An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Yecai bolu 野菜博錄

Jun 15, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Yecai bolu 野菜博錄 "Vast records on wild vegetables" is a book on eatable wild plants written by the Ming-period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Bao Shan 鮑山, courtesy name Yuanze 元則. He hailed from Wuyuan 婺源, Jiangxi, and spent many years in the region of Mt. Huangshan 黃山, where he lived in a house at the banks of Lake Bailong 白龍潭. During that time he had the opportunity to taste a lot of wildly grown plants. He recorded all his observations about their taste and physical effects and assembled these in his 4-juan-long book, which was published in the 1620s.

It is divided into the parts herbal plants (Cao 草) and shrubs and trees (Mu 木). The book included the descriptions of 262 eatable plants, which is much more than in Wang Pan's 王磐 (c. 1470-1530) book Yecaipu 野菜譜. It also refers to some plants described in Zhu Su's 朱橚 (1361-1425) book Jiuhuang bencao 救荒本草. All these texts had been written in order to bring relief to the common people during periods of famine, when normal field crops were not available or too expensive.

The Yecai bolu is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1648.