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  D. (loritense) spruceanum--food
From: "Julius Boos" ju-bo at msn.com> on 2006.03.17 at 02:11:47(13964)
Reply-To : Discussion of aroids
Sent : Thursday, March 16, 2006 10:37 PM
To : "Discussion of aroids"
Subject : Re: [Aroid-l] FW: D. (loritense) spruceanum fruit.

Dear Marek,

Nothing 'terrible' here, just a sharing of information which builds
knowledge amongst us all!
Yes, the rhizomes/tubers ("chubas"!!) of several species of Dracontium were
and still are consumed, when cooked, throughout much of their range, either
roasted or boiled. I have had the pleasure of collecting, cooking and
eating those of Drac. asperum back in my native Trinidad, W.I. My report
was that when boiled they were much like a wettish/sticky form of taro, but
eminently edible, especially if cooked within a pea soup!!
My dear friend and mentor Dr. Tom Croat of MOBOT, and myself, have had
several 'battle royals' over my suggestion that ancient man probably used
this genus, together with Xanthosoma and other non-aroids, as a canoe
'journey food', and so it was transported by them up the chain of West
Indian islands all the way (according to existing herbarium records) from
the South American mainland up the chain of smaller islands to Puerto Rico
and the Dominican Republic. In addition, also according to herbarium
records, the widely distributed species D. spruceanum, is the only
Dracontium sp. recorded in the wild from both the Amazonian and Pacific
sides of the Andes, and up into Cen. America!! It (as in your record) is
still widely consumed by indigenous peoples in several areas where it is
found, and is easily transportable and a long-lasting "journey food". The
genus is also a PERFECT candidate to establish itself in new areas once man
stops to cook it, as the small bulbils which exist on all rhizomes, will
detach and grow where they fall. Ancient man would also have found it
benificial to help it establish itself in new lands along his frequently
travelled journey routs.
Thanks for your interest and response! One more mystery solved!

Good Growing,


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