North American Cornucopia: Top 100 Indigenous Food Plants, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

North American Cornucopia

Top 100 Indigenous Food Plants, 1st Edition

By Ernest Small

CRC Press

800 pages | 153 Color Illus.

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pub: 2013-09-23
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Description

Many North American plants have characteristics that are especially promising for creating varieties needed to expand food production, and there are excellent prospects of generating new economically competitive crops from these natives. The inadequacy of current crops to meet the food demands of the world’s huge, growing population makes the potential of indigenous North American food plants even more significant. These plants can also generate crops that are more compatible with the ecology of the world, and many also have inherent health benefits.

Presenting detailed scholarship, a thoroughly accessible style, and numerous entertaining anecdotes, North American Cornucopia: Top 100 Indigenous Food Plants is a full-color book dedicated to the most important 100 native food plants of North America north of Mexico that have achieved commercial success or have substantial market potential. The introductory chapter reviews the historical development of North American indigenous crops and factors bearing on their future economic success. The rest of the book consists of 100 chapters, each dedicated to a particular crop. The book employs a user-friendly chapter format that presents the material in sections offering in-depth coverage of each plant.

The first section of each chapter provides information on the scientific and English names of the plants, followed by a section on the geography and ecology of the wild forms, accompanied by a map showing the North American distribution. A section entitled "Plant Portrait" comprises a basic description of the plant, its history, and its economic and social importance. This is followed by "Culinary Portrait," concerned with food uses and culinary vocabulary. The chapters then provide an analysis of the economic future of each crop, discuss notable and interesting scientific or technological observations and accomplishments, and present extensive references.

Reviews

"… this handsome, scholarly reference describes 100 plants native to North America that have the greatest crop potential. … Written in clear, accessible prose, this book will be useful to both scholars and general readers. Full-color illustrations include maps, drawings, and photos. … Small's unique focus on each plant's potential as a major global crop makes this a singular and valuable work. … Recommended."

—J. S. Whelan, Harvard Medical School in CHOICE Magazine, June 2014

"This is large book of 743 pages and will be useful to those interested in edible landscapes, regional cuisine, and Indian lore. The book is well written and interesting and will become a bible among those hardy souls interested in culinary experimentation and the development of new crops"

Reviewed by Jules Janick, Purdue University, USA

"Who is this book for? Firstly, if you are a bibliophile who enjoys rich books with well researched information, this book is for you. Academically, Small notes early on that the work is not intended to be a textbook, but rather a complement to students taking economic botany, agriculture and resource management courses. Still, the comprehensive references are useful as a starting point for any literature review of these subjects. For those investigating or curious about developing new crops, this is a book to guide you into what has potential. Wildcrafters and their ilk will of course find utility. If you are a natural history interpreter, this book is a treasure trove of information for public engagement. And, if you are a chef, or even a menuwriter for restaurants with locally grown foods, this should both occupy your bookshelf and be used frequently. It ranks in my top ten of plant reference books …"

—Daniel Mosquin, Research Manager, UBC Botanical Garden in The Canadian Botanical Association Bulletin

"In my opinion, anything written by Ernest Small deserves to be read; the man’s scholarship is extraordinary."

—Neil A. Harriman Univeristy of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in Economic Botany

Table of Contents

Introduction

Acerola

American Chestnut

American Ginseng

American Persimmon

Anise Hyssop

Aronia

Azolla (Mosquito Ferns)

Bergamot

Bilberry

Black Walnut

Blackberries and Dewberries

Blue Honeysuckle

Blue Waxweed

Blueberries

Buffaloberries

Buffalo Gourd

Butternut

Cabbage Palmetto

Cactus Pear

California Bay

Camas

Canada Garlic

Cattails

Cherries: North American Species

Chinkapin

Chive

Chufa

Cloudberry

Coast Tarweed

Cranberry

(American) Cranberry Bush (Highbush Cranberry)

Crowberry

Devil’s Claw

Duck Potato

Dwarf Cape Gooseberry

Dwarf Glasswort

Elder

Epazote

Evening Primrose

Fiddlehead Fern (Ostrich Fern)

Golden Chia

Golden Currant

Grapes

Groundnut (Apios)

Hawthorns (Including Mayhaws)

Hazelnuts

Hickories

Hog Peanut

Honewort

Hop

Huckleberries

Jerusalem Artichoke

Jojoba

Joshua Tree

Juniper

Labrador Tea

Lingonberry

May-Apple

Maypop

Mesquite

Mexican Oregano

Mountain Mint

Nettle (Stinging Nettle)

Nodding Onion

Northern Gooseberry

Ogechee Lime

Oregon Grape

Paper Birch

Paradise Tree

Pawpaw

Pecan

Piñon Pine

Plums: North American Species

Pokeweed

Prairie Turnip

Raspberries

Red Mulberry

Reed (Common)

Roses

Saguaro

Salal

Salmonberry

Saskatoon

Sassafras

Saw Palmetto

Scotch Lovage

Scurvy Grass

Sea Grape

Spicebush

Squash (Cucurbita pepo Squash)

Strawberries: North American Species

Sugar Maple

Sunflower

Sweet Gale

Tepary Bean

Wild Leek (Ramp)

Wild Rice

Winter Purslane

Yampah

Yerba Buena

Appendix

Index of Common Names

Index of Scientific Names

Index of Culinary Names

About the Author

Dr. Ernest Small received a doctorate in plant evolution from the University of California at Los Angeles in 1969 and has since been employed with the Research Branch of Agriculture and Agri- Food Canada, where he presently holds the status of Principal Research Scientist. He is the author of 13 previous books, five of which received or were nominated for major awards. He has also authored more than 300 scientific publications on plants. Dr. Small’s career has included dozens of appearances as an expert botanical witness in court cases, acting as an adviser to national governments, presenting numerous invited university and professional association lectures, supervising postgraduate students at various universities, participating in international societies and committees, journal editing, and media interviews.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCI011000
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany
SCI086000
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General
TEC003000
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General