The Latin Series: E is for Edulis & Esculenta

March 6, 2012

Brassica rapa subsp. sylvestris var. esculenta

I love the E’s –  there are two great ‘E’ words in Botanical Latin that mean the same thing. Edulis and Esculenta — both of which refer to an edible quality in a plant. As I was researching all the plants I could find with Edulis of Esculenta in the name, I was quite surprised at what came up.  So many plants that I would not of thought to eat…. but without fail (except for one – which I will get to) everything that I double checked really does have something that at some point in time provided real sustance to people.

Do you remember last summer when I had huge morel mushrooms growing in my front walk….Morchella esculenta (latin for those Morels)
Colocasia esculenta (often planted in container gardens and called elephant ears – they are very popular in Asian food — Taro Root).

euphorbia esculenta

This one, Euphorbia esculenta really had me questioning….I had never heard of an edible euphorbia, but sure enough…(and this is my exception) it is often used as cattle fodder (but people can find it toxic).  So even if you see the term esculenta or edulis, do make sure to double check but take it as a sign that some part of this plant might be worth taking a bite of.

I’m collecting a whole bunch of Esculenta and Edulis plants on pinterest….you would be surprised what you find in the group.

Top picture: Brassica rapa subsp. sylvestris var. esculenta (the source of Rape seed oil) from luirig altervista by Pancrazio Campagna and Euphorbia esculenta from Cactus Center. 


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