It Generally Can Hold Its Own Against The Plant Populace Of Such Places

TTITLE Caraway

(Carum carui, Linn.), a biennial or an annual herb of the

natural order Umbelliferae. Its names, both popular and botanical, are

supposed to be derived from Caria, in Asia Minor, where the plant is

believed first to have attracted attention. From very early ages the

caraway has been esteemed by cooks and doctors, between which a friendly

rivalry might seem to exist, each vying to give it pr
minence. At the

present time the cooks seem to be in the ascendancy; the seeds or their

oil are rarely used in modern medicine, except to disguise the flavor of

repulsive drugs.

Since caraway seeds were found by O'Heer in the debris of the lake

habitations of Switzerland, the fact seems well established that the

plant is a native of Europe and the probability is increased that the

Careum of Pliny is this same plant, as its use by Apicus would also

indicate. It is mentioned in the twelfth-century writings as grown in

Morocco, and in the thirteenth by the Arabs. As a spice, its use in

England seems to have begun at the close of the fourteenth century. From

its Asiatic home it spread first with Phoenician commerce to western

Europe, whence by later voyageurs it has been carried throughout the

civilized world. So widely has it been distributed that the traveler may

find it in the wilds of Iceland and Scandinavia, the slopes of sunny

Spain, the steeps of the Himalayas, the veldt of southern Africa, the

bush of Australia, the prairies and the pampas of America.

Caraway is largely cultivated in Morocco, and is an important article of

export from Russia, Prussia, and Holland. It has developed no clearly

marked varieties; some specimens, however, seem to be more distinctly

annual than others, though attempts to isolate these and thus secure a

quick-maturing variety seem not to have been made.

Description.--The fleshy root, about 1/2 inch in diameter, is

yellowish externally, whitish within, and has a slight carroty taste.

From it a rosette of finely pinnated leaves is developed, and later the

sparsely leaved, channeled, hollow, branching flower stem which rises

from 18 to 30 inches and during early summer bears umbels of little

white flowers followed by oblong, pointed, somewhat curved, light brown

aromatic fruits--the caraway "seeds" of commerce. These retain their

germinating power for about three years, require about 10,000 seeds to

make an ounce and fifteen ounces to the quart.

Cultivation.--Frequently, if not usually, caraway is sown together

with coriander in the same drills on heavy lands during May or early

June. The coriander, being a quick-maturing plant, may be harvested

before the caraway throws up a flowering stem. Thus two crops may be

secured from the same land in the same time occupied by the caraway

alone. Ordinary thinning to 6 or 8 inches between plants is done when

the seedlings are established. Other requirements of the crop are all

embraced in the practices of clean cultivation.

Harvest occurs in July of the year following the seeding. The plants are

cut about 12 inches above ground with sickles, spread on sheets to dry

for a few days, and later beaten with a light flail. After threshing,

the seed must be spread thinly and turned daily until the last vestige

of moisture has evaporated. From 400 to 800 pounds is the usual range of


If seed be sown as soon as ripe, plants may be secured which mature

earlier than the main crop. Thus six or eight weeks may be saved in the

growing season, and by continuing such selection a quick-maturing strain

may be secured with little effort. This would also obviate the trouble

of keeping seed from one year to the next, for the strain would be

practically a winter annual.

Uses.--Occasionally the leaves and young shoots are eaten either

cooked or as an ingredient in salads. The roots, too, have been esteemed

in some countries, even more highly than the parsnip, which, however,

largely because of its size, has supplanted it for this purpose. But the

seeds are the important part. They find popular use in bread, cheese,

liquors, salads, sauces, soups, candy, and especially in seed cakes,

cookies and comfits. The colorless or pale yellow essential oil

distilled with water from the seeds, which contain between 5% and 7-1/2%

of it, has the characteristic flavor and odor of the fruit. It is

extensively employed in the manufacture of toilet articles, such as

perfumery, and especially soaps.


or =cat mint= (Nepeta cataria, Linn.), a perennial herb of the

natural order Labiatae. The popular name is in allusion to the attraction

the plant has for cats. They not only eat it, but rub themselves upon it

purring with delight. The generic name is derived from the Etrurian city

Neptic, in the neighborhood of which various species of the genus

formerly became prominent.

Like several of its relatives catnip is a well-known weed. It has become

naturalized in America, and is most frequently observed in dry, waste

places, especially in the East, though it is also often found in gardens

and around dwellings throughout the United States and Canada.

Description.--Its erect, square, branching stems, from 18 to 36 inches

tall, bear notched oval or heartshaped leaves, whitish below, and during

late summer terminal clusters of white flowers in small heads, far

apart below, but crowded close above. The fruits are small, brown,

ovoid, smooth and with three clearly defined angles. An ounce contains

about 3,400 seeds. Viability lasts for five years.

Cultivation. Catnip will grow with the most ordinary attention on any

fairly dry soil. The seed need only be sown in autumn or spring where

the plants are to remain or in a nursery bed for subsequent

transplanting. If to be kept in a garden bed they should stand 18 to 24

inches apart each way. Nothing is needful except to keep down weeds in

order to have them succeed for several years on the same spot.

Uses.--The most important use of the plant is as a bee forage; for

this purpose waste places are often planted to catnip. As a condiment

the leaves were formerly in popular use, especially in the form of

sauces; but milder flavors are now more highly esteemed. Still, the

French use catnip to a considerable extent. Like many of its relatives,

catnip was a popular medicinal remedy for many fleshly ills; now it is

practically relegated to domestic medicine. Even in this it is a

moribund remedy for infant flatulence, and is clung to only by

unlettered nurses of a passing generation.

TTITLE Chervil

(Scandix Cerefolium, Linn.), a southern Europe annual, with

stems about 18 inches tall and bearing few divided leaves composed of

oval, much-cut leaflets. The small white flowers, borne in umbels, are

followed by long, pointed, black seeds with a conspicuous furrow from

end to end. These seeds, which retain their germinability about three

years, but are rather difficult to keep, may be sown where the plants

are to stay, at any season, about eight weeks before a crop is desired;

cultivation is like that of parsley. During summer and in warm climates,

cool, shady situations should be chosen, otherwise any situation and

soil are suitable. The leaves, which are highly aromatic, are used,

especially in France and England, for seasoning and for mixed salads.

Chervil is rarely used alone, but is the chief ingredient in what the

French call fines herbes, a mixture which finds its way into a host of

culinary concoctions. The best variety is the Curled, which, though it

has the same flavor as the plain, is a prettier garnish.


(Allium Schoenoprasum, Linn.), a bulbous, onion-like

perennial belonging to the Liliaceae. Naturally the plants form thick

tufts of abundant, hollow, grasslike leaves from their little oval bulbs

and mat of fibrous roots. The short flower stems bear terminal clusters

of generally sterile flowers. Hence the plants are propagated by

planting the individual bulbs or by division of clumps in early spring.

Frequently chives are planted in flower borders as an edging, for which

purpose the compact growth and dainty flowers particularly recommend

them. They should not be allowed to grow in the same place more than

three years.

Strictly speaking, chives do not belong with the herbs, but their leaves

are so frequently used instead of onions for flavoring salads, stews and

other dishes, and reference has been so often made to them in these

pages, that a brief description has been included. For market the clumps

are cut in squares and the whole plant sold. Treated in this way the

greengrocers can keep them in good condition by watering until sold. For

use the leaves are cut with shears close to the ground. If allowed to

stand in the garden, cuttings may be made at intervals of two or three

weeks all through the season.


(Salvia sclarea, Linn.), a perennial herb of the natural order

Labiatae. The popular name is a corruption of the specific. In the

discussion on sage will be found the significance of the generic name.

Syria is said to be the original home of clary, but Italy is also

mentioned. The presumption is in favor of the former country, as it is

the older, and the plant was probably carried westward from it by

soldiers or merchants. In England clary was known prior to 1538, when

Turner published his garden lore, but in America, except in foreigners'

gardens, it is rarely seen. It has been listed in seedsmen's catalogs

since 1806.

Description.--The large, very broad, oblong, obtuse, toothed, woolly

haired, radical leaves are grayish green and somewhat rumpled like those

of Savoy cabbage. From among them rise the 2-foot tall, square,

branching, sparsely leaved stems, which during the second year bear

small clusters of lilac or white showy flowers in long spikes. The

smooth brown or marbled shining seeds retain their germinating power for

three years.

Cultivation.--The plants thrive in any well-drained soil. Seed may be

sown during March in drills 18 inches apart where the plants are to

remain or in a seedbed for transplanting 18 inches asunder in May. Clean

cultivation is needed throughout the summer until the plants have full

possession of the ground. In August the leaves may be gathered, and if

this harvest be judiciously done the production of foliage should

continue until midsummer of the second year, when the plants will

probably insist upon flowering. After this it is best to rely upon new

plants for supplies of leaves, the old plants being pulled.

Uses.--In America, the leaves are little used in cookery, and even in

Europe they seem to be less popular than formerly, sage having taken

their place. Wine is sometimes made from the plant when in flower. As an

ornamental, clary is worth a place in the hardy flower border.

TTITLE Coriander

(Coriandrum sativum, Linn.), "a plant of little beauty and

of easiest culture," is a hardy annual herb of the natural order

Umbelliferae. The popular name is derived from the generic, which comes

from the ancient Greek Koris, a kind of bug, in allusion to the

disagreeable odor of the foliage and other green parts. The specific

name refers to its cultivation in gardens. Hence the scientific name

declares it to be the cultivated buggy-smelling plant.

Coriander has been cultivated from such ancient times that its land of

nativity is unknown, though it is said to be a native of southern Europe

and of China. It has been used in cookery and of course, too, in

medicine; for, according to ancient reasoning, anything with so

pronounced and unpleasant an odor must necessarily possess powerful

curative or preventive attributes! Its seeds have been found in Egyptian

tombs of the 21st dynasty. Many centuries later Pliny wrote that the

best quality of seed still came to Italy from Egypt. Prior to the Norman

conquest in 1066, the plant was well known in Great Britain, probably

having been taken there by the early Roman conquerors. Before 1670 it

was introduced into Massachusetts. During this long period of

cultivation there seems to be no record or even indication of varieties.

In many temperate and tropical countries it has become a frequent weed

in cultivated fields.

Description.--From a cluster of slightly divided radical leaves

branching stems rise to heights of 2 to 2-1/2 feet. Toward their summits

they bear much divided leaves, with linear segments and umbels of small

whitish flowers, followed by pairs of united, hemispherical,

brownish-yellow, deeply furrowed "seeds," about the size of a sweet pea

seed. These retain their vitality for five or six years. The seeds do

not have the unpleasant odor of the plant, but have a rather agreeable

smell and a moderately warm, pungent taste.

Cultivation.--Coriander, a plant of the easiest culture, does best in

a rather light, warm, friable soil. In Europe it is often sown with

caraway, which, being a biennial and producing only a rosette of leaves

at the surface of the ground the first year, is not injured when the

annual coriander is cut. The seed is often sown in the autumn, though

spring sowing is perhaps in more favor. The rows are made about 15

inches apart, the seeds dropped 1 inch asunder and 1/2 inch deep and the

plantlets thinned to 6 or 8 inches. Since the plants run to seed

quickly, they must be watched and cut early to prevent loss and

consequent seeding of the ground. After curing in the shade the seed is

threshed as already described (see page 28). On favorable land the yield

may reach or even exceed 1,500 pounds to the acre.

Uses.--Some writers say the young leaves of the plant are used in

salads and for seasoning soups, dressings, etc. If this is so, I can

only remark that there is no accounting for tastes. I am inclined to

think, however, that these writers are drawing upon their imagination or

have been "stuffed" by people who take pleasure in supplying

misinformation. The odor is such as to suggest the flavor of "buggy"

raspberries we sometimes gather in the fence rows. Any person who

relishes buggy berries may perhaps enjoy coriander salad or soup.

Only the seed is of commercial importance. It is used largely in making

comfits and other kinds of confectionery, for adding to bread, and,

especially in the East, as an ingredient in curry powder and other

condiments. In medicine its chief use now is to disguise the taste of

disagreeable drugs. Distillers use it for flavoring various kinds of



(Cuminum Cyminum, Linn.), a low-growing annual herb of the Nile

valley, but cultivated in the Mediterranean region, Arabia, Egypt,

Morocco, India, China, and Palestine from very early times, (See Isaiah

xviii, 25-27 and Matthew xxiii, 23.) Pliny is said to have considered it

the best appetizer of all condiments. During the middle ages it was in

very common use. All the old herbals of the sixteenth and the

seventeenth centuries figure and describe and extol it. In Europe it is

extensively cultivated in Malta and Sicily, and will mature seed as far

north as Norway; in America, today, the seed is cataloged by some

seedsmen, but very little is grown.

Description.--The plant is very diminutive, rarely exceeding a height

of 6 inches. Its stems, which branch freely from the base, bear mere

linear leaves and small lilac flowers, in little umbels of 10 to 20

blossoms each. The six-ribbed, elongated "seeds" in appearance resemble

caraway seeds, but are straighter, lighter and larger, and in formation

are like the double seeds of coriander, convex on one side and concave

on the other. They bear long hairs, which fold up when the seed is dry.

After the seed has been kept for two years it begins to lose its

germinating power, but will sprout reasonably well when three years old.

It is characterized by a peculiar, strong aromatic odor, and a hot


Culture.--As soon as the ground has become warm the seed is sown in

drills about 15 inches apart where the plants are to remain. Except for

keeping down the weeds no further attention is necessary. The plants

mature in about two months, when the stems are cut and dried in the

shade. (See page 28.) The seeds are used in India as an ingredient in

curry powder, in France for flavoring pickles, pastry and soups.


(Anethum graveolens, Linn.), a hardy annual, native of the

Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, smaller than common fennel,

which it somewhat resembles both in appearance and in the flavor of the

green parts, which are, however, less agreeable.

In ancient times it was grown in Palestine. The word translated, "anise"

in Matthew xxiii, 23, is said to have been "dill" in the original Greek.

It was well known in Pliny's time, and is often discussed by writers in

the middle ages. According to American writings, it has been grown in

this country for more than 100 years and has become spontaneous in many


Description.--Ordinarily the plants grow 2 to 2-1/2 feet tall. The

glaucous, smooth, hollow, branching stems bear very threadlike leaves

and in midsummer compound umbels with numerous yellow flowers, whose

small petals are rolled inward. Very flat, pungent, bitter seeds are

freely produced, and unless gathered early are sure to stock the garden

with volunteer seedlings for the following year. Under fair storage

conditions, the seeds continue viable for three years. They are rather

light; a quart of them weighs about 11 ounces, and an ounce is said to

contain over 25,000 seeds.

Cultivation.--Where dill has not already been grown seed may be sown

in early spring, preferably in a warm sandy soil, where the plants are

to remain. Any well-drained soil will do. The drills should be 1 foot

apart, the seeds scattered thinly and covered very shallow; a bed 12

feet square should supply abundance of seed for any ordinary family. To

sow this area 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of seed is ample. For field use the rows

may be 15 inches apart and the seed sown more thinly. It should not be

covered much more than 1/4 inch. Some growers favor fall sowing, because

they claim the seed is more likely to germinate than in the spring, and

also to produce better plants than spring-sown seed.

At all times the plants must be kept free from weeds and the soil loose

and open. When three or four weeks old the seedlings are thinned to 9

inches, or even a foot apart. As soon as the seed is ripe, shortly after

midsummer, it must be gathered with the least possible shaking and

handling, so as to prevent loss. It is well to place the stems as cut

directly in a tight-bottomed cart or a wheelbarrow, with a canvas

receptacle for the purpose, and to haul direct to the shade where drying

is to occur. A good place for this is a barn, upon the floor of which a

large canvas sheet is spread, and where a free circulation of air can be

secured. (See page 28.)