits: Squash & Melons
      Cucumber Pickles & Teasel Gourd
      See Dried Gourd Strips Use For Food
      See The Unusual One-Seeded Chayote

  37. Cupressaceae: Cypress Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Juniperus spp. Junipers (e.g. J. communis) [Berries (cones) used to flavor gin; sloe gin flavored with sloe plum (Prunus spinosa).]

      Cupressus spp. Cypress [10 endemic species in California; distributed throughout the state in arboreal islands; cones, foliage & bark variation in populations due to selection (glandular vs. eglandular foliage) and genetic drift.]

      Chamaecyparis lawsoniana Port Orford Cedar

      Calocedrus decurrens Incense Cedar

      Thuja plicata Western Red Cedar

      Cupressocyparis leylandii Leyland Cypress [A bigeneric hybrid between Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) and Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis).

      There are other species used for lumber often called cedars.

      Genetic Variation In California Cypress

  38. Cycadaceae: Cycad Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Cycas revoluta Sago Palm [Seeds eaten fresh and roasted; ground seeds should be thoroughly washed because they contain cycasin, a potent carcinogen; the heart of the trunk is baked and eaten, and is the source of sago, a starchy material also obtained from the central pith of palm trunks; sago starch is used in cooking and baking, like the starchy rhizomes of arrowroot (Marantiaceae) and achira (Cannaceae).]

      C. circinalis [The large seeds used as in C. revoluta.]

      Note: Seeds of additional species of cycads are used for food, including the African genus Encephalartos in the family Zamiaceae; in tropical and temperate climates, cycads are used extensively in landscaping.

      See The Seeds Of Cycas circinalis

  39. Cyperaceae: Sedge Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Cyperus papyrus Papyrus [Fibers used in paper making.]

      Eleocharis dulcis Water Chestnut [Edible, crunchy corms at base of stem.]

  40. Cylanthaceae: Cyclanthus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Davidsoniaceae: Davidson's Plum Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Davidsonia pruriens Davidson's Plum [A monotypic family containing a single species; the plum-like fruits hang in clusters that arise directly from the trunk (cauliflorous); although acidic, they are edible and make excellent jams and jellies.]

      See Photo Of The Davidson Plum

    Dilleniaceae: Dillenia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  41. Dioscoreaceae: Dioscorea Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  42. Dipterocarpaceae: Dipterocarpus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Dipterocarpus turbinatus Gurjun Balsam

      Shorea spp. (Incl. S. aptera, S. hypochra, S. robusta & S. wiesneri) Dammars

      Dammars: East Indian and southeast Asian resins similar to copals. Like copals they are shiny and transparent when dry and are used extensively in the paint and varnish industry.

  43. Ebenaceae: Ebony Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  44. Elaeagnaceae: Oleaster Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  45. Elaeocarpaceae: Elaeocarpus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Elaeocarpus grandis Blue Marble Tree [The fleshy drupes resemble deep blue marbles. They are reportedly eaten raw in Australia and Fiji. The drupe contains a woody, intricately sculptured endocarp that surrounds several small seeds. The endocarps are often strung into attractive necklaces and leis.]

      E. ganitrus (E. sphaericus) Rudraksha Bead. [The endocarps are known as "rudraksha beads," and were worn by Shiva worshippers at least since the 11th century.]

      Rudraksha Beads & Striking Fruits Of Blue Marble Tree

    Equisetaceae: Horsetail Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Equisetum arvense Common Horsetail [A tea and capsules made from the dried stems of this and other species are used to maintain a healthy urinary system; the high silicon content is reportedly beneficial for cartilage, ligament and bone repair.]

      Horsetail Tea For Repair Of Cartilage & Ligaments

  46. Ericaceae: Heath Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  47. Erythroxylaceae: Coca Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  48. Euphorbiaceae: Euphorbia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  49. Fabaceae: Pea Family (Leguminosae)   Back To Alphabet Table

      Legumes containing water soluble gums and natural dyes:

      Acacia senegal Gum Arabic [From trunk.]

      Astragalus spp. (incl. A. gummifer) Gum Tragacanth [Spiny "locoweeds" of Near East and Asia Minor; especially Zagros Mountains of Western Iran; valuable white gum in stems.]

      Astragalus membranaceus Astagalus Root or Huang Ch'i [A Chinese Herbal Remedy For Boosting The Immune System.]

      Ceratonia siliqua Carob Tree [Pods ground into carob flour; also the source of locust bean gum.]

      Indigofera tinctoria Indigo [Beautiful blue dye from leaves.]

      Caesalpinia echinata Brazilwood [Red dye from heartwood; source of the histological stain brazilin; wood also used for violin bows; planted on campus; major factor in colonization of Brazil by Portuguese.]

      Caesalpinia sappan Sappanwood [Important red dye from heartwood before aniline dyes.]

      Haematoxylum campechianum Logwood [Valuable red heartwood dye during 1500s & 1600s; major factor in colonization of British Honduras by England which later became Belize; source of the histological stains hematoxylin and hematein.]

      Pterocarpus santalinus Red Sandalwood [Blood Red Dye From The Wood.]

      True gums, such as locust bean gum from the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), gum arabic from Acacia senegal, gum tragacanth from Astragalus gummifera, and algin from the giant bladder kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera), are complex polysaccharides (made of many sugar molecules joined together) and are used as emulsifiers and thickening agents.

      See The Carob Tree: A Cauliflorous Species
      See Photos Of Logwood Tree In Central America
      See Photo Of Brazilwood And Its Bright Red Dye
      Powdered Red Sandalwood: A Bright Red Dye
      Photos And Information About Gum Tragacanth
      Astragalus Root: Popular Chinese Herbal Remedy

      Inga edulis Ice Cream Bean

      Dipteryx odorata Tonka Bean [Seeds from the egg-shaped fruits of this tropical South American tree are used as a substitute for vanilla; the seeds contain the fragrant phenolic compound coumarin which is used in the perfume industry.]

      Glycyrrhiza glabra Licorice [From roots.]

      Pachyrhizus erosus Jicama [From large taproot.]

      Tamarindus indicus Tamarind

      Medicago sativa Alfalfa

      Trifolium pratense and T. repens Red and White Clover

      Melilotus albus, M. indicus and M officinalis White, Indian and Yellow Sweet Clover [Wet or moldy sweet clover contains the anticoagulant compound dicoumarin (a double phenolic ring); dicoumarin is used in rat poison; it is formed by the union of 2 single-ring coumarin molecules; coumarin is found in fresh clover & alfalfa and produces the aroma of new mown hay.]

      See Tonka Beans: A Source Of Fragrant Coumarin
      See The Legume Fruits Of The Tamarind Tree
      See The Tropical American Ice Cream Bean

      Many species in the legume family have edible seeds (beans) and pods. The following is only a partial list of the many species, some with dozens of cultivated varieties:

      Phaseolus lunatus (P. limensis) Lima Bean

      P. vulgaris Common Bean & Kidney Bean

      P. coccineus Red Runner Bean

      Faba vulgaris Fava Bean (Broad Bean)

      Glycine max (G. hispida) Soybean

      Lens culinaris (Lens esculenta) Lentil

      Pisum sativum Pea

      Vicia faba Broad Bean

      Cajanus cajan Pigeon Pea [Common vegetable seen in Caribbean marketplace.]

      Cicer arietinum Chick Pea (Garbanzo Bean)

      Vigna unguiculata Black-Eyed Pea (Cowpea, Southern Pea)

      V. angularis Chinese Red Bean (Azuki Bean)

      V. umbellata Rice Bean (Red Bean)

      V. radiata Mung Bean

      Canavalia gladiata Sword Bean

      C. ensiformis Jack Bean

      Arachis hypogaea Peanut

      See The Red Runner Bean Of Central America
      An Assortment Of Nineteen Varieties Of Beans
      See String Bean, Sugar Snap Pea & Snow Pea
      Fresh Green Pods Of The Popular Fava Bean
      Garbanza Bean (Chick Pea) And Mung Beans
      See Pods & Seeds Of The Soy Bean
      See Large Pod & Seeds Of The Sword Bean
      A Subterranean Peanut Out Of The Ground
      See More Photos Of The Peanut Plant

      Note: There are many tropical leguminous genera with beautiful seeds used for necklaces and bracelets, including Mucuna, Dioclea, Entada, Abrus, Rhynchosia, Erythrina, Adenanthera, Sophora and Ormosia. One example of a decorative bean is the circassian seed (Adenanthera pavonina), a magical bean from India that is commonly used in seed necklaces. See the Wayne's Word article about seed jewelry for more information and photos.

      See Article About Magical Beans From India
      See Wayne's Word Article About Seed Jewelry

      Copal Resins and Balsams [Balsams are highly aromatic oleoresins.]:

      Copaifera demeussei South African Copaifera Balsam

      C. reticulata& C. officinalis Central & South American Copaifera Balsams

      Myroxylon balsamum Balsum-of-Peru [Used in medicines, soaps and perfumes; gathered in Central America (El Salvador) by "balsameros."]

      Prioria copaifera Copaiba Balsam from Central America

      Hymenaea courbaril West Indian Locust [Source of copal varnish & incense.]

      Hymenaea verrucosum East African Copal

      See Noteworthy Plants Article About Prioria copaifera
      See WAYNE'S WORD Article About Resins and Amber

  50. Fagaceae: Beech Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Castanea dentata Chestnut

      C. sativa European Chestnut

      Fagus grandiflora Beech

      Lithocarpus densiflora Tanbark Oak [Bark good source of tannin; tannins unite with certain proteins, such as those in animal skins, to form a strong, flexible, resistant, insoluble substance known as leather; i.e. tannins convert animal hides into leather.]

      Quercus spp. Oak [Beautiful open-grain, ring porous hardwood.]

      Quercus suber Cork Oak [Cork obtained from thick, outer bark; planted on Palomar College campus.]

      See Chestnuts Inside Their Spiny Involucre
      See The Mature Acorns Of The Cork Oak
      See Article About Wood Products And Cork

    Flacourtiaceae: Flacourtia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Dovyalis abyssinica Abyssinian Gooseberry

      D. caffra Kei Apple or Umkokolo

      D. hebecarpa Ceylon Gooseberry or Ketembilla [Note: The Florida gooseberry or tropical apricot is an artificial hybrid between D. abyssinica and D. hebecarpa.]

      Flacourtia cataphracta Runealma Plum

      F. indica Madagascar Plum or Ramontchi

      F. inermis Martinique Plum or Lovi-Lovi

      F. rukam Rukam or Indian Prune

      Pangium edule Buah Keluak or Kepayang [Also known as the kepayang tree of Indonesia & Malaysia; oily, hard-shelled seeds superficially resemble Brazil nuts; meaty seeds are edible after poisonous hydrocyanic acid is removed by soaking and boiling them in water; fermented seeds (called kluwak nuts) become chocolate-brown, greasy and slippery; cooked seeds are used in a number of Malaysian and Indonesian dishes.]

      See Photo Of Peeled & Packaged Kluwak Nuts

  51. Gelidiaceae & Gracilariaceae: Agar Families   Back To Alphabet Table

      Note: These are two families of red algae in the Division Rhodophyta:

      Gelidium cartilagineum (and other species) Gelidium [An intertidal red alga used for agar.]

      Gracilaria spp. Gracilaria [Another intertidal red alga used for agar.]

      Alginates, carrageenans and agars are hydrophilic (water-loving) polysaccharides closely related to gums. Like gums, they absorb water and are used as thickening agents, emulsifiers and to prevent the formation of ice crystals in frozen deserts. They are also referred to as phycocolloids because they all come from algae (phyco) and they form jelly-like, colloidal suspensions in water. Agar is a phycocolloid obtained from several genera of red algae, including Gelidium and Gracilaria. Chemically, agar is similar to carrageenan, except that it has the superior quality of forming stiff gels in smaller concentrations. Agar gels have a superior capacity for changing into a liquid when heated, and then readily cooling back into a gel. They are unsurpassed for nutrient media used for tissue culture and in bacteriology (microbiology).

      See Photo Of Gelidium pulcrum

  52. Gigartinaceae: Gigartina Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Note: This is a family of red algae in the Division Rhodophyta:

      Chondrus crispus Irish Moss [An intertidal red alga species used for carrageenan.]

      Alginates, carrageenans and agars are hydrophilic (water-loving) polysaccharides closely related to gums. Like gums, they absorb water and are used as thickening agents, emulsifiers and to prevent the formation of ice crystals in frozen deserts. They are also referred to as phycocolloids because they all come from algae (phyco) and they form jelly-like, colloidal suspensions in water. Carrageenans are extracted from a red alga called Irish moss (Chondrus crispus). Agar is another phycocolloid obtained from several red algae genera, including Gelidium and Gracilaria. Chemically, agar is similar to carrageenan, except that it has the superior quality of forming stiff gels in smaller concentrations.

      See Photo Of Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)

    Gramineae: Grass Family See Poaceae

    Grossulariaceae: Gooseberry Family See Saxifragaceae

  53. Guttiferae (Clusiaceae): Garcinia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  54. Hamamelidaceae: Witch Hazel Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Hydrophyllaceae: Waterleaf Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Eriodictyon californicum Yerba Santa [An important medicinal herb used by native Americans and early settlers in California; leaves made into a tea and poultice to relieve colds, bronchitis, rheumatism and muscular aches & pains.]

      See Yerba Santa In San Diego County

  55. Hypericaceae: St. John's-Wort Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Hypericum perforatum St. John's-wort [Flowers used as herb to treat symtoms of mild depression and mood swings; a European wildflower that is naturalized throughout North America; there are also native species of Hypericum in North America, including two species in San Diego County, California.]

      St. John's-Wort: An Herb To Treat Depression

    Illiciaceae: Star Anise Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Illicium verum Star Anise [A tree native to southeast Asia and grown commercially in China for its aromatic seeds and fruits; licorice flavor used in Asian cuisine and in medicines; primary ingredient of Tamiflu used to treat the dreaded avian flu of humans .]

      See The Unusual Fruits Of Star Anise

  56. Iridaceae: Iris Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Crocus sativus Saffron. [Yellowish-orange dye from elongate stigmas and tips of styles; saffron contains the glycoside crocin (derived from the diterpene crocetin); 4,000 stigmas yields one ounce of dye.]

      See Saffron: Ground Up Autumn Crocus Stigmas

  57. Juglandaceae: Walnut Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  58. Krameriaceae: Krameria Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Krameria grayi and K. parvifolia Krameria [Intricately branched, thorny shrubs of the Colorado Desert of southwestern U.S. and Mexico; partially parasitic on roots of adjacent shrubs; spiny fruits are a tenacious hitchhiker.]

      See Tenacious Hitchhikers Of The Colorado Desert

    Labiatae: Mint Family See Lamiaceae

  59. Lactobacillaceae: Lactobacillus Family   Back To Alphabet Table
    [Also The Streptococcaceae, Propionibacteriaceae & Acetobacteraceae.]

      Lactobacillus acidophilus Acidophilus Milk Bacteria [This bacteria converts lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, thus making it more digestible to lactose intolerant people.]

      L. bulgaricus Yogurt Bacteria [A bacteria used in most yogurt and some cheese cultures; L. delbrueckii is also listed for yogurt.]

      L. casei Cheese Bacteria [Promote the formation of cheese due to their action on milk protein (casein).]

      L. plantarum Pickle Bacteria. [A lactic acid bacteria used in vegetable fermentations to produce pickles and fermented cabbage called sauerkraut.]

      Streptococcus thermophilus in the Streptococcaceae is another yogurt-forming bacteria. Streptococcus species are also used in the production of sour cream, butter, buttermilk and cheese. The propionic acid which produces the odor and flavor of Swiss cheese comes from Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii of the Propionibacteriaceae. The unique flavor and odor of limburger cheese is produced by Brevibacterium linens of the Brevibacteriaceae. And the acetic acid of vinegar is produced by vinegar bacteria (Acetobacter aceti) of the Acetobacteraceae.

  60. Lamiaceae: Mint Family (Labiatae)   Back To Alphabet Table

  61. Laminariaceae & Lessoniaceae: Kelp Families   Back To Alphabet Table

      Note: These are two families of brown algae in the Division Phaeophyta:

      Macrocystis pyrifera Giant Kelp [A large kelp or seaweed growing in the kelp beds just beyond the surf zone along the coast of southern California; the large stipes and blades of this species are harvested by kelp cutters and are an important source of algin.]

      Laminaria spp. Kelp. [Another species of brown alga that commonly grows in the intertidal zone. This species is harvested for food and algin.]

      Alginates, carrageenans and agars are hydrophilic (water-loving) polysaccharides closely related to gums. Like gums, they absorb water and are used as thickening agents, emulsifiers and to prevent the formation of ice crystals in frozen deserts. They are also referred to as phycocolloids because they all come from algae (phyco) and they form jelly-like, colloidal suspensions in water. Alginates (also called algin) are obtained from species of Laminaria and another macroscopic brown algae called giant bladder kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) that grows along the coast of southern California. In some fast food restaurants, shakes without the word "milk" were thickened with algin. For this reason they were called shakes rather than milk shakes. Carrageenans are extracted from a red alga called Irish moss (Chondrus crispus), and agar is another phycocolloid obtained from several red algae genera, including Gelidium and Gracilaria. Note: some species of brown algae kelp or seaweed are cooked and used for soups in Japan.

      Pelagophycus: A Giant Kelp Off The Coast Of San Diego
      See Giant Bladder Kelp: The Primary Source Of Algin
      See Dried Kelp (Laminaria) Used For Food In Japan

  62. Lauraceae: Laurel Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Lecanoraceae & Umbilicariaceae: Edible Rock Lichens   Back To Alphabet Table

      Lecanora esculenta Schirsad [Also thought to be the Biblical "mana" by some scholars.]

      Umbilicaria phaea Rock Tripe [Several species from the northern latitudes are eaten.]

      Rock lichens have played an important role in the survival of native people and explorers. In addition to providing food for their animals, Indians, Eskimos and Laplanders eat certain lichens. Leafy lichens called rock tripes (Umbilicaria) are eaten raw and are boiled into a thick, mucilaginous soup. Rock tripes are also added to salads or deep fried, and are considered a delicacy in Japan. Throughout history, peasants of Persia have avoided mass starvation by eating the abundant crustose rock lichen Lecanora esculenta. This lichen readily becomes detached in small patches and is blown off the rocks by wind, often accumulating in crevices and under shrubs. It is mixed with meal and made into a kind of bread called "schirsad" in Turkey and northern Iran. In fact, some biblical scholars think this lichen may have been the "manna" which saved the starving Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Another source of manna in the arid Middle East desert is the dried sap exudate from several species of trees and shrubs inhabiting this region.

      Rock Tripes Growing On Granite Boulder
      Crustose Rock Lichens & Desert Varnish

  63. Lecythidaceae: Lecythis Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Bertholletia excelsa Brazil Nut [A giant tree of the Amazon rain forest in South America; the hard brown seeds are produced in large, thick-walled capsules weighing up to 5 pounds; seeds contain 65% to 70% unsaturated fat and literally burn like a candle.]

      Lecythis ollaria Paradise Nut [Another giant rain forest tree with seeds produced in a thick, woody, potlike capsule.]

      Couroupita guianensis Cannonball Tree [Large, fragrant, bat-pollinated blossoms develop on woody stalks that push out of the main trunk; the flowers give rise to cannonball-like fruits up to 8 inches in diameter that remain attached to the tangled flower stalks.]

      See Photos Of Brazil Nuts & Their Pod
      See Photo Of The Amazing Paradise Nut
      See Photo Of Remarkable Cannonball Tree

    Leguminosae: Pea Family See Fabaceae

  64. Lemnaceae: Duckweed Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Lemna spp. Duckweed [Used for waste water treatment; also food for livestock and fish (aquaculture); important organisms in freshwater ecosystems.]

      Wolffia spp. Watermeal [Potential high protein food source for people; does not contain calcium oxalate crystals as in Lemna; W. globosa is khai-nam (water-eggs) of Thailand, eaten by people as high protein supplement to their diet.]

      See Mr. Wolffia's On-Line Lemnaceae Home Page

    Lichen Dyes and Perfumes See Roccellaceae

  65. Liliaceae: Lily Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Aloe vera (A. barbadensis) Aloe [Gelatinous glycoside called aloin from succulent leaves used in soothing lotions, hemorrhoidal salves and shampoos.]

      Asparagus officinalis Asparagus [Delicious, edible sprouting stems; stems contain methyl mercaptans which cause significant odor in urine when broken down by some people; genus also includes the asparagus "ferns" used in landscaping.]

      Chlorogalum pomeridianum Soap Plant [In local hills.]

      Colchicum autumnale Autumn Crocus [Alkaloid colchicine from the bulblike corms.]

      Smilax officinalis and other tropical American species. Sarsaparilla. [Flavoring from dried roots widely used in carbonated beverages and medicines; along with wintergreen (and sometimes ginger) this was the primary flavoring used in the original recipes for old-fashioned root beer; like many other beverages sold today, most of the popular root beers contain synthetic flavorings; several species of this trailing perennial herb are native throughout North America.]

      See Noteworthy Plants Article About Soap Lilies
      See Garden Asparagus Plants Growing On Maui
      See Autumn Crocus: The Source Of Colchicine
      See An African Species Of Aloe (A. kedongensis)

  66. Linaceae: Flax Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  67. Loganiaceae: Logania Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Buddleia davidii Butterfly Bush [Species of Buddleia are commonly grown as ornamentals for their showy clusters of blue and purple flowers; the fragrant flowers attract a variety of colorful adult butterflies.]

      Fagraea berteroana [Native tree in Australia and Pacific Islands; Fragrant flowers used in perfumes and leis.]

      Strychnos nux-vomica Strychnine Tree [Alkaloid strychnine from seeds.]

      S. toxifera [One of the species containing a form of the alkaloid curarine which is used as an arrow poison.]

      Note: Curare also obtained from bark and stems of Chondrodendron tomentosum (Menispermaceae). This is the source of curare for the Botany 115 Plant Family Exam #4.

      See Article About The Beautiful Butterfy Bush
      See Leaves and Fruit of Fagraea berteroana

  68. Malpighiaceae: Malpighigia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Malpighia glabra Barbados Cherry [Bright red, cherry-like fruits often seen at Caribbean marketplace.]

  69. Malvaceae: Mallow Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Gossypium spp. Cotton [Epidermal hairs on seeds; different varieties have different lengths of hairs or staple; fruit called a boll; also cottonseed oil; although called a fiber, cotton is not derived from fiber cells; the two primary old world species are the diploids G. arboreum and G. herbaceum while the main domesticated New World species are the tetraploids G. barbadense and G. hirsutum.]

      Hibiscus cannabinus Kenaf or Gambo Hemp [Yields stem fibers 5 to 10 ft. long.]

      H. tiliaceus Beach Hibiscus [Useful source of bast fibers for cordage.]

      H. esculentus (Abelmoschus esculentus) Okra [This vegetable is actually a fruit.]

      H. sabdariffa Sorrel and Roselle [Reddish capsules harvested at Christmas time in Dominica for a popular drink; roselle fibers similar to kenaf.]

      Malva sylvestris & possibly M. pseudolavatera High Mallow [The tender young leaves are eaten in salads and cooked like spinach; the purple flowers yield a natural coloring for drinks and herbal teas; the common weed called cheeseweed (M. parviflora) is also cooked and eaten as a vegetable.]

      Thespesia populnea Milo or Beach Hibiscus [Beautiful dark wood used for carvings and bowls.]

      See A Cotton Boll--Source Of Cotton Fibers
      See Beach Hibiscus Used For Its Bast Fibers
      See A Sorrel Plant In Full Bloom
      See Sorrel At Marketplace In Dominica
      See Milo: A Beautiful Polynesian Hardwood
      See Okra: A Vegetable That Is Also A Fruit
      See High Mallow (Malva pseudolavatera)

  70. Marantiaceae: Arrowroot Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  71. Martyniaceae: Martynia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  72. Meliaceae: Mahogany Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Azadirachta india Neem Tree [Oil from seeds used in soaps, shampoos, skin care; leaves used in Indian foods.]

      Melia azedarach Chinaberry Tree [Commonly cultivated in southern California.]

      Swietenia macrophylla Honduras Mahogany

      S. mahogani West Indian Mahogany [Found in Florida Keys.]

      Sandoricum koetjape Santol or Kechapi [Malaysian tree with yellowish or reddish-brown, juicy fruits that smell like ripe peaches.]

      See Photo Of The Seldom-Seen Fruit Of Sandoricum koetjape

  73. Menispermaceae: Moonseed Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Chondodendron tomentosum Curare [A deadly extract from the bark and stems of this Amazonian vine is used to coat the darts of blowguns.]

      Note: Extracts from species of Strychnos, including S. toxifera of the logania family (Loganiaceae), are also used for curare. Another potent alkaloid used to coat the darts of South American blowguns comes from the skin of poison dart frogs of the family Dendrobatidae.

      See The Amazonian Curare Vine
      See Colorful Poison Dart Frogs

  74. Moraceae: Mulberry Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Moringaceae: Moringa Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Moringa oleifera (M. pterygosperma) Horseradish Tree [This tree is called "malungay" in Asian countries; a small, soft-wooded tree native to India but widely cultivated throughout the tropics; the long beanlike pods are used in soups and curries, and are made into pickles; the young, tender, mustard-favored leaves are eaten raw in salads, cooked as potherbs and placed in soups and curries; even the oily seeds are roasted or fried and apparently taste like peanuts; the pungent root is used as a substitute for the true horseradish of the mustard family or Brassicaceae.]

      See Two Trees Related To The Horseradish Tree

  75. Musaceae: Banana Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  76. Myristicaceae: Nutmeg Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  77. Myrtaceae: Myrtle Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Eucalyptus camaldulensis Red Gum [Source of gum kino, a phenolic compound.]

      E. globulus Blue Gum [Oil of eucalyptus (eucalyptol) from leaves.]

      Pimenta dioica Allspice or Pimento [From dried unripe fruits.]

      Pimenta racemosa Bay Rum Tree [Essential oil from leaves used in cologne.]

      Psidium guajava Guava [Fruit rich in vitamins A, B, and C.]

      P. cattleianum Strawberry Guava [Planted on campus.]

      Feijoa sellowiana Pineapple Guava [Planted on Campus.]

      Syzygium (Eugenia) aromaticum Clove [From unopened flower buds.]

      Syzygium (Eugenia) malaccensis Mountain or Malay Apple

      Syzygium (Eugenia) jambos Malayan Rose Apple

      Syzygium (Eugenia) paniculatum Australian Brush Cherry

      Eugenia uniflora Surinam Cherry

      Myrciaria cauliflora Jaboticaba [Cauliflorous tree from Brazil with purple, grapelike berries that develop from the trunk and limbs.]

      Leptospermum scoparium New Zealand Tea Plant [Leaves brewed into a tea to provide vitamin C for Captain Cook's crew.]

      See Unusual Cauliflorous Berries Of Jaboticaba Tree
      See Tropical Allspice Berries And Bay Rum Tree
      See Cloves: Flower Buds From The Spice Islands
      See Guava, Strawberry Guava & Pineapple Guava Fruits
      See The Fruit And Flower Of Rose Apple Or Malabar Plum
      See The Fruit Of The Mountain Apple Or Malay Apple
      See The Fruit Of The South American Surinam Cherry
      See The Colorful, Insipid Fruits Of Australian Brush Cherry
      See New Zealand Tea Plant Used By Captain Cook's Crew

      The name "gum" can be traced back to the voyage of Captain James Cook to the South Pacific in 1770. Captain Cook discovered the east coast of Australia, called New Holland at that time. In one harbor, the ship's naturalists found so many unusual and beautiful plants that they named it Botany Bay. Eight years later, a fleet of eleven English ships reached Botany Bay with 1,530 people, 736 of them convicts. This marked the establishment of England's most important prison camp of the nineteenth century, and the European settlement of a vast land called Australia. The actual discovery of the genus Eucalyptus is credited to the ship's botanist, Joseph Banks (later Sir Joseph Banks). One of the newly discovered species "red bloodwood" (E. gummifera) had a reddish gum exuding from its trunk, and the naturalists called it a "gum tree."

      Other species of eucalyptus with persistent bark fall into five additional groups, called ironbarks (bark hard and deeply fissured), peppermint barks (bark finely fibrous), stringy barks (bark long and fibrous), boxes (bark rough and fibrous), and bloodwoods (bark rough, cracked and scaly on trunk and large limbs). Another group of large trees, called ashes, have rough bark on the trunk but smoother bark on the branches. In fact, the mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) rivals the California redwoods as the world's tallest trees. With about 500 described species dominating more than 80 percent of Australia's forests, it is convenient to categorize them within different groups based upon their bark type. In fact, one of the most striking species with thick, deeply furrowed, persistent black bark is the red ironbark (E. sideroxylon), commonly planted at Palomar College. In addition to tree forms, there are numerous drought resistant, shrubby eucalyptus called mallees. Some of these resprout from subterranean lignotubers like many of our chaparral shrubs. One of these (Eucalyptus macrocarpa) produces spectacular red blossoms and the largest seed capsules of any eucalyptus. Some mallees of parched desert regions store water in their roots, a fact well-known to Australian aborigines.

      See Spectacular Eucalyptus Macrocarpa in Full Bloom
      See The Fire-Adapted Lignotuber of a Chaparral Shrub
      See Photos Of Eucalyptus In Article About Hardwoods

      Chemically the eucalyptus "gums" are rich in tannins (kinotannic acid) and are similar to another phenolic compound called catechu. They are known in the trade as kinos or gum kinos and are used as tannins to convert animal hide into leather. One of the main Australian sources of kino is the common red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis), naturalized throughout San Diego County. Kino gums are also used medicinally as astringents to relieve throat irritation, dysentery and diarrhoea. True polysaccharide gums, such as locust bean gum from the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua), and chicle, a terpene gum from the latex sap of the sapodilla tree (Achras zapota), are chemically quite different. They all probably serve to seal off wounds and prevent bacterial and fungal infections.

      Oil of eucalyptus (eucalyptol) is a volatile terpene compound (called an essential oil) which is distilled from the leaves of several species. It is used for flavorings, dentifrices, cough drops, and for the synthesis of menthol. The lemony fragrance from the leaves of lemon-scented gum (E. citriodora) is due to another volatile terpene called citronellal. One of the reasons that few plants will grow well beneath naturalized gum forests in southern California is that volatile terpenes from fallen leaves are leached into the soil, thereby inhibiting seed germination and growth of competing species.

      The wood of different species of eucalyptus varies considerably, from wood as soft as pines to very hard, close-grained wood as dense as oak and hickory. Eucalypts constitute most of the forest vegetation of Australia and are one of the most important hardwood timber resources in the world. There are a number of species that provide excellent lumber for furniture, wood-carving and construction, including karri (E. diversicolor), spotted gum (E. maculata), blackbutt (E. pilularis), and jarrah (E. marginata). In fact, jarrah is stronger and more durable than oak and resistant to termites and marine borers.

      During the late 1800s and early 1900s several species of gums (including E. camaldulensis and E. globulus) were extensively planted in California for lumber, firewood, windbreaks and railroad ties. Although the species selected for extensive plantings grew into forests very rapidly, the wood proved very undesirable for lumber and railroad ties because of extensive splitting during the drying process. Today, these extensive forests have forever changed the character of coastal southern and central California.

    Nelumbonaceae: Water Lotus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Nostocaceae: Nostoc Family (Kingdom Monera)   Back To Alphabet Table

      Nostoc commune Star Jelly [A freshwater cyanobacterium that is eaten raw, dried, stir-fried and in soups. It is sold dried in Asian markets.]

      Nostoc flagelliforme Fat Choy or Fa Cai [A filamentous, terestrial cyanobacterium of northern and northwestern China; the Cantonese and Mandarin names mean "hair vegetable" because the hair-like strands resemble black hair when dry.]

      More Information About Fat Choy
      See Nostoc Balls In A Vernal Pool

  78. Nyctaginaceae: Four O-Clock Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Bougainvillea glabra Bougainvillea

      Mirabilis laevis Wild Four O'Clock

  79. Oleaceae: Olive Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Fraxinus spp. Ash [Beautiful light open-grain wood.]

      Jasminum officinale Jasmine [From flowers, used for perfume & teas.]

      Olea europaea Olive [Native to the Mediterranean region; fresh olives (drupes) are extremely bitter due to oleuropein, a phenolic glucoside; olives soaked in lye (sodium hydroxide) to remove the bitter oleuropein; olives picked green are oxidized in air to produce black color; green olives kept submerged will retain green color; pitted green olives often stuffed with pimento, a bright red Capsicum cultivar; unlike most unsaturated plant oils which come from seeds, monounsaturated olive oil is obtained from the pulp or mesocarp of the fruit; virgin olive oil is obtained from the 1st pressing.]

      Syringa vulgaris Lilac [Not the same as California lilac or Ceanothus.]

      Read About Monounsaturated Olive Oil
      See Canned & Mature Olives On Branch

  80. Orchidaceae: Orchid Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Vanilla planifolia (V. fragrans) Vanilla [From fermented and dried seed capsules called vanilla beans.]

      V. pompona West Indian Vanilla

      Note: Imitation vanilla flavorings sold in markets are synthetic vanillin containing artificial food coloring & preservatives; vanillin is a phenolic compound derived from lignin.

      Photos & Information About The Vanilla Orchid

    Oscillatoriaceae: Oscillatoria Family (Kingdom Monera)   Back To Alphabet Table

      Spirulina platensis Spirulina [A cyanobacterium found in alkaline and saline water; it is dried into a powder and sold as a nutritious, high protein food supplement.]

  81. Oxalidaceae: Oxalis Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Averrhoa carambola Carambola [An elongate, angular fruit composed of 5 carpels with a star-shaped cross section; the tartness is due to calcium oxalate crystals in the flesh which dissolve in the saliva forming oxalic acid.]

      Averrhoa bilimbi Cucumber Tree [An interesting Malayan tree with edible cauliflorous fruits.]

      Oxalis albicans ssp. californica, O. corniculata ssp. corniculata, and O. cernua Oxalis or Sour Grass [Native and naturalized species on the Palomar College campus.]

      See Photo Of The Amazing Carambola Fruit
      See Photo Of The Cauliflorous Cucumber Tree

    Palmaceae: Palm Family See Arecaceae

    Palmae: Palm Family See Arecaceae

  82. Pandanaceae: Pandanus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Pandanus tectorius Pandanus [Polynesian plant resembling a palm with prop roots; leaves used for baskets, floor coverings, mats and thatching for houses; woody, seed-bearing sections (containing edible seeds) used for necklaces and leis.]

      See Photos Of Remarkable Pandanus Plant

  83. Papaveraceae: Poppy Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  84. Passifloraceae: Passionflower Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Pedaliaceae: Pedalium Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Phallaceae: Stinkhorn Fungus Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Dictyophora indusiata Basket Stinkhorn or Bamboo Mushroom [A tropical stinkhorn fungus with a lacy, netlike veil that hangs down from the phalluslike head; dried stinkhorns are packaged and sold in Asian markets; they are cooked in water and eaten in vegetarian dishes.]

      See Photos Of The Stinkhorn Fungus
      See Photo Of The Basket Stinkhorn

  85. Phytolaccaceae: Pokeweed Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Pittosporaceae: Pittosporum Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Billardiera cymosa Sweet Appleberry [Native to Australia; fruits eaten by Aborigines.]

      Billardiera longiflora Purple Appleberry [Native to Australia; evergreen climbing shrub.]

      Billardiera scandens Appleberry [Native to Australia; edible fruit used in baked pastries.]

  86. Pinaceae: Pine Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      [An extremely important family for lumber and wood distillation products.]

      Abies balsamea Canada Balsam [Oleoresin from bark used as a mounting medium for microscope work.]

      Other species of Abies Fir [Used for boxes, crates, and Christmas trees.]

      Picea spp. Spruce. [Wood used for pulpwood, boxes, etc. Because it is resonant it is much used for sounding boards of pianos and the bodies of violins and similar instruments; Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) is used for boats, oars, and other products; spruce gum comes from the sapwood of red spruce (P. rubens); very beautiful conifers.]

      Pinus spp. Pines. [Economically important lumber trees.]

      Pines are very important lumber trees, e.g. eastern white pine (P. strobus), lodgepole pine (P. contorta), and ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa); raw turpentines are oleoresins (liquid resins containing essential oils) exuded as pitch; "spirits" of turpentine from distilled pitch; rosin is left after the volatile "spirits of turpentine" are removed; most raw turpentine from longleaf pine (P. palustris), loblolly pine (P. taeda) and slash pine (P. elliottii); slash pine also used in pulpwood industry for making paper; European sources of turpentines include cluster pine (P. pinaster) and Scotch pine (P. sylvestris).

      Pseudotsuga menziesii Douglas Fir [Most important timber tree in U.S.; common type of wood (plywood and 2 X 4's) sold at lumber yards.]

      Tsuga spp. Hemlock (e.g. T. canadensis) [Also used for lumber, etc; bark is chief domestic source of tannin in U.S.]

      Larix spp. Larch [Wood used for building construction, fences, etc.]

      Other wood distillation products from pine family (mostly pines) is wood alcohol (methanol); however, hardwood angiosperms are the main source.

      Also pine nuts from the following species of Pinyon Pines: P. monophylla, P. edulis, and P. quadrifolia.

      Other native California pines: P. sabiniana (digger pine), P. coulteri (Coulter pine), P. torreyana (Torrey pine).

      Pignolia Nuts from Italian Stone Pine (P. pinea) also planted on Palomar College campus.

      See Article About Wood & Wood Products
      See Images Of Spruce & Uses By Native People
      See Images Of Larch (Larix), A Deciduous Conifer
      Photos Of Resins & Incenses From Plants

  87. Piperaceae: Pepper Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Plantaginaceae: Plantain Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Plantago spp. Plantain or Psyllium [The thickening and swelling of soluble fiber extracts such as Metamucil and Hydrocil involves imbibition. These plant products contain a mucilaginous gum derived from the husks of psyllium seeds (Plantago psyllium and P. ovata). Psyllium powder readily absorbs water and forms a smooth bulky mass that moves through the intestinal tract. Insoluble fiber comes from the indigestible cellulose cell walls of fruits and vegetables. Both types of fiber are beneficial in maintaining a healthy colon, particularly in older adults with diverticulosis.]

      See Close-up Photo Of Fresh Plantain Seeds

  88. Poaceae: Grass Family (Gramineae)   Back To Alphabet Table

      This Is A Very Important Family For People And Herbivorous Animals!

      1. Food for people and livestock: Rice (Oryza sativa), wheat (Triticum aestivum), rye (Secale cereale), oats (Avena sativa), barley (Hordeum vulgare), corn or maize (Zea mays), teosinte (Zea mexicana) the ancestor of corn (madre de maíz); sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), and many other species; also bamboo shoots used in Chinese and Cantonese foods.

      Rye (Secale cereale) is a diploid plant (2n) composed of 2 sets of chromosomes (DD), each set with 7 chromosomes (D=7). [Note: The word "set" is defined here as one haploid set of chromosomes.] Therefore, the diploid number, or number of chromosomes in the rye sporophyte (DD), is 14. Bread wheat is a hexaploid (6n) composed of 6 sets of chromosomes (AA, BB & CC), each set with 7 chromosomes (A=7, B=7, C=7). Therefore, the number of chromosomes in the wheat hexaploid sporophyte (AABBCC) is 42. Triticale (Triticosecale) is a bigeneric hybrid between wheat (Triticum aestivum n=21) and rye (Secale cereale n=7). The resulting hybrid (ABCD) contains one set of rye chromosomes (D) and 3 sets of wheat chromosomes (ABC), a total of 28 chromosomes (7 + 21). It is sterile because the rye (D) set has no homologous set to pair up with during synapsis. This sterile hybrid seedling is treated with colchicine to produce a plant with twice as many chromosomes (i.e. 2A's, 2B's, 2C's and 2 D's), a total of 56. The fertile hybrid is an octoploid (8n) because it contains 8 sets of chromosomes. The diploid rye plant (DD) can also be crossed with tetraploid durum wheat (T. turgidum AABB) to produce a sterile triploid hybrid with 3 sets of chromosomes (ABD). This hybrid is treated with colchicine to produce a fertile hexaploid (6n) version of triticale (AABBDD).

      Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum ) is derived from wild emmer wheat of Syria. Emmer wheat is a tetraploid hybrid (4n=28) between einkorn wheat (T. monococcum or a relative) and a grass similar to the present-day goat grass (T. speltoides = Aegilops speltoides); or possibly T. longissima or T searsii. The original diploid (2n=14) emmer wheat was probably sterile because it contained only 2 sets of chromosomes, one from the einkorn parent (n=7) and one from the goat grass parent (n=7). Through a natural doubling of the chromosomes, a fertile tetraploid emmer wheat with 4 sets of chromosomes was produced. A mutation in the tetraploid emmer wheat, causing the bracts (glumes) enclosing the grain to break away readily, gave rise to the tetraploid durum wheat (T. turgidum or T. turgidum var. durum). The readily detachable grain makes the separation of the grain from the chaff relatively easy and is why durum wheat is called a "free-thrashing" type of wheat.

      Tetraploid wheat also contains two proteins that combine to form a tenacious complex called gluten. Because of gluten, the wheat flour becomes elastic when mixed with water and kneaded, and when yeast is added, it rises into firm loaves. Yeast cells in the dough undergo fermentation and release carbon dioxide which becomes trapped in the glutinous protein mass. Baking "sets" the dough by drying the starch and denaturing the gluten protein. As the dough bakes, the carbon dioxide gas expands into larger bubbles, thus producing the porous, spongy texture of bread. Corn does not make good loaves of bread because it lacks gliadin, one of the key proteins of gluten. Consequently, corn bread crumbles and falls apart easily.

      See Photo Comparison Of Corn Bread & Wheat Bread

      Bread wheat (T. aestivum) is also a free-thrashing type of wheat. It is a hexaploid (6n) hybrid, four sets from an emmer wheat parent and two additional sets from a wild, weedy species (T. tauschii = Aegilops squarrosa). The endosperm of this hybrid wheat is especially high in protein and surpasses other wheats for bread making.

      2. Main source of sugar (sucrose): Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum).

      3. Alcoholic Beverages:

        a. Beer. Malt sugar (maltose) from germinating barley; starch inside grains converted into maltose.

        b. Sake. Made from fermented rice.

        c. Other distilled beverages. Whiskey made from maize, rye, etc.; bourbon made primarily from maize; scotch made from barley malt; vodka made from wheat; rum is made from sugar cane; gin is made from barley malt and rye, and flavored with oil of juniper; brandy is distilled from wine or other fruit juices (it may be 65 to 70 percent alcohol or 130 to 140 proof; some German whiskies are made from potatoes.

      4. Various types of timber bamboo used for construction and scaffolding: Bambusa, Dendrocalamus, etc.

      5. Oil of Citronella: From leaves of Cymbopogon nardus.

      6. Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-job) [A fascinating grass used for bead jewelry.]

      Job's Tears, Teosinte, And Indian Corn
      See Broomcorn: A Variety Of Sorghum
      See Sorghum Or Milo (Sorghum bicolor)
      See Photos Of Important Cereal Grasses
      Bamboo: Economically Valuable Giant Grasses
      See Sugar Cane On The Island Of Kauai

  89. Polygalaceae: Milkwort Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Polygala senega Senega Snakeroot [Drug senega from dried roots.]

  90. Polygonaceae: Buckwheat Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Fagopyrum sagittatum Buckwheat [Flour from achenes.]

      Eriogoum Wild Buckwheat [A large genus of shrubs, annuals and perennials in California; one of the largest genera in California with over 112 different species; rivaled in size (in California) only by the genus Carex.]

      Coccoloba uvifera Sea Grape [A spawling shrub or small tree along the shores of Caribbean islands; grapelike clusters of fruits noted by Columbus on his first voyage to the New World.]

      Rheum rhaponticum Rhubarb [Eat petioles (leaf stalks) only because leaf blades contain high levels of toxic oxalates.]

      Rumex hymenosepalus Wild Rhubarb [Wild in several coastal riverbeds, such as the San Dieguito Riverbed); also a tanning material from roots called canaigre containing about 30% tannin.]

      A Sea Grape On The Caribbean Shore Costa Rica
      See The Edible Petioles (Leaf Stalks) Of Rhubarb
      See Nutritious Achenes Of The Buckwheat Family

  91. Portulacaceae: Purslane Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Portulaca oleracea Purslane [Common prostrate weed with edible, succulent leaves and stems; a C-4 plant, grows rapidly during hot summr months in southern California.]

      Montia perfoliata (Claytonia perfoliata) Miner's Lettuce [Common native plant in California; leaves and stems used in salads; other weedy species in this family used as pot herbs.]

      Purslane: A Delicious Pot Herb And Classic C-4 Plant

  92. Proteaceae: Protea Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Pseudomonadaceae: Pseudomonas Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Xanthomonas campestris Xanthan Bacteria [Xanthan gum is produced by fermenting corn sugar with this bacteria; the bacteria produce xanthan as part of their cell walls; xanthan gum is used in many food products, including salad dressings and low cholesterol egg substitutes made from egg whites and vegetable gums.]

    Pteridacaceae: Bracken Fern Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Pteris ensiformis Hoko-shida or Sword Brake [In Asian countries the young, uncurling fronds (called fiddleheads) are cooked and eaten with rice or other vegetables.]

      Pteridium aquilinum Braken Fern [Another species with edible fiddleheads; in San Diego County the gathering of fiddleheads is strictly prohibited because local populations of bracken fern could be decimated.]

      Bracken Fern Fiddlehead In San Diego County

  93. Punicaceae: Pomegranate Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    No Families With Q Included Here   Back To Alphabet Table

  94. Resedaceae: Mignonette Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Reseda luteola Dyer's Weld

      According to the textbook for this course Plants In Our World by B. B. Simpson and M. C. Ogarzaly (1995), woad was one of the dyes used to make the green outfits worn by Robin Hood's men deep in Sherwood forest. Their clothing was dipped in a blue dye bath of woad, and then in a bath of yellow weld from the leaves of Reseda luteola, a member of the mignonette family (Resedaceae). The mixture of blue and yellow produced the characteristic green color associated with England's legendary bandit who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor.

  95. Rhamnaceae: Buckthorn Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  96. Roccellaceae: Rocella Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Roccella tinctoria Roccella [The thallus of this lichen contains phenolic acids which serve as a purple-red dye; orcein, a purple-red chromosomal stain found in every microbiology laboratory, is derived from this lichen species.]

      Lichen acids were the source of important dyes for cotton and wool in medieval Europe. Two purple and red dyes, orchil and cudbear, were obtained from the lichens Roccella and Ochrolechia. Lichen dyes were dissolved in human urine, and the yarns were immersed in this mixture. Ammonia salts in the urine functioned as mordants to make the dyes permanent. Pine lichen or wolf moss (Letharia vulpina), a beautiful chartreuse fruticose lichen that grows on the bark of pines and fir throughout the mountains of the Pacific United States, contains a mildly toxic yellow dye called vulpinic acid. The striking canary-yellow porcupine quills woven into the baskets of Klamoth and Yurok Indians were dyed with this lichen. A brownish dye from the foliose lichen Parmelia omphalodes is used to this day on hand-woven Harris tweeds from the Outer Hebrides.

      Some lichens contain various phenolic acids and essential oils that produce fragrant odors in scented soaps and help fix the aroma of fine perfumes. For centuries a lovely fruticose lichen called oak moss (Evernia prunastri) has been collected in Europe for making perfume.Through a complex process of solvent extraction and distillation, oak moss has become an important ingredient in the manufacture of perfumes and high-quality cosmetics. This remarkable lichen occurs in California, but air pollution has eliminated it throughout most of its former range in southern California. Oak moss still clings to the branches of ponderosa pines on Palomar Mountain in San Diego County.

      See Article About Lichens And Desert Varnish
      See Photos of Lichens Used For Dyes & Perfumes

  97. Rosaceae: Rose Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  98. Rubiaceae: Madder Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Cinchona spp. (C. ledgeriana, C. pubescens, and C. officinalis) Quinine [From bark of several species native to the Andes of South America; important alkaloid in treatment of Malaria.]

      Genipa americana Genip [Little-known fruit of the West Indies.]

      Morinda citrifolia Painkiller Tree or "Noni."

      Coffea arabica Arabian Coffee [From seeds.]

      Rubia tinctorum Madder [Brilliant scarlet dye from roots; during Revolutionary War, the red coats of British soldiers were colored with this brilliant crimson dye.]

      Gardenia jasminoides Gardenia [Perfume from fragrant blossoms.]

      Nertera granadensis Pin Cushion Plant [Decorative little plant sold in southern California during fall months.]

      See The Red Dye Plant Called Madder
      See Coffee Plants On The Island Of Kauai
      See The Painkiller Tree Called "Noni."
      Pin Cushion Plant With Orange Fruits

  99. Rutaceae: Rue Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  100. Saccharomycetaceae: Yeast Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Kluyveromyces marxianus Nutritional Food Yeast

      Saccharomyces cerevisiae and S. uuvarum Beer, Wine and Bread Yeasts

      Torulaspora delbrueckii Sherry Yeast

      Because of their ability to ferment sugars, yeast fungi play a major role in the beer, wine and baking industries. In the brewery, ethyl alcohol (ethanol) from the fermentation process is the primary industrial product; in the bakery, carbon dioxide released from the fermentation process causes the dough to rise. There are numerous optimal strains of these fungi adapted for specific types of fermented products. Go to the grass family (Poaceae) to see the numerous alcoholic beverages made from yeast fermentation. Note: The yeast responsible for kefir grains and sourdough bread is Torulopsis holmii in the family Cryptococcaceae.

      See The Hop Vine Used To Make Beer

  101. Salicaceae: Willow Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Populus balsamifera Balsam Poplar; P. deltoides Cottonwood;

      P. tremuloides Quaking or White Aspen [Uses include a soft wood for boxes, etc. and as pulpwood in manufacture of paper.]

  102. Santalaceae: Sandalwood Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Santalum album Sandalwood [The valuable scented heartwood of this Old World species is the source of sandalwood oil; other species of sandalwood are also highly prized for their wood; deforestation of native Hawaiian forests was originally due to the exportation of sandalwood.]

      Note: Red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) belongs to the legume family (Fabaceae). The powdered wood of red sandalwood is used for a bright red dye.

      Read About Hawaiian Sandalwood

  103. Sapindaceae: Soapberry Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  104. Sapotaceae: Sapodilla Family   Back To Alphabet Table

    Saururaceae: Lizard-Tail Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Anemopsis californica Yerba Mansa [An important medicinal herb used by native Americans and early settlers in California; root made into a tea to relieve indigestion, asthma and to purify the blood; tea also used as liniment for rashes, cuts, bruises and sores; boiled leaves used as poultice for muscular aches and pains.]

      See Yerba Mansa In San Diego County

  105. Saxifragaceae: Saxifrage Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Ribes spp. Currant and Gooseberry. [Also alternate host of white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola); since the white pine is more important economically as well as ecologically, the currants & gooseberries are eradicated in certain forested regions; gooseberries can be differentiated from currants because they are generally very spiny.

      See California Gooseberries And Currants

  106. Scrophulariaceae: Figwort or Snapdragon Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  107. Simmondsiaceae: Jojoba Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Note: Jojoba was formerly placed in the Buxaceae.

      Simmondsia chinensis Jojoba [Native shrubs; seeds are edible; oil from seeds used as substitute for whale oil; oil used for wax, polish, and candles.]

      See Noteworthy Plants Article About Jojoba Oil

  108. Solanaceae: Nightshade Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Atropa belladonna Belladonna [Alkaloid atropine from lvs.]

      Capsicum annuum Red, Wax, Bell and Jalapeno Chile Peppers. [Many different varieties of peppers; paprika from dried fruit of one variety.]

      C. baccatum South American Peppers Known as "Ajis."

      C. chinense Habanero Peppers [Very hot!]

      C. frutescens Tabasco Peppers

      C. pubescens South American "Rocotos" and Mexican "Manzanos."

      Datura stramonium Jimsonweed [Source of drug stramonium from leaves and flowering tops; contains the alkaloids hyoscyamine, scopolamine and atropine; Indians used liquid from crushed roots of D. stramonium, D. wrightii and D. meteloides for hallucinogenic effect during puberty ritual; drug is very poisonous and is dangerous.]

      Duboisia hopwoodii Pituri [Alkaloid scopolamine from leaves.]

      Hyoscyamus niger Black Henbane [Alkaloid hyoscyamine from leaves.]

      Lycopersicon esculentum Tomato

      Physalis ixocarpa Tomatillo

      P. peruviana Cape Gooseberry or Poha

      Nicotiana tabacum Tobacco

      Solanum melongena Eggplant [Numerous cultivars and the almagro eggplant landrace.]

      S. tuberosum Potato [Edible tubers; average baked tuber about 100 kilocalories, unless topped with mounds of butter and sour cream.]

      S. quitoense Naranjilla [A large perennial herb of the Andes with orange, tomatolike fruits.]

      Note: Black Pepper is from dried unripe fruit (berry) of Piper nigrum, a member of the family Piperaceae.

      See Article About Plant Alkaloids
      See Article About Chile Peppers
      See Tomato, Tomatillo & Eggplant
      Almagro Eggplant From Central Spain
      Cape Gooseberry (Physalis peruviana)
      Fascinating Story Of The Irish Potato

  109. Sterculiaceae: Sterculia Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Cola nitida & Cola acuminata Cola-Nut [Seeds used in soft drinks & contain alkaloid caffeine.]

      Theobroma cacao Cacao [Seeds contain alkaloid theobromine and are source of chocolate; sweet chocolate has sugar and milk added.]

      Sterculia urens Gum Karaya or Sterculia Gum [Native to rocky hills and plateaus of India, the sap of this tree is the source of a valuable water-soluble gum that forms a strong adhesive gel when mixed with a small amount of water; because of its resistance to bacterial and enzymatic breakdown, it has been used for dental adhesives and as a binder in bologna and other lunch meats; it is also used in salad dressings, cheese spreads, whipped toppings and hair setting gels.

      S. lychnophora Poontalai or Pang da Hai [Seeds imbibe water and expand into a gelatinous mass that is used to make a beverage in southeast Asia.]

      S. foetida Java Olive [Although the flowers have a putrid odor, the seeds are eaten raw, roasted or fried.]

      See The Gelatinous Seed Of Sterculia lychnophora
      See The Seed Called Java Olive or Indian Almond
      See The Remarkable Cauliflorous Cacao Fruit
      See The Distinctive Leaves Of The Cola-Nut Tree

  110. Taxaceae: Yew Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Taxus brevifolia Pacific Yew [Bark and needles are the source of taxol, a valuable drug for the tratment of ovarian and breat cancers.]

      See Pacific Yew Foliage And Seeds

  111. Taxodiaceae: Taxodium Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Sequoia sempervirens Coast Redwood [Important lumber tree because of decay resistant wood; tallest tree species on earth, rivaled in height by the giant Eucalyptus regnans of Australia.]

      Sequoiadendron gigantum Giant Sequoia [Most massive living thing on earth, 36 ft. in diameter and over 1200 tons; mostly protected in several California National Parks such as Yosemite, Sequoia and King's Canyon.]

      Taxodium distichum Bald Cypress [Deciduous conifer of swamps with peculiar knees or pneumatophores; wood resistant to decay.]

      See WAYNE'S WORD Botanical Record-Breakers
      See Article About The Taxodium Family (Taxodiaceae)

    Ternstroemiaceae: Tea Family See Theaceae

  112. Theaceae: Tea Family (Ternstroemiaceae)   Back To Alphabet Table

      Camellia sinensis Tea [Leaves are source of the many varieties of green & black teas.]

      The grade of tea depends on the age of the leaves. In "golden tips" the youngest bud only is used; in "orange pekoe" the smallest leaf; in "pekoe" the second leaf; in "pekoe souchong" the third leaf; in "souchong" the fourth leaf; and in "congou" the fifth and largest leaf to be gathered. In green tea the leaves are dried and appear dull green; in black tea the leaves are fermented and then dried; "oolong tea" is only partially fermented and is intermediate between black and green. The various pekoes, souchongs, and congous are black teas, while gunpowder and hyson are the most important grades of green tea.

      See tea plant leaves & flower, and the closely related Camellia.

  113. Tiliaceae: Basswood Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Corchorus capsularis and C. olitorius Jute [Valuable stem fibers woven into burlap, sackcloth and tough twines.]

      Tilia americana American Basswood or Linden [In Palomar College Arboretum.]

      T. cordata European Linden

      Go To Wood/Plant Fiber Crossword Puzzle

  114. Trapaceae: Water-Caltrop Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Trapa bicornis Water Caltrop or "Ling Chio" [Asian water plant with strange woody fruit resembling the head of a bull; starchy seed inside fruits in cooked and eaten.]

      T. natans Water Caltrop [Another species of water caltrop with 4-pronged woody fruit.]

      See Noteworthy Plants Article About Water Caltrop

  115. Tuberaceae (and Terfeziaceae): Truffle Families   Back To Alphabet Table

      Tuber melanosporum Black Truffle

      T. magnatum White Truffle

      T. gibbosum Oregon White Truffle

      Of all the edible fungi, truffles (Tuber spp.) are perhaps the most fascinating. They are truly the ne plus ultra of mushroom cuisine. Truffles are the fruiting bodies (ascocarps) of mycorrhizal ascomycetous fungi. Unlike other common forest mushrooms, truffles are subterranean and resemble small pebbles or clods of dirt beneath the soil. Truffles emit the odor of certain mammalian steroids and are irresistible to some mammals, including female pigs. This particular steroid is found in the saliva and breathe of male pigs (boars) and explains the natural lust and talent sows have for truffle hunting. Pigs and dogs can detect truffles from as far away as 50 yards, and there is even a case of a dog jumping over a hedge and running across a field to find a choice truffle under a beech tree 100 yards away. Since the fabled truffles of France and Italy retail for more than $500 a pound, a good swine or canine truffle sniffer is a valuable asset.

      Read About Truffles In Fungus Article
      See Some Dried Oregon White Truffles

    Umbelliferae: Carrot Family See Apiaceae

  116. Urticaceae: Nettle Family   Back To Alphabet Table

  117. Verbenaceae: Verbena Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Tectona grandis Teak [Wood is hard and does not warp, split, or crack, and is very resistant to termites and decay; elephants are often used in lumbering operations.]

  118. Vitaceae: Grape Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Vitis labrusca North American Grape [Many varieties, including the Concord grape.]

      Vitis vinifera European Wine Grape [Many varieties of wine grapes and edible table grapes.]

      There are many varieties of grapes. In the European tightskins, which are used for wines, the skin does not separate readily from the pulp. Grapes are one of the oldest cultivated plants. They have been grown in Egypt for 6,000 years. They were highly developed by Greeks and Romans. Fermentation is brought about through the action of wild yeasts which are present on the skins of the fruit (whitish powder). The maximum alcoholic content of natural wines is about 12 to 16% (24 to 32 proof). Higher alcoholic content will kill the yeast cells. Brandy is made from distilled wines and has a much higher alcoholic content (up to 140 proof!). Red wines are made from grapes with colored skins (with anthocyanin), while white wines are made from white grapes (or red grapes with skins removed). In dry wines the sugar is almost completely fermented. In sweet wines fermentation is stopped before all the sugar is converted. The North American grapes are larger and more hardy than the European. The fruit is round with a more watery flesh and a thin skin that slips off very easily. They are used for eating and for making grape juice (concord grapes), jams, and jellies. Of course, grapes are also the source of raisins.

      See 'Thompson Seedless' & 'Red Seedless' Grapes

    No Families With W Included Here   Back To Alphabet Table

    No Families With X Included Here   Back To Alphabet Table

    No Families With Y Included Here   Back To Alphabet Table

  119. Zingiberaceae: Ginger Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Zingiber officinale Ginger [Rhizome is the source of an important spice (oleoresin) used in ginger ale, ginger beer, and gingerbread.]

      Curcuma domestica Turmeric [Curcuma longa also listed for turmeric; dried, ground rhizome used in curry powder and as a yellow dye.]

      Elettaria cardamomum Cardamom

      [A highly aromatic spice derived from the seeds and dried fruits; used in curry powder, seasoning for sausages, incenses, perfumes and medicines.]

      See A Turmeric Hybrid In Full Bloom
      See A Ginger Rhizome: A Valuable Spice

  120. Zygophyllaceae: Caltrop Family   Back To Alphabet Table

      Guaicum officinale Ligum Vitae [One of the world's hardest ironwoods (specific gravity of 1.37); used for bushing blocks on propeller shafts of steamships; also source of gum guaiac, resin providing the natural, self-lubrication qualities of the wood; resin used medically to test for presence of hidden blood; peroxidase enzymes in blood cells oxidize chemicals in resin, resulting in a blue-green color change.]

      Tribulus terrestris Puncture Vine [Old World sprawling weed that is responsible for many punctured bicycle tires in the American southwest.]

      Larrea tridentata Creosote Bush [Dominant shrub of Colorado Desert of southwestern U.S. and Mexico.]

      One of the most common questions asked by my students on desert field trips is whether creosote comes from the creosote bush. The answer is an unequivocal no. The commercial source of creosote is derived from the distillation of coal tar. It is produced by high temperature carbonization of bituminous coal. Wood creosote is obtained from the distillation of wood tar from several woods of the eastern United States. Wood creosote is a mixture of phenolic compounds that are used medicinally as an antiseptic and expectorant. Under no circumstances should coal tar creosote be taken internally. Although creosote bush does not grow in the chaparral plant community of California, the dried leaves of this shrub are the source of "chaparral tea," a controversial herbal remedy with antitumor properties. The leaves contain a powerful antioxidant that apparently destroys tumor cells; however, there are reported cases of liver toxicity, including toxic hepatitis and jaundice.

      See The Resinous Leaves Of Creosote Bush
      Gum Guaiac & Other Uses For Lignum Vitae


    Economic Botany References

    1. Armstrong, W.P. 1998. "The Wild and Wonderful Family of Gourds." Pacific Horticulture 59 (4): 11-18.

    2. Armstrong, W.P. 1992. "Logwood: The Tree That Spawned A Nation." Pacific Horticulture 53 (1): 38-43

    3. Armstrong, W.P. 1992. "Natural Dyes." Ornament 15 (4): 70-73 + 92-95.

    4. Armstrong, W.P. 1982. "Not Beavers, Stars or Sons of Jupiter." Environment Southwest No. 496: 4-7.

    5. Bailey, L.H. and E.Z. Bailey. 1976. Hortus Third. Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc., New York.

    6. Balick, M.J. and P.A. Cox. 1996. Plants, People, and Culture: The Science of Ethnobotany. Scientific American Library, New York.

    7. Bianchini, F. and F. Corbetta. 1976. The Complete Book of Fruits and Vegetables. Crown Publishers, Inc., New York.

    8. Bold, H.C. and M.J. Wynne. 1985. Introduction To The Algae (2nd Edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

    9. Boswell, V.R. 1949. "Our Vegetable Travelers." The National Geographic Magazine Vol. XCVI (2): 145-217.

    10. Brock, T.D. and M.T. Madigan. 1988. Biology of Microorganisms (Fifth Edition). Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

    11. Chrispeels, M.J. and D. Sadava. 1977. Plants, Food, and People. W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco.

    12. Facciola, S. 1990. Cornucopia: A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications, Vista, California.

    13. Fong, C.H. and Y. Hoi-Sen. 1980. Malaysian Fruits in Color. Tropical Press SDH. BHD. 56-1&2 Jalan Maarof, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysaia.

    14. Heiser, C.B., Jr. 1973. Seed to Civilization: The Story of Man's Food. W.H. Freeman and Company, San Francisco.

    15. Hill, A.F. Economic Botany. 1952. McGraw-Hill, New York.

    16. Klein, R.M. 1979. The Green World: An Introduction to Plants and People. Harper and Row, Publishers, New York.

    17. Langenheim, J.H. and K.V. Thimann. 1982. Plant Biology and its Relation to Human Affairs. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

    18. Lewington, A. 1990. Plants For People. Oxford University Press, New York.

    19. Lewis, W.H. and M.P.F. Elvin-Lewis. 1977. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man's Health. John Wiley & Sons, New York.

    20. Levetin, E. and K. McMahon. 1996. Plants and Society. Wm. C. Brown, Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa.

    21. Read, B.E. and W. Wagner. 1940. Shanghai Vegetables. The China Journal Publishing Co., Ltd.

    22. Richardson, W.N. and T. Stubbs. 1978. Plants, Agriculture and Human Society. W.A. Benjamin, Inc., Reading Massachusetts.

    23. Robinson, T. 1964. The Organic Constituents of Higher Plants: Their Chemistry and Interrelationships. Burgess Publishing Co., Minneapolis, Minn.

    24. Schery, R.W. 1972. Plants For Man. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.

    25. Simpson, B.B. and M.C. Ogorzaly. 1995. Economic Botany: Plants in Our World. Second Edition. McGraw-Hill, New York.

    26. Und, I. and P. Schönfelder. 2004. Das Neue Handbuch der Heilpflanzen. Kosmos Verlag, Germany.

    27. Van Aken, N. and J. Harrisson. 1995. The Great Exotic Fruit Book. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California.

    28. Weiss, E.A. 1971. Castor, Sesame and Safflower. Barnes & Noble, New York.

    29. Windholz, M., S. Budavari, R.F.Blumetti, and E. S. Otterbein (Editors). 1983. The Merck Index: An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals. Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, New Jersey.

    List Of Economically Important Families
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