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Forster Georg 1786. De Plantis Esculentis Insularum Oceani Australis Commentatio Botanica. Berlin, Apud Haude and Spener. 80 p.

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Lists 17 New Zealand species as edible. Descriptions below are roughly translated from the Latin and summarised [Ed.]

Solanum aviculare. The yellow plum-sized berries are acidic and eagerly consumed by the New Zealanders and birds, but rejected by most of us.

Coriaria sarmentosa

Convolvulus chrysorrhizus (cult.) [Ipomoea batatas]

Dioscorea alata (cult.)

Arum esculentum (cult.) [Colocasia esculenta], Arum macrorhizon [sic] (cult.) [giant taro] Cultivated in the northern end of New Zealand

Dracena indivisa [Cordyline indivisa]

Areca sapida [Rhopalostylis baueri, Kermadec Island nikau]

Apium gravolens [wild celery]. Abounds on the New Zealand coast. Valued by sailors as an antiscorbutic.

Tetragonia halimifolia [Tetragonia tetragonoides, NZ Spinach]. Found on the shores. Eaten by Cook's men for breakfast and lunch.

Lepidium oleraceum In Charlotte Sound, eaten with NZ spinach and wild celery. Highly prized antiscorbutic. Slightly bitter, attractive flavour. Aperient.

Sonchus oleraceus Tender stems. Young leaves used for salad by our people.

Avicennia resinifora [Avicennia marina subsp australasica]. Mangrove. Under this section, Forster quotes Crozet, to say that the natives often ate a green gum. Some of us tried it, by melting it in the mouth, and all found it very heat inducing. ( Does not refer to the mangrove. Ed.)

Pteris esculenta [Pteridium esculentum]. Hungry, poor people suck the insipid, woody, fibrous roots.

Polypodium medullare [Cyathea medullaris] . Called mamaku by inhabitants. Eat root and lower stem. The glutinous inner pulp has a turnip flavour. .

Polypodium dichotomum [Dicranopteris linearis, tangle fern ] Roots roasted over fire. Mealy flour extracted.

Leptospermum scoparium Pleasant, aromatic tea. Not a strong antiscorbutic??

Dacrydium cupressinum Cook made antiscorbutic spruce beer from the young, bitter, resinous leaves. In a short space of time, it induced nausea and dizziness.

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De Plantis Esculentis Insularum Oceani Australis Commentatio Botanica

Forster Georg
Apud Haude and Spener

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3 April 2014
21 May 2018
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