Tapioca. This is anotherform of starch. It is brought to us here from South America, and is the produce of a plant known to botanists by the name of Janipha manihot. It is a poisonous plant, and the Indians in the countries where it grows extract a poison from it, which they use to poison their arrows before they obtain the starch. The mode of preparing the tapioca is as follows - The roots of the plant, after it is dug up, are bruised and placed in a bag, to allow the juice to drain out, which is collected in a vessel, into which the Indian plunges his arrow, so as to poison its point. After the root is drained it is taken out of the bag, and submitted to a process such as wo have above described for preparing arrow-root. Cassava, which is eaten by the natives, is procured from the same plant, but is prepared in a different way from tapioca. The starch of tapioca docs not differ in chemical composition from that of sago and arrow-root, and it is used in the same way, and for the same purposes.
There are many other well-known plants which owe their dietical properties to the starch they contain; amongst these we may mention the potato, the carrot, the turnip, the parsnip, the cabbage, the Jerusalem artichoke. From any of these starch might be prepared. There is a plant in our hedges, known to children in the spring of the year by the name of "lords and ladies," and commonly called "cuckoo-pint." This plant, the Arum maculatum of botanists, contains an acrid juice; but, nevertheless, its roots are full of starch. When cooked, the acridity of the plant is got rid of, and they are eaten with impunity. These roots are employed in making the substance called Portland sago; which is the starch separated from the rest of the matter of the plant This sago is used for the same purposes as the other kinds of sago.
Arum maculatum - Cuckoo-pint.