Newsletter No 79 November 2019

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Newsletter No 79 November 2019

At times I think I am making good progress with compiling information on edible plants of the world and at other times I wonder. At our mountainside cabin I picked up a book to browse and started reading about Guyana. Then I started to check our database. Guyana is a tropical country in the north of South America and the people speak English but also 14 other languages. Most of the population has come from Africa and India and about 5% of the population are the original indigenous inhabitants. I haven't been there but had a lovely Guyanian team leader for an FAO consultancy that I was involved in. Although Guyana is in the top 40 in terms of land area it only has a small population under one million. The under-five child death rate for Guyana is 60th in the world.

In our database we have 1,252 edible plant species for Guyana. This is out of about 5,000 tropical species in South America that have edible parts. Of the Guyana plants, 48 are palms (see right) and in 40 cases it is the fruit of these that is eaten, but also as well, the seeds and palm hearts are eaten from several. Altogether 758 species in Guyana have edible fruit. The leaves of 346 species are eaten. 119 species have edible roots. 50 species have edible nuts and 333 species have edible seeds. 149 species have edible flowers.

140 bean family plants in Guyana have edible parts. The Inga genus is one of the more common with 37 being recorded as being used for food. This is usually the pod pulp or fleshy layer around the seeds that is eaten.

There are 13 Annona species where the fruit is eaten. Some such as Bullock's heart, soursop and cherimoya are well known, and some that occur mainly in this tropical region of northern South America are not well known. This group has been found to have unique anti-cancer properties and warrant further study. Our database has 93 Annona species used for food. They are tropical and mostly in South American countries, but some are native to Africa.

We need to discover all the edible plant diversity on this planet

Bactris gasipaes

Acrocomia aculeata

Astrocaryum vulgare

Attalea phalerata

Inga edulis

Annona cherimolia

Bruce French, Director
38 West Street
Burnie, Tasmania 7320

Ph: +61 3 6432 1080
Mobile: 0419 131 799

Coccoloba uvifera

Albizia lebbeck

Ixora coccinea

Manilkara bidentata

Artocarpus lacucha

About 60 plants - mostly the leaves - are used to make tea-like drinks. And 17 species are used for coffee-like drinks. This is mostly from the seeds. 14 Amaranth family herbs have leaves that are eaten and half of these also have seeds that are eaten.

8 of the pineapple type plants (Bromeliaceae) in Guyana have edible fruit. There are 28 breadfruit or fig family (Moraceae) trees mostly with edible fruit (see left).

Although 37 grass family plants have seeds that are used as a cereal, only 2 bamboos are recorded as being edible. 11 trees in the Malpighiaceae family are trees with edible fruit and the acerola (Malpighia glabra) is uniquely rich in Vitamin C.

When I hear scientists asking whether there is life on other planets I wish they would find out more about edible plants on planet earth. And when I see young people protesting and stopping the traffic, I wish they would assign them one rare edible plant each to research and make a real contribution to sustainable food production and climate restoration.

For the list for Guyana, on the third page I lack photos and have minimal information.
Thankfully I could copy the names and not have to type them all! It looks as if my job is far
from complete.

With thanks for your interest,

Acacia farnesiana

Anacardium excelsum

Byrsonima crassifolia

Maranta arundinacea

Malpighia glabra

Nelumbo nucifera

Some of these less familiar edible plants for which I only have records for Guyana or the
nearby region include:
Aciotis purpurascens, Acrodiclidium camara, Aechmea longifolia, Agonandra brasiliensis, Agonandra silvatica, Alexa
wachenheimii, Alibertia edulis var. edulis, Allantoma lineata, Allophylus edulis, Amaioua guianensis, Amanita perphaea,
Ambelania acida, Anacardium giganteum, Anacardium spruceanum, Ananas parguazensis, Aniba canelilla, Aniba rosaeodora,
Annona ambotay, Annona cuspidata, Annona densicoma, Annona fosteri, Annona hypoglauca, Annona paludosa, Annona
sericea, Anthodiscus mazarunensis, Anthurium sagittatum, Astrocaryum acaule, Astrocaryum jauari, Astrocaryum munbaca,
Astrocaryum tucuma, Attalea attaleoides, Attalea phalerata, Attalea spectabilis, Baccharis trinervis, Bactris acanthocarpa,
Bactris brongniartii, Bactris oligoclada, Bactris simplicifrons, Bagassa guianensis, Boletellus ananas, Bromelia chrysantha,
Brosimum melanopotamicum, Brownea coccinea subsp. capitella, Buchenavia fanshawei, Buchenavia grandis, Buchenavia
guianensis, Byrsonima aerugo, Byrsonima coccolobifolia, Byrsonima densa, Byrsonima incarnata, Byrsonima stipulacea,
Calathea aff. legrelleana, Calycolpus goetheanus, Campomanesia grandiflora, Campsiandra comosa, Cantharellus
guyanensis, Capirona decorticans, Capparis maroniensis, Carpotroche longifolia, Carpotroche surinamensis, Caryocar
glabrum, Caryocar microcarpum, Casearia fasciculata, Casearia pitumba, Casearia sylvestris var. lingua, Casearia
zizyphoides, Cassia cowanii var. guianensis, Catostemma altsonii, Catostemma commune, Catostemma fragrans, Cayaponia
selysioides, Cecropia angulata, Cecropia sciadophylla, Centrosema macrocarpum, Chrysochlamys weberbaueri,
Chrysophyllum amazonicum, Chrysophyllum argenteum subsp. auratum, Chrysophyllum cuneifolium, Chrysophyllum
lucentifolium subsp. pachycarpum, Chrysophyllum macoucou, Chrysophyllum sanguinolentum subsp. balata, Chrysophyllum
sparsiflorum, Cissampelos fasciculata, Clarisia ilicifolia, Clathrotropis macrocarpa, Clavija lancifolia, Clavulina
craterelloides, Clidemia anisophylla, Clidemia cf. microthyrsa, Clidemia petiolata, Clidemia sericea, Clidemia spicata, Clusia
grandiflora, Coccoloba latifolia, Coccoloba marginata, Coccoloba ovata, Codonanthe crassifolia, Conceveiba martiana,
Cordia grandiflora, Cordia nervosa, Cordia nodosa, Cordia scabrifolia, Cordiera myrciifolia, Costus scaber, Couepia
paraensis, Couma catingae, Couma guianensis, Couma rigida, Coussapoa asperifolia subsp. magnifolia, Coussarea leptoloba,
Croton trinitatis, Cuspidaria inaequalis, Cybianthus guyanensis, Cynometra bauhinifolia, Cyrtocarpa velutinifolia, Dacryodes
roraimensis, Dictyocaryum ptarianum, Dimorphandra hohenkerkii, Dimorphandra polyandra, Dioscorea piperifolia,
Diospyros cayennensis, Diospyros guianensis, Diospyros tetrandra, Diploon cuspidatum, Disteganthus lateralis, Drypetes
variabilis, Duguetia calycina, Duguetia latifolia, Duguetia macrophylla, Duguetia megalophylla, Duguetia odorata, Duguetia
quitarensis, Dulacia guianensis, Duroia aquatica, Duroia genipoides, Ecclinusa guianensis, Emmotum acuminata, Eragrostis
secundiflora, Erisma japura, Erisma uncinatum, Erythroxylum gracilipes, Eschweilera coriacea, Eschweilera grandiflora,
Eschweilera simiorum, Eschweilera subglandulosa, Eugenia anastomosans, Eugenia cribrata, Eugenia latifolia, Eugenia
marowynensis, Eugenia pseudopsidium, Eugenia tetramera, Euterpe catinga var. roraimae, Faramea guianensis, Faramea
torquata, Ficus amazonica, Ficus guianensis, Ficus mathewsii, Garcinia benthamiana, Garcinia floribunda, Geissospermum
laeve, Genipa spruceana, Gnetum paniculatum, Gnetum schwackeanum, Gnetum urens, Gonzalagunia bunchosioides,
Gonzalagunia dicocca, Guarea silvatica, Guatteria chrysopetala, Guatteria elongata, Guatteria maypurensis, Guatteria
punctata, Guatteria scandens, Guatteria schomburgkiana, Guettarda viburnoides, Gustavia poeppigiana, Hedyosmum
racemosum, Heisteria acuminata, Heisteria media, Henriettea multiflora, Henriettella caudata, Henriettella ovata, Herrania
kanukuensis, Herrania lemniscata, Herrania mariae, Hevea pauciflora, Hevea pauciflora var. coriacea, Himatanthus
bracteatus, Hirtella longipedicellata, Hirtella racemosa, Hirtella tentaculata, Humiria balsamifera var. coriacea, Humiria
balsamifera var. floribunda, Humiria balsamifera var. guianensis, Humiria balsamifera var. laurina, Humiriastrum
cuspidatum, Humiriastrum obovatum, Hymenaea oblongifolia, Inga alata, Inga coriacea, Inga gaciliflora, Inga gracilifolia,
Inga huberi, Inga jenmanii, Inga longiflora, Inga melinonis, Inga paraensis, Inga stipularis, Iryanthera lancifolia, Iryanthera
paraensis, Iryanthera ulei, Isertia coccinea, Leandra agrestis, Leandra divaricata, Leandra scabra, Lecythis corrugata,
Lecythis davisii, Lentinus crinitus, Leonia cymosa, Licania apetala, Licania heteromorpha, Licania incana, Licania
licaniiflora, Licania octandra subsp. pallida, Licania parviflora, Licaria armeniaca, Lindackeria latifolia, Lonchocarpus utilis,
Loreya arborescens, Loreya spruceana, Maieta guianensis, Maieta poeppigii, Maranta ruizana, Maripa scandens, Marlierea
guildingiana, Melicoccus pedicellaris, Miconia abbreviata, Miconia argyrophylla, Miconia bubalina, Miconia ceramicarpa,
Miconia ruficalyx, Micrandra glabra, Micrandra rossiana, Micrandra spruceana, Mollia lepidota, Mora excelsa, Mouriri
collocarpa, Myrcia albidotomentosa, Myrcia sylvatica, Neea constricta, Neea floribunda, Ocimum micranthum, Ocotea
pretiosa, Oenocarpus bataua var. oligocarpus, Ophiocaryon paradoxum, Oxalis frutescens, Pacouria guianensis, Palicourea
triphylla, Parinari maguirei, Parkia igneiflora, Passiflora gabrielliana, Passiflora retipetala, Passiflora riparia, Paullinia
bracteosa, Perebea guianensis, Picramnia latifolia, Pithecellobium roseum, Posoqueria longiflora, Pourouma mollis,
Pourouma tomentosa, Pouteria penicillata, Pouteria sagotiana, Pouteria trigonosperma, Pradosia surinamensis,
Prionostemma aspera, Protium decandrum, Protium elegans, Protium sagotianum, Psidium densicomum, Psidium guyanense,
Qualea acuminata, Qualea paraensis, Quiina obovata, Quiina oiapocensis, Quiina rhytidopus, Sagittaria rhombifolia, Salacia
impressifolia, Salacia juruana, Simaba guianensis, Simaba orinocensis, Sloanea dentata, Smilax longifolia, Solanum asperum,
Solanum maccai, Stachyarrhena penduliflora, Strychnos melinoniana, Strychnos peckii, Stylogyne orinocensis, Styrax glaber,
Swartzia katawa, Tabernaemontana macrocalyx, Talipariti tiliaceum var. pernambucense, Talisia guianensis, Talisia
hexaphylla, Talisia microphylla, Talisia retusa, Talisia sylvatica, Tetracera volubilis, Tetragastris hostmannii, Tococa
coronata, Touroulia guianensis, Trichanthera gigantea, Ugni myricoides, Unxia camphorata, Urospatha sagittifolia, Vanilla