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Ascorbic acid and Vitamin A content of edible wild plants of Ohio and Kentucky

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Fresh samples of 16 wild edible plants were assayed for Ascorbic Acid and 10 plants were assayed for Vitamin A. Many of the plants were found to be rich sources of these vitamins when compared with some common garden fruits and vegetables.
Ascorbic Acid and Vitamin A Content of
Edible Wild Plants of Ohio and Kentucky
Fresh samples o[ 16 wild edible plants were assayed/or ,4scorbic ,4cid and 10 plants
were assayed 1or Vitamin .4. Many o[ the plants were [ound to be rich sources of these
vitamins when compared with some common garden lruits and vegetables.
There is a renewed awareness today of
the value of natural resources, and this
realization has led to experimentation with
an increased utilization of wild plants
as food sources (3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 17). In
some areas of the United States the utiliza-
tion of such foods is not new. The practice
been handed down through generations
is undoubtedly a carry-over from the
times when some pioneers and American
Indians subsisted wholely on native foods.
Wild spring greens are often available sev-
eral weeks before garden varieties and are
used extensively by individuals familiar
with them. Dandelion and wild Asparagus
are common foods to some people. Tender
Poke greens and Lambs-quarters are con-
sumed in such quantities by some families
that they are a standard part of the diet--
often being preferred to garden greens.
Non-cultivated fruits such as blackberries,
blueberries and plums are collected in suffi-
cient quantities to be used in preserving for
a winter home supply or for sale on the
market. We utilize edible wild plants on a
regular basis and, in fact, are delighted
when various species are in their prime.
Books on wild edible plants often con-
tain such statements as, "Rose hips are rich
in vitamin C," or "Sassafras leaves are anti-
t Professor of Pharmacognosy, College of Phar-
mac),, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
Paper presented at the Lloyd Library & Museum
Lecture Series, April 27, 1974, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Submitted for publication
July 5, 1974.
scorbutic," but only a few references have
included quantitative analysis of tested wild
foods of particular vitamins, minerals and/
or other ingredients (1, 6, 12). Some refer-
ences are difficult to locate (11) and some
do not include details of the assay pro-
cedures (3, 6, 17). At best there is a paucity
of information regarding the nutritive val-
ues of wild plants, and it is for the purpose
of extending the knowledge of vitamin con-
tent of commonly consumed wild plants
that the study was undertaken.
A selection of wild foods utilized in
southern Ohio and northern Kentucky
were analyzed for their content of the vita-
min A precursor, fl carotene, and ascorbic
acid. The plants were chosen because of
their availability at the time of the experi-
ment and because their vitamin content was
expected to be high. No effort was made to
exhaust all the usable species of the area
and no effort was made to follow the level
of vitamins in the plants through their
growing season, although there are values
reported for several plants collected at dif-
ferent stages of development.
Table I lists the plants assayed with the
following information--common names
used in the southern Ohio and northern
Kentucky area, the part of the plants used,
and the time of year when the plants are
usually collected for food. Specimens of all
plants are on file in the herbarium of the
University of Cincinnati.
76 ECONOMIC BOTANY 31: 76-79. January-March, 1977.
Vitamin A Acid
Name Part Used Season Collected Units/100 g mg/100 g
Alliarla o.Oicinalis L. (1) Leaves and tops just (1) Spring 8,600 (3) 190
Crueiferae prior to flowing 12,000
(Garlic Mustard) (2) Basal leaves (2) All year 19.000
Allium vineale L. Leaves All year (best in 130
Liliaeeae early spring)
(Onion Grass)
AUium tricoccum Ait. Leaves Spring 80
(Ramps or Wild Leeks)
Barbarea vulgaris R. Br. Basal leaves Late winter and 130 (1)
& Barbarea verna Asch. early spring
(Winter Cress)
Capsella bursa-pastoris Basal leaves of first Late winter and 5,000 91
Medic. Crueiferae year plants early spring
(Shepard's Purse)
Cercis eanadensis L. Flowers Early spring 69
Leguminosae 82
(Redbud, Judas Tree)
Chenopodium albidum L. (1) Whole young plants (1) Early spring 14,000 130
Chenopodiaceae (2) Tops of older plants (2) Later in year 16,000 66 (2)
(Goosefoot, Lambs- 71 (2)
Chyrsanthemum Basal Late winter and 7,000 23
Leucanthemum L. early spring 12,000
(Ox-eye Daisy)
Duv~znea indica Leaves All year (best in 79
Focke. Rosaceae spring)
(Indian Strawberry)
Glexhoma hederacea L. Leaves All year 14,000 44
(Ground Ivy)
LaxSuva scariola L. Basal leaves Early spring 9.700 41
Compositae 44
(Wild Prickly Lettuce)
Oxalis stricta L. Leaves All year 59 (2)
Oxalidaceae 79 (2)
(Sour Grass)
PhysaUs pubescens L. Ripe fruit only Late fall and early 3,200
Solanaceae winter 2,200
(Ground Cherry)
Plantago major L. Leaves Early spring 10,000 19 (2)
Plantaginaceae 11,000 19
Portulaca oleracea L. Overground plant Spring and winter 6,100 26 (2)
Portulacaceae prior to flowering 8,300
Stellaria media Cyrill Overground plant All year (best in 37
Caryophylaceae spring) 49
Viola papilionacea Puesh. Basal leaves All year (best in 15,000 130 (2)
Violaceae spring) 20,000 264
(Common Blue Violets)
(1) Plants collected the day before the assay.
(2) Values from old plants that had gone to seed.
(3) Value from plants collected in late winter.
Collection o] plant material. 2 Parts of the
plant suitable and most desirable for hu-
man consumption were used in all cases. In
general this consisted of young, tender
parts; discolored and insect-damaged por-
tions were discarded. Most of the samples
were collected just prior to or during the
flowering period, because it was expected
that the vitamin content would be at its
highest level at that time (1, 14). Some
plants were not at their prime when the
field trips were made or when the assays
were being done, and for that reason por-
tions were collected from some older plants,
ones that had gone to seed, with this differ-
ence noted in Table I. All plants were col-
lected within a 50-mile radius of Cin-
cinnati and taken directly to the laboratory.
The analysis was done immediately upon
arrival and, with one exception as noted on
Table I, all values reported are for fresh
Chemical assays, Vitamin C. The method
used for the ascorbic acid determination
was that of the Association of Vitamin
Chemists (2, 15), a 2,6-dichloroendophenol
method that measures only reduced ascor-
bic acid. The dehydroascorbic acid method
of Roe and Oesterling (2) was not used be-
cause the plants usually were analyzed
within ten or fifteen minutes of collection
and, consequently, the amount of dehydro-
ascorbic acid would have been small in
comparison with what it would have been
in older or frozen samples. The dehydro-
ascorbic acid method is open to question
because the biological activity of the vita-
min is impaired once the ascorbic acid is
oxidized to the dehydro form in the plant
leaf (16).
Vitamin A. The method used for the
assay of a vitamin A precursor follows that
of Strohocker and Henning (14) and the
Association of Vitamin Chemists (2). Ex-
tracted carotene was measured against a
highly purified sample of "100% type VI
beta-carotene obtained from carrots" s us-
ing a Spectronic 20 spectrophotometer at
2 The authors are indebted to Warren Wells,
Chief Naturalist, Hamilton County Park Board, for
help in identifying several plants used in this study.
s Sigma Chemicals.
wave length 436 nm. Carotenes from sev-
eral samples were collected and measured
against the purified beta-carotene standard
using a Coleman U.V. spectrophotometer,
Model 124. The scans of the extracted caro-
tenes were qualitatively indistinguishable
from that of the standard, indicating that
beta-carotene was the principal extracted
carotene. Units of vitamin A were calcu-
lated by multiplying the meg/100 g of beta-
carotene by 1.6 (2).
Results of the assays are seen in Table I.
For those plants of which a single collection
was made, a single value is given. This
value represents the average of three as-
sayed portions. For those plants having un-
usually high vitamin contents, additional
collections and assays were performed. Only
the high and low values obtained from the
various different collections are given.
The carotene values of ten edible wild
plants were determined. On a weight basis,
six had higher values for carotene than
spinach (16), which is reported to have the
highest vitamin A level of the widely mar-
keted garden vegetables (see Table II). For
the following plants-----dlliaria officinalis,
Capsella bursa-pastoris, Chenopodium albi-
dum, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, Gle-
choma hedaracea, Lactuca scariola, Plan-
tago major, Portulaca oleracea, and Viola
papilionacea--each could provide for at
least a daily dietary allowance (5,000 units)
of vitamin A (5) in a 100 g sample. One
collection of Viola papilionacea contained
Vitamin A, Ascorbic Acid
g mg/100 g
Celery 240 9
lettuce 330 6
Leaf lettuce 1,900 18
Green onions 2,000 32
Green peppers 240 128
Spinach 8,100 5 t
Oranges 200 50
Tomatoes 900 23
a daily dietary allowance in a 25 g quantity.
The ascorbic acid values of 16 edible
wild plants were determined. When com-
pared with oranges, on a weight basis, ten
of the wild plants had higher values of
vitamin C: Alliaria o~cinalis, Allium vin-
eale, Allium tricoccum, Barbarea vulgaris,
Capsella bursa-pastoris, Cercis canaden-
sis, Chenopodium albidum, Duchesnea
indica, Oxalis stricta, and Viola papiliona-
cea. Each would provide more than a daily
dietary amount of vitamin C in a 100 g
sample of the food for an average man or
for a woman during pregnancy and lacta-
tion (60 mg) (5). ~
The edible wild plants tested have rela-
tively high carotene or ascorbic acid values
or both and could be useful components of
the diet, particularly for rural families.
Most of the plants are found in abundance
in Ohio and Kentucky, and collection of a
mess for a family sufficient to provide a
daily dietary allowance of the vitamins
would be a relatively easy task. Many of the
plants may be collected in late winter or
early spring when commercial sources of
fresh foods may be scarce or expensive and
a supply of vitamins from purchased foods
may be relatively low. Preferably the plants
should be consumed prior to wilting or
aging so that the palatability and vitamin
content would be high.
4 One sample of Oxalis stricta had a value of 59
rag/100 g, which would be one milligram short of
the recommended daily dietary allowance.
1. Baird, E. A. and Lane, M. G. 1947. Ca-
nadian Journal of Research, "The seasonal
variation in the ascorbic acid content of
edible wild plants commonly found in New
2. Association of Vitamin Chemists. 1951.
Method o[ Vitamin Assay, Interscience Pub-
lishers, N.Y.
3. Angler, B. 1966. Free for The Eating. Stack-
pole Books, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
4. Fernald, M. L. and Kinsey, A. C. 1958.
Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North Amer-
ica, Harper and Bros., N.Y.
5. Food and Nutrition Board. 1969. Reoom-
mended Dietary Allowances, 7th Edition.,
Publication 1694, National Academy of
Sciences, Washington, D.C.
6. Gibbons, E. 1962. Stalking The Wild As-
paragus, David McKay Co., N.Y.
7. Gibbons, E. 1966. Stalking The HealthJul
Herbs, David McKay Co., N.Y.
8. Gibbons, E. 1972. Stalking Wild Foods on
A Desert lsle, National Geographic, July,
142: 46-63.
9. Gibbons, E. 1973. Stalking The West's Wild
Foods, National Geographic, August, 144:
10. Harrington, H. D. 1967. Edible Native
Plants of The Rocky Mountains. University
of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, N.M.
11. Hedrick, U. P. 1919. Sturtevant's Notes on
Edible Plants, New York Agricultural Ex-
periment Station Geneva, N.Y.
12. Lantz, E. M. and Smith, M. 1944. The
Carotene and Ascorbic Acid Values of Some
Wild Plants Used for Food in New Mexico,
New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion, Bulletin 989.
13. Morton, J. F. 1963. Principal Wild Food
Plants of The United States. Economic
Botany, 47: 319-330.
14. Nelson, A. 1951. Medical Botany, Living-
stone, Edinburgh, Scotland.
15. Stroker, R. and Henning. 1965. Vitamin
Assay, Verlag Chemie, Weinheim, Bergstr.
16. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1964. Agri-
culture Handbook #8, Composition of
Foods, Government Printing Office, Wash-
ington, D.C.
17. Weiner, M. A. 1972. Earth Medicine and
Earth Food, The Macmillian Company,
... Moreover, Korean used to eat the root of this plant and used it as medicine for the treatment of hypertension and edema [10]. The fresh roots and leaves are taken as raw or as a cooked vegetable, [11,12] . Diuretic, hypotensive, stimulant, antiscorbutic, astringent, vasodilator and vulnerary activities have been reported by the tea prepared from various parts or in various forms from C. bursa-pastoris while dried herb tea of this plant is used for controlling haemorrhages in stomach, lungs, uterus and mostly for kidneys. ...
... Also, the values for pH, Na, Mg, Ca, S, Zn, and Pb were evaluated [63]. Vitamin Minerals, linoleic acid, ascorbic acid, proteins and omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids isolated from C. bursa-pastoris showed nutritional composition and these are considered to be beneficial to human health [11,62]. In another study, 45 compounds were isolated and identified, accounting for 71.53% of total essential oil and the main components of the essential oil were identified as palmitic (28.32%), phytane (10.15%), oleic acid (8.63%) and octacosane (4.73%) [64]. ...
Introduction Capsella bursa-pastoris(L.) Medic is a traditional herb of the genus Capsella with long-standing Pakistan, India, Iraq, Cyprus, Turkey, Iran, Azarbayjan, Europe, Saudi Arabia, China and many other regions of Asian countries ethnomedical records. Preliminary studies from the animal model have provided valuable scientific evidence for its use, also the novel bioactive compounds. Aim This review aims to summarize the ethnopharmacology, selected scientific evidence on the pharmacological properties and phytochemistry of C. bursa-pastoris(L.) Medic over the past 38 years while identifying potential areas of further development of this herb as an economical adjunct. Methods The review covers literature pertaining to the evidence based on ethnopharmacology, therapeutic potential, and phytochemistry of C. bursa-pastoris(L.) Medic spanning from 1980 to 2018 available on Non-English journals and English/Non-English- MS worldwide accepted scientific databases via electronic search (Elsevier, Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus, Springer, Web of Science, Wiley online library) and Ph.D. thesis databases (e.g., CKNI-China, JAIRO-Japan, Shodhganga-India, Myto-Malaysia, etc.) Result Evidence suggests that the extracts and some compounds from. bursa-pastoris(L.) Medic possesses antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, smooth muscles contraction, infertility, antioxidant, cardiovascular, sedative, hepatoprotective, acetylcholinesterase inhibitor properties. C. bursa-pastoris besides having pharmacological profile have a acceptable nutritional value also due to its novel bioactive compounds such as phytosterols, phenolics, flavonoids, fatty acids, organic acids, peptides, amino acids. Conclusion Scientific evidence suggests that there is strong pharmacological potential in developing C. bursa-pastoris (L.) Medic as a drug to be used in the treatment of various disorders from antimicrobial to anticancer therapy. C. bursa-pastoris can be a rich source for the advancement of novel drugs to treat many human diseases due to wide range of chemical constituents present in the plant. Various ethno medical uses and phytochemicals responsible for these uses have not been evaluated yet to their fullest.
... Also the values for pH, Na, Mg, Ca, S, Zn, and Pb were evaluated (Tables 14.10 and 14.11) (Tuncturk et al. 2015). The nutritional composition of C. bursa-pastoris constitute minerals, vitamin A, ascorbic acid, proteins, linoleic acid, and omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids, and provide some beneficial effects to the human health (Guil-Guerrero et al. 1999;Zennie and Ogzewalla 1977). ...
... The whole plant was used for the treatment of swelling caused due to some disorder in kidneys, painful urination, boils and piles, heavy menstruation in women, presence of chyle in urine, and in treating hypertension also. Koreans eat the root of C. bursa pastoris and also use it as medication for treating hypertension and edema (Song et al. 2007); its roots and leaves are utilized as raw or cooked herbs, while its growing roots and leaves are consumed and in some countries it is eaten raw or cooked (Zennie and Ogzewalla 1977;Kweon et al. 1996). The tea prepared from C. bursa-pastoris was used for different activities depending upon the part or form of the plant used. ...
... Spinacia oleracea belonging to the family Chenopodiaceae consists of the vitamin B complex, carotenoids such as ascorbic acid, beta carotene, minerals, zeaxanthin, flavonoids, apocynin, para coumaric acid, and lutein [126][127][128][129]. It is used for the treatment of urinary calculi, bowel inflammation, and lung inflammation [130]. ...
Objective To reduce the chances of toxicity, reduction in radiation dose or reducing the frequency of the therapy is done which usually leads to a therapeutically poor outcome. The most feasible method is to protect the normal cells by administration of radioprotective agents either before or after the exposure. These agents have been tested on animals and human cellmodels for evaluating theirsafety window and toxicityprofile at the cellular level. The study aims to compile the effective natural radioprotective agents available which can be further exploited by using certain QSAR studies to increase their potency. Method Structured literature search from EMBASE, PubMed, Bentham Science, Scopus, and ScienceDirect was done and appropriate peer-reviewed review articles, as well as certain research articles, were included and compiled in this review paper. Conclusion As various studies have indicated the harmful effects of ionizing radiations on normal cells, to reduce these effects radioprotective agents are used before or after exposure to radiations. Compounds derived from natural sources are proved to have few side effects and they possess radioprotective property due to the presence of alkaloids, resins, volatile oils, tannins in their molecular structure. Various plants having such radioprotective constitutes have been identified for their radioprotective action and compiled in the present study. Conclusion As various studies have indicated the harmful effects of ionizing radiations on normal cells, to reduce these effects radioprotective agents are used before or after exposure to radiations. Compounds derived from natural sources are proved to have few side effects and they possess radioprotective property due to the presence of alkaloids, resins, volatile oils, tannins in their molecular structure. Various plants having such radioprotective constitutes have been identified for their radioprotective action and compiled in the present study.
... Calvey et al. identified the sulfur compounds in ramp bulbs harvested from West Virginia and found that the thiosulfinate allicin was the major sulfur component (3 µmol/g dry weight) [20]. Another study reported that ramp's leaves harvested from southern Ohio and northern Kentucky contain 0.8 mg/g dry weight vitamin C [21]. However, no studies have been published on the characterization and quantification of flavonol glycosides that may contribute to the reported health benefits of ramps. ...
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The ramp (Allium tricoccum) is a traditional plant in the eastern Appalachian Mountains. Ramps have been used in traditional medicine for their health-promoting roles in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Information on the chemical composition of the potentially bioactive components in ramps is limited. Therefore, the aim of this work was to characterize and quantify major flavonols in ramps. Flavonoids were extracted in 50% methanol and 3% acetic acid. Characterization was conducted using UHPLC-PDA-MS and MS/MS, and quantification was performed using UHPLC-PDA detection. The major flavonol glycosides were kaempferol sophoroside glucuronide, quercetin sophoroside glucuronide, kaempferol rutinoside glucuronide, quercetin hexoside glucuronide, quercetin sophoroside, and kaempferol sophoroside. All conjugates were detected in leaves. Quercetin and kaempferol sophoroside glucuronide conjugates were detected in the stem, but no flavonol glycosides were detected in the bulb. The total amounts of the identified quercetin and kaempferol conjugates in whole ramps were 0.5972 ± 0.235 and 0.3792 ± 0.130 mg/g dry weight, respectively. Flavonol conjugates were concentrated in the leaves. To our knowledge, this work is the first to identify and quantify the major flavonol glycosides in ramps. Our findings suggest that specifically the leaves may harbor the potentially bioactive flavonols components of the plant.
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Edible landscaping is the use of food-producing plants in the residential landscape by following the principle of landscaping. It combines fruit and nut trees, bushes, vegetables, herbs, edible flowers, along with ornamental plants into aesthetically pleasing designs. In an edible landscape, hidden among your usual ornamental flowers and shrubs are herbs, fruit, flowers, and vegetables that you can eat is used to create a great landscape. It all comes down to choosing the right edible additions for your space. In urban areas people usually think about growing plants by hiding it somewhere in the backyard. Edible landscaping offers an alternative to conventional residential landscapes; edible plants can be used to beautify the land while producing fruits and vegetables. These plants can be used both for aesthetic value as well as consumption. In this paper list of important plant along with their ornamental and nutritional value has been summarise in brief.
This chapter reviews the importance of Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) or mustard family and summarizes the role of some representative plant species of Brassicaceae in agriculture, economy and society. The family Brassicaceae is one of the largest dicot families with more than 360 genera and 4000 species. It is grown and highly diversified almost all over the world for its edible roots, leaves, stems, buds, flowers and oilseed. The wild germplasm of this family could be used to develop cytoplasmic male sterility for the production of hybrid seeds and some weedy member provides an experimental platform for the progression of modern biology. The morphology, biogeography and ecology of current crops of Brassicaceae are reviewed. Some physiological traits like tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and resistance to different diseases or pests by providing nuclear genes are also discussed with the oil content and fatty acid profile. The purpose of this review is to highlight the potential values of Brassicaceae plants under any circumstances and their uses in agriculture.
Novel and facile method was developed for synthesis of cost-effective, green and smart flame-retardant material. Rice husk silica nanoparticles of an average size of 150 nm were prepared and coated with organic green molokhia extract. The developed nanomaterial was used as effective flame-retardant, reinforcement and antibacterial material for styrene–butadiene rubber nanocomposite. The thermal stability of the developed nanocomposite was enhanced by 55 °C. The flame retardancy properties of the new nanocomposites was improved and achieved 31 and 33% reduction in peak heat release rate and average heat release rate, respectively, compared to blank sample. This is in conjunction with significant reduction in average effective heat of combustion (57%) with high fire safety rank. Additionally, significant suppression of emission of CO2 and CO gases by 60% was achieved. The tensile strength of the smart nanocomposite was improved by 80% compared to blank rubber. The smart rubber nanocomposites achieved excellent inhibition for bacterial growth recorded 11.5 mm as inhibition zone compared to blank sample. This study opens new avenues for production of green, renewable and cost-effective reinforcement, flame-retardant and antibacterial material for various types of polymer and rubber nanocomposites for a variety of medical and industrial applications.
The ascorbic acid content in the leaves of 10 wild plants that grow in New Brunswick was determined at approximately two-week intervals from June to September. 'Free' and 'total' dehydroascorbic acid were measured, using the method of Roe. The total ascorbic acid is highest in young green leaves. After the plants have flowered the ascorbic acid decreases. It becomes almost negligible when the leaves have wilted and turned brown. 'Free' dehydroascorbic acid was present in all 10 plants in small quantity. It fluctuated from time to time but remained fairly constant for all the plants during the period of investigation, and was independent of the 'total' value for that plant. The values for ascorbic acid have been measured for ripe strawberries, for fiddleheads, and for several common vegetables over the same summer months. They have been tabulated for comparison with the values of ascorbic acid of the 10 wild plants.
Earth Medicine and Earth Food, The Macmillian Company
  • M A Weiner
  • M. A. Weiner
Weiner, M. A. 1972. Earth Medicine and Earth Food, The Macmillian Company, N.Y.
Reoom-mended Dietary Allowances, 7th Edition., Publication 1694
  • Food
  • Nutrition
Food and Nutrition Board. 1969. Reoom-mended Dietary Allowances, 7th Edition., Publication 1694, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
Stalking The West’s Wild Foods
  • E Gibbons
  • E. Gibbons
Gibbons, E. 1973. Stalking The West's Wild Foods, National Geographic, August, 144: 186-199.
Agriculture Handbook #8,Composition of Foods, Government Printing Office
  • U S Department
  • Agriculture