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Famine Foods
Compiled by Robert Freedman

ASTERACEAE or COMPOSITAE

The Aster or Sunflower family.

Adenocaulon bicolor, Hook. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Ref. READ.

Arctium Lappa, L. (syn. Lappa major, Gaertn.; Arctium majus, Bernh.) China: roots and leaves eaten. It may be eaten raw. France: starch of root recommended for extending bread flour, after removal of bitter element. Chemical composition: Protein = 3.5%. Fat = 1.8%. Carbohydrate = 19.4%. Ash = 8.7%. Root is mucilaginous and contains a small amount of volatile oil. Vernacular names: Great Burdock, Gobo. Ref. READ, PARMENTIER.

Artemisia keiskiana, Miq. China: leaves and shoots eaten. Western Asia and Siberia: used as a flavoring for salads, sauces, and condiments. Chemical composition: Protein = 5.56%. Fat = 1.16%. Carbohydrate = 9.46%. Ash = 2.55%. Vernacular name: Cotton Thatch. Ref. READ.

Artemisia lavændulæfolia, DC. China: leaf eaten. Chemical composition (Indian sample): Protein = 2.93%. Fat = 2.59%. Carbohydrate = 26.5%. Ash = 10.13%. Rich in sugar, Vitamin A, and Adenine. Ref. READ.

Artemisia Stelleriana, Bess. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Vernacular names: Dusty Miller, Beech Wormwod. Ref. READ.

Artemisia vulgaris, L. Japan: processed into flour during the period of food scarcity following World War II (ca. 1945-1946). In previous times, the young plant was eaten during Spring, and also used for flavoring mochi, or dan-go. Vernacular name: Mugwort. Ref. S.C.A.P.; UPHOF.

Artemisia vulgaris, L., var. parviflora, Maxim. China; leaves eaten with oil and salt. Ref. READ.

Aster indicus, L. (syn. Boltonia indica, Benth.). China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Vernacular name: Indian Aster. Ref. READ.

Aster trinervius, L. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Chemical composition (Shanghai area sample) (leafy shoots): Protein = 3.9%. Fat = 0.19%. Carbohydrate = 5.9%. Ash = 1.81%. Vernacular name: Purple Aster. Ref. READ.

Aster trinervius, Roxb. var. adustus, Maxim. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Ref. READ.

Aster Tropolium, L. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Chemical composition (stem): Ash = 8.4%; (leaf) = 9.0% (chiefly sodium chloride). Medical use: this is Galen's Aste attikus used, in the Middle Ages, for mild stomach and eye complaints. Vernacular name: Sea Aster. Ref. READ.

Asteromæa cantonensis, DC. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Vernacular name: Sixth Month Aster. Ref. READ.

Atractylis ovata, Thunb. China: root eaten. Chemical compostion: essential oil = 1.5%. Also contains resin. Reported exceedingly rich in Vitamin A. Ref. READ.

Baccharis salcifolia (R & P) Pers. North America (southwestern United States): greens eaten by Native American Mohave and Yuman groups. Ref. CASTETTER & BELL, MINNIS.

Cacalia aconitifolia, Bunge. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Vernacular name: Hare's Umbrella. Ref. READ.

Cacalia Krameri, Mats. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt, Ref. READ.

Calendula officinalis, L. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Vernacular name: Marigold. Ref. READ.

Carduus marianus, L. France: root recommended as a famine food after boiling in water. Ref. PARMENTIER.

Carduus tomentosa, Gililb. France: root recommended as a famine food, after boiling in water. Ref. PARMENTIER.

Carpesium abrotanoides, L. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Vernacular name: Pig's Head. Ref. READ.

Carpesium cernum, L. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Ref. READ.

Carthamus tinctorius, L. China: shoots and leaves eaten. India (Deccan): leaves and seeds eaten. Vernacular name: Safflower. Ref. READ, WATT.

Chrysanthemum coronarium, L. China: stems and leaves eaten. Chemical composition: Protein = 1.85%. Fat = 0.43%. Carbohydrate = 2.57%. Ash = 0.92%. Reportedly rich in Vitamin B1, with a moderate amount of Vitamin C, and a small amount of Vitamin A. Vernacular name: Garland Chrysanthemum. Ref READ, UPHOF.

Chrysanthemum segetum, L. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Plant contains the aromatic element cumarin. Vernacular name: Corn Chrysanthemum. Ref. READ.

Chrysanthemum sinense, Sabina. (syn. Pyrethrum sinense, DC.). China: leaves and flowers eaten in soups. Chemical composition (flowers): Protein = 1.9%. Fat = 0.91%. Carbohydrate = 5.3%%. Ash = 0.66%. Vernacular name: Chrysanthemum. Ref. READ.

Cichorium divaricatum, Heldr. ex Nym.; Schouab. Tunisia: young plants gathered and used in soups or eaten with butter, or oil and salt. They are rarely eaten in salads. Vernacular names - Arabic (Gabes region): Serisa, Djouldjoulane, Tilfaf, Mersag, Hendeb. Berber: Ahrlilou, Timerzoug, Tsalina, Timizgat. Ref. BOUQUET.

Cichorium intybus, L. Tunisia: as for Cichorium divaricatum. Ref. BOUQUET.

Cichorium sylvestre, Lam. France: root recommended as a famine food after extensive boiling to remove the bitter element. Vernacular name: Wild Chicory. Ref. PARMENTIER.

Cirsium maackii, Maxim. Manchuria: tips of shoots eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Cirsium schantarense, Tr. & Mey. Manchuria (eastern forests): tips of shoots eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Cnicus japonicum, Maxim. China: young leaves and roots eaten. Vernacular name: Cat Thistle. Ref. READ.

Cnicus spicatus, Maxim. China: leafy shoots eaten. Vernacular name: Tiger Thistle. Ref. READ.

Crepis japonica, Benth. China: stems and leaves eaten. Vernacular name: Hawk's Beard. Ref. READ.

Cynara cardunculus, L. Tunisia: the leaf ribs (Arabic: Djimar) are cooked in stews, added as a garnish to couscous, and put in soups. The flower-heads (Arabic: Garnoun) are eaten raw or cooked after removal of the spines. Vernacular names - Arabic: Korchef, Gernina, Tindjara, Djenah en nser, Querdoun beldi. Berber: Taga, Tarha, Ahrdou, Taredouit, Assaouen. Mzab: Targhdiout. Chemical composition (seeds): high values for the following amino acids - Adenine, Aspartic acid, Glutamic acid, Isoleucine and Leucine. Very high values for Phenylalanine and Valine. Ref. BOUQUET; VAN ETTEN et al.

Dicoria brandegei, Gray. North America (Arizona): flowers and fruit eaten by Native American Hopi group. Ref. MINNIS, WHITING.

Echinops dahuricus, Fisch. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Vernacular name: Globe-Thistle. Ref. READ.

Eclipta alba, Haask. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Java: cooked leaves eaten. India: leaves eaten. Vernacular name -Igatpuri, Nasik district, Bombay Presidency: Tandala, Ink Plant. Ref. GAMMIE, READ.

Elephantropus scaber, L. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Characteristically mucilaginous and astringent. Vernacular name: Elephant's Foot. Ref. READ.

Erigeron kamschaticus, DC. China: seeds made into flour. Vernacular names - Chinese: P'eng. English: Fleabane. Ref. SCHAEFER in CHANG.

Glossocardia lineafolia, Cass. India: leaves eaten. Ref. GAMMIE.

Gnaphalium japonicum, Thunb. China; shoots and leaves eaten. Vernacular name: Everlasting Flower. Ref. READ.

Goniocaulon glabrum, Cass. India (Bombay Presidency): leaves boiled in water and mixed with salt and chili powder when available. Vernacular names - Bombay Presidency: Kasmud ("universally"[sic]); Khamgaon Tank, Poona district, Bombay Presidency: Kat kasmud. Ref. GAMMIE.

Guizotia abyssinica, Cass. India (Bombay Presidency): leaves eaten. Vernacular name - Akola, Ahmednagar district: Khurosui. Ref. GAMMIE.

Hemizonia fasciculata (DC) Torr. and Gray. California: plant boiled to a thick, tarry liquid and eaten in time of famine by Native American groups. Ref. PALMER, YANOVSKY.

Heteropappus hispidus, Less. China: leaves eaten with oil and salt. Ref. READ.

Hypochoeris sonchioides, H.B.K. Peru (Vilacanota Valley): leaves boiled andused as a pot-herb. Plant grows along irrigation ditches. Vernacular name - Quechua: Miski pilli. Ref. GADE.

Inula britannica, L. China; leaves eaten and reported to contain a bitter element. Flowers reportedly slightly toxic. Vernacular name: Elecampane. Ref. READ.

Inula britannica, L. var. japonica,Thunb. Manchuria: young leaves eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Ixeris chinensis, Nakai, ssp. versicolor, Kitag. Manchuria: young plants eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Lactuca debilis, Maxim. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Vernacular name: Wild Lettuce. Ref. READ.

Lactuca sibirica, Benth. Manchuria: young plants eaten. Ref. BARANOV.

Launæa nudicaulus, Less. India (Bombay Presidency): leaves eaten. Vernacular name - Walha Parincha Road, Poona district, Bombay Presidency: Patri. Ref. GAMMIE.

Launæa pinnatifida, Cass. India (Bombay Presidency): leaves eaten. (Deccan): herb eaten; (Rajasthan, western): leaves eaten. Soil type favored by plant: sandy plains. Vernacular names -Bombay Presidency, Bijapur district, Badami: Pathuri, Hattarki. Rajasthan (western): Pathri. Ref. GAMMIE; GUPTA & KANODIA, SAXENA; SHANKARNARAYAN & SAXENA, WATT.

Ligularia japonica, Less. China: as for Cassia Sophora, L. [CÆSALPINIACEAE] Ref. READ.

Picris echinoides, L. France: root recommended as a famine food. Ref. PARMENTIER.

Saussurea affinis, Spr. China: shoots and leaves eaten. Vernacular name: Saussurea. Ref. READ.

Scorzonera humilis, L.; Jacq. France: root recommended as a famine food. Ref. PARMENTIER.

Senecio palmatus, Pall. China: leaves boiled then washed repeatedly to remove bitter element. Eaten with oil and salt. Japan: young leaves eaten by Ainu. Vernacular name: Ragwort. Ref. READ, UPHOF.

Siegesbeckia orientalis, L. China: leaves and shoots eaten after boiling and washing to remove the bitter, possibly toxic element darutin. Vernacular name: Herb de Flacq. Ref. READ.

Sonchus oleraceus, L. India (Bombay Presidency): leaves eaten. . Zululand (Ubombo district): leaves and berries eaten. China: stems and leaves eaten. Australia: stems, young shoots and roots eaten. Chemical composition (Chinese sample): Protein = 1.2%. Fat = 0.3%. Carbohydrate = 2.4%. Ash = 1.2%. Reportedly rich in Vitamin C. Vernacular names - Ahmednagar district, Bombay Presidency: Pathari. Zulu: Bis. English: Milky Tassel, Milkweed, Common Sowthistle, Hare's Lettuce. East Gippsland Aborigines: Thalaak. Ref. GAMMIE, HELY-HUTCHINSON, IRVINE, MAIDEN, READ.

Tragopogon pratensis, L. France: root recommended as a famine food. Ref. PARMENTIER.

Tussilago Farfara, L. China: young leaves boiled, then washed to remove tannin, then eaten with oil and salt. Chemical composition: ash rich in zinc (ca. 3.4%). Vernacular name: Coltsfoot. Ref. READ.

Xanthium strumarium, L. China: seeds ground into flour and baked into cakes. Young leafy shoots thoroughly boiled and washed to remove bitter element, possibly tannin as the plant is an active styptic. Manchuria: leaves eaten. Chemical composition (seeds): Protein = 36.7%. Fat = 38.6%. Ash = 5.18%. A glucoside: xanthostrumarium. Some Vitamin C. High amino acid values: Glutamic acid = 2.48g per 16g of nitrogen. Phenylalanine = 5.8g per 16g of nitrogen. Plant reported to be injurious at all stages of growth, and to act toxically on the heart. Ref. BARANOV, BURKILL, READ, VAN ETTEN.


Last update Wednesday, January 21, 1998 by aw