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Famine Foods
Compiled by Robert Freedman

CHENOPODIACEAE

Aeroglochin persicarioides, Miq. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Ref. READ.

Agriophyullum arenarium, Bieb. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Ref. READ.

Anthrocnemum indicum, Thw. India (Deccan): herb pickled. Ref. WATT.

Atriplex crassifolia, C.A. May. India (area unspecified): unidentified part of plant used during times of famine and scarcity. Ref. HOOPER.

Atriplex heterantha, Wight. (syn. Atriplex hortensis, L.) India (Madras Presidency): used as greens; (Garhwal Himalayas): flour prepared from seeds. Reportedly rich in Vitamin A. Vernacular names - Tamil: Thoyah -keeray. Telugu: Thoya kura. Ref. GUPTA, HOOPER, SHORTT, WATT.

Atriplex lentiformis (Torr.) Wats. North America (Arizona): seeds eaten by Native American Pima group. Vernacular name: Quail Bush. Ref. CURTIN, MINNIS.

Atriplex polycarpa (Torr.) Wats. North American (Arizona): seed eaten by Native American Pima group. Vernacular name: All Scale. Ref. CURTIN, MINNIS.

Beta macrocarpa, Guss. Tunisia (in slightly saline, sandy areas): leaves cooked in soups and stews. The root, when bulbous, is used in broth. The root is also dried, pulverized and sifted, the flour being mixed with barley (Hordeum sp. [POACEAE]), wheat (Triticum sp.), or bean flour. Vernacular names - Arabic: Serj, Sildj, Selk, Silk, Sellak, Silk el belebcha, Bendjar, Barba, Semlakh, Aitiace, Chaouender, Hezab, Hatrab, Left m 'ta el -baqar. Ref. BOUQUET.

Beta maritima, L. Tunisia (coastal region): as for B. macrocarpa. (q.v.) Ref. BOUQUET.

Beta vulgaris, L. Tunisia: (coastal region): leaves cooked in soups and stews. The root, when bulbous, is used in broth. The root is also dried, pulverized and sifted, the flour being mixed with barley (Hordeum sp. [POACEAE]), wheat (Triticum sp. [POACEAE], or bean flour. India: Assam and north India: leaves [?] eaten. Chemical composition: Fat = 5.75% (dry). Albumenoids = 13.92% (dry). Carbyhydrates = 45.55% (dry). Fibre = 17.85% (dry). Ash = 16.93% (dry). Nitrogen - 2.23% (dry). Phosphoric acid = .50% (dry). Silicates = .86% (dry). Vernacular names - Arabic: Serj, Sildj, Selk, Silk, Sellak, Silk el Belebcha, Bendjar, Barba, Semlakh, Aitiace, Chaouender, Hezab, Hatrab, Left m 'ta el -baqar. Assamese: Palang. Hindi: Palak. Bengali: Palak, Bit palang, Palang sag. Sanskrit: Palanki. Ref. BOUQUET, HOOPER.

Chenopodium album, L. India (Monghyr, Mirzapur, Dholpur, Alwar, Udaipur, Poona, and Ahmednagar; Bombay Presidency): leaves eaten as a famine food, typically boiled with salt and chili peppers; (Rajasthan, western): leaves eaten. China: stems, leaves and seeds eaten. Russia: seeds used for bread. Altitude: up to 14,000 feet (in Tibet). Chemical composition (Chinese samples): Protein = 16.1%. Fat = 6.87%. Carbohydrate = 48.85%. Ash = 5.8%. (Leafy stems): Protein = 3.9%. Fat = 0.76%. Carbohydrate = 8.93%. Ash = 3.0%. Chemical composition (after Hooper): Water = 78.00% (fresh). Fat = 4.53% (dry). Albumenoids = 22.14% (dry). Carbohydrates = 40.22% (dry). Fibre = 7.60% (dry). Ash = 25.51% (dry). Nitrogen = 3.54% (dry). Phosphoric acid = 1.35% (dry). Silicates = 2.00% (dry). Analysis of non-Chinese seed samples indicates that the seeds are a promising plant protein source, with a balanced amino acid pattern close to that of the hen's egg. Vernacular names - Bombay Presidency, Ahmednagar district, Sangamner: Chili. Poona and Ahmednagar districts: Chil. Rajasthan (western): Bathua, Bathusag. Bengali, Hindi: Botha -sag, Bethua -sak, Chandan -beta, Chakai. Sikkim: Kandrabe, Kato bethu, Kanda lathe. Assam: Palang, Tirrhye, Aghu, Aru, Jilmil. Punjab (plains): Bathua, Bathu, Jausag, Chulai, Lúnak. Chena Valley: Irr. Ladakh: Em. Uttar Pradesh: Bethuwa, Charai, Jau ság, Bhútwa. Santal: Bhatua arak. Hindi in Santal Perganas [sic]: Khartua sag. Bombay: Chakwit, Chil. Sindh: Jhil. Ali-Rajpur, C.I.: Chil -babra. Duk.: Khuljeh -ke -baji. Tamil: Parupa kire. Pappu -kura. Sanskrit: Vastuk. Arabic: Kulf. English: Pigweed, Goosefoot, White Goosefoot, Lambs Quarter. Ref. GAMMIE; GUPTA & KANODIA, HANAUSEK, HOOPER; KWOLEK & VAN ETTEN, READ, SAXENA; SHANKARNARAYAN & SAXENA.

Chenopodium murale, L. India (Rajasthan, western ): leaves eaten. Vernacular name: Goila. Ref. SAXENA.

Chenopodium petiolare, H.B.K. Peru (Vilcanota Valley): leaves boiled. Vernacular name - Quechua: Llipocha. Ref. GADE.

Haloxylon salicornicum, Bunge ex Boiss. India (Rajasthan, western): seeds mixed with other grains for bread making; Jaisalmer, Rajputana): young branches (eaten ?). Chemical composition (after Hooper): Albumenoids = 11.12% (dry). Ash = 15.21% (dry). Nitrogen = 1.78% (dry). Phosphoric acid = 13% (dry). Silicates = .21% (dry). Soil types favored by plant (Western Rajasthan): saline, dune bases, saline depressions, riverbeds. Vernacular names - Punjabi, Rajputana / Rajasthan: Lana. Jhang, Punjab: Methar, Desi. Ref. GUPTA & KANODIA, HOOPER, SAXENA.

Kochia scoparia, Schrad. China: young leaves and shoots eaten. Vernacular names: Belvedere, Broom Plant. Ref. READ.

Kochia sieversiana (Pall.), C.A.M. Manchuria (eastern forests): tips of shoots eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Salicornia brachiata, Miq.; Ths.; Roxb.(syn. Arthrocnemum brachiata. Miq.; Arthrocnemum ciliolatum, Bunge.) India (Madras Presidency): leaves and shoots eaten as greens. Vernacular names - Tamil: Oomarie keeray. Telugu: Queiloo, Koyaloo. Ref. SHORTT, WATT.

Salicornia Indica, R. Br.; Drege; Ritt. ex Ung.; Willd. India (Madras Presidency): used as a pot-herb. Vernacular names - Tamil: Pavala poondoo. Telugu: Koyya pippali. Ref. SHORTT.

Salsola collina, Pall. Manchuria: seedlings eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Salsola foetida, Delile; Vest. ex. Schult. India (Deccan): herb eaten. Manna secreted by plant collected by Baluchi camel drivers and used as food. Vernacular names - Telugu: Ella kura. Punjabi: Moti lane, Gora lane. Pushtu: Shora, Shorag. Sindhi: Laman. Ref. HOOPER, WATT.

Salsola Indica, Herb.; Madr. ex Wall.; Willd. India (Madras Presidency): leaves eaten as greens. Vernacular names - Tamil: Yella keeray. Telugu: Yella kura. Ref. SHORTT.

Salsola ruthenica, Iljin. Manchuria: seedlings eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Suæda corniculata, (C.A.M.) Bunge. Manchuria (eastern forests): seeds eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Suæda heteroptera, Kitag. Manchuria (eastern forests): seeds eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Suæda Indica, Moq.; Seem.; S. Wats. (syn. Suæda nudiflora, Moq.) India (Madras Presidency): used as a pot-herb. Vernacular names - Tamil: Koyey kasseray keeray. Telugu: Kodee kasseery kura. Ref. SHORTT.

Suæda maritima, Dumont &. S. Wats. (syn. Suæda diffusa, Willd.; Seem.; Moq.; S. Wats.) India: "an essential article of diet in times of famine". China: shoots and leaves eaten. Chemical composition (after Hooper): Water = 83.70% (fresh). Fat = 2.58% (dry). Albumenoids = 11.10% (dry). Carbohydrates = 38.80% (dry). Fibre = 10.17% (dry). Ash = 18.13% (dry). Nitrogen = 1.77% (dry). Phosphoric acid = .55% (dry). Silicates = 1.89% (dry). Soil type preferred by plant - Bengal, Bombay, Madras: salt marshes. Puragative quality of plant removed by boiling. Vernacular names - Telugu: Vellakora, Kodee -kasseray -kura. Tamil: Kayey -kaseeray -keray. Punjabi: Lani. English: Sea Blight. Ref. HOOPER, READ, WATT.

Suæda nudiflora, Moq.; Moq. in DC.; Thw. India: leaves eaten. Ref. WATT.


Last update Thursday, February 19, 1998 by aw