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Pito (Erythrina berteroana) and Chipilin (Crotalaria longirostrata), (Fabaceae), Two Soporific Vegetables of Central America

Julia F. Morton
Economic Botany
Vol. 48, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1994), pp. 130-138
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4255598
Page Count: 9
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Pito (Erythrina berteroana) and Chipilin (Crotalaria longirostrata), (Fabaceae), Two Soporific Vegetables of Central America
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Abstract

With more and more Latin Americans emigrating to the United States, their favorite foods are being imported to meet the demand that has arisen here. Two popular vegetables, especially of Guatemala and El Salvador, owe part of their popularity to their sedative effect. If eaten in sufficient quantity, they induce a deep, relaxing sleep. Prominent in these two countries is the tree called pito (Erythrina berteroana) (Fabaceae), the flowers and tender young shoots of which are sold in large quantity, fresh or frozen. The tree is exceedingly common because it is planted widely, both as a living fence and windbreak. Chipilin (Crotalaria longirostrata) of the same family, is valued for its young leaves and shoots, cooked and eaten as "greens" and also combined with beans, chopped meat or scrambled eggs. Chemical analyses show that the foliage is rich in calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid. The seeds and roots of the plant are undeniably toxic. / Con la creciente emigracion de los Latino Americanos hacia los Estados Unidos, sus alimentos favoritos son importados para satisfacer la demanda que surgio aquí. Dos vegetales populares, especialmente en Guatemala y en El Salvador deben su popularidad en parte a su efecto somnifero. Cuando se consumen en cantidad apreciable inducen sueño profundo y relajante. Prominente en estos dos paises es el arbol llamado pito (Erythrina berteroana) (Fabaceae). Las flores y las tiernas brotes son vendidas en cantidades grandes en forma fresca o congelado. El arbol es mury comun por estar sembrado como cerca o rompe viento. El chipilin (Crotalaria longirostrata), de la misma familia, está apreciado por sus hojas y brotes, cocidos y consumidos como verduras o mezclados con frijoles, carne molida o huevos revueltos. Analisis quimico indica que el follaje es rico en calcio, hierro, tiamina, riboflavina, niacina, y ácido ascorbico. Las semillas y las raíces de la planta son indubitablemente tóxicos.

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