Book XI, Chapter I
On the herbs and plants that have been brought from Spain to this island of Hispaniola and to other parts of these Indies, those that seed here and those that do not.
Translated by Frederick Anderson ’19
Melon seeds have been brought from Castile. As a result, plenty of good melons are available throughout the year, and they are most abundant during their time and season; but few or many, they never fail to produce good seeds and there is no need to bring more from Castile.
Cucumber seeds have been brought from Spain and grow very well, and the seed they make is very good and there is much of it. They are so plentiful here that there is no need to bring more seeds from Castile.
Spearmint [mentha spicata], which in certain parts is called holy herb and in others simply mint, grows very well all year. There is no necessity to bring it from Castile because it takes root easily and where it does so it spreads easily and grows.
Eggplant: It is not necessary to bring more eggplant seeds because here they find themselves at home and the earth is suited to their purpose as the land of Guinea is suited to blacks, and here they grow much better than in Spain. One stalk lasts two or three or more years, always producing more eggplants, so that when some are still small others are fully grown and others flowering. I have seen some stalks of eggplant much taller than a man. In conclusion, they are cultivated here more successfully than in certain parts of Spain.
Beans: Common beans grow quite well here and are a very good legume. They grow in grand abundance. In Aragón they are called judías and in my land arvejas luengas or long peas. Of these as well there is no need to bring more seeds because on these islands and on the Mainland they fill up many bushel baskets each year. In the province of Nicaragua they are natural to the land and there is a very large quantity of bushels of them produced each year as well as of other beans and legumes of different kinds and colors, like fava beans and larger ones.
Celery: Celery was brought from Spain. It is present in many parts and houses of this city and in the plantations. There is no need to bring more from Spain because this herb grows well, and once it goes to seed near a water source, there’s no lack of celery.
Aloe: The aloe plant, with its thick green teasels that produce aloe, was brought from Castile as well. They yield very well here and can be found in most houses and plantations in great quantity. One could have as many as desired in these parts, as they yield like a farming crop.
Cilantro: Cilantro was brought from Castile. It seeds and grows very well here, and there is no need to bring the seed if one wishes to plant it.
I will tell what I understand about the plants brought from Castile that produce seed here, but whose seed is not of high quality.
Cucumbers have been grown on this island from seeds brought from Castile. However, the seeds that sprout here are not good, and there is a need to replenish them.
There are many good lettuces nearly all year-round from seeds brought from Spain. However, the seeds that sprout here are neither good nor produce good plants.
Lettuce is plentiful in this city and on this island, but it presents the same difficulty, as its leaves are scant and the seeds require replenishment. Its taste, however, is good.
Good radishes can be found almost all the time, sometimes better than others, but the seeds they make are not good and it is necessary to replenish them from Castile.
Watercress: There is watercress in this city and island, with the same difficulty that it is necessary to replenish them; and they have fewer leaves although they are good.
Parsley grows very well but does not seed, and it requires seeds to be brought from Spain.
Onions: Onions grow from seeds brought from Castile but do not grow like those from Castile or as large, and those that do grow here can better be called scallions or sweet onions. It is necessary to bring the seed from Castile because they do not go to seed here.
There is wild cabbage or collard greens of the sort that don’t form a head, like the kind found in Naples (but they are not those exactly). There are also leafy greens which are referred to as Murcian cabbage or kale. They take root very well here, but it is necessary to bring seeds from Castile in order to continue planting it.
Turnips: Turnips here are either good or bad, depending on how well the seed from Castile takes. They do not have the flavor they have in Spain because these plants yearn for cold soil. Nevertheless, if the seed happens to be very good, sometimes they manage to be as good as those from Somosierra.
Carrots grow here but not as in Castile, nor do they go to seed, and they are waterlogged and wretched.
Beets: Beets are a sort of wild root similar to radishes. I ate them in Rome and Naples and other parts of Italy, and I have also eaten very good ones here. They do not produce seed here, and for that reason it has been long since I have seen them on this island.
Thistles also grow in this city, but they are not good ones, nor do they ripen well, and are very bitter. However, when there are some they do not lack eaters, nor do certain people cease to heap praise on them no matter how expensive they are. In truth, they are not of the best quality and little deserve this appreciation.
Chard: The seed for chard is also brought from Castile and it grows very well in this city. But in order for it to grow this way forever it is necessary that the seed be replenished, because chard does not seed here.
 Brassica oleracea. [EE]
 Brassica oleracea var. Sabellica [EE]
 Cynara Cardunculus. [EE]