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  1. mindperformer

    Oldest crops of mankind

    Timeline of food plants (not only cultivated crops): Tubers like Vigna frutescens, V. macrorhyncha and Vatovaea pseudolablab were dug out from the ground 2-5 million years ago and are still used by the Hadza: http://books.google....%20food&f=false Roots and fruits of Acacia-, Grewia-, Justicia-, Cordia-, Salvadora-, Ficus-, Trichilia- and Sclerocarya (Marula)- species were certainly hominid-food, which was found by remodelling the vegetation by archeological findings from the lowermost bed 2, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania (1,8 million years): http://www.researchg..._modern_analogs, http://www.naturalhu..._human_diet.htm Almonds, Pistachios and Water Chestnuts were included in the diets 780.000 years ago in Northern Israel: http://www.sciencene...ating_wild_nuts Great millet (Sorghum bicolor), used since 100.000 years in Eastern Africa, It should be Sorghum bicolor subsp. arundinaceum, but the taxonomy is very complicated. It is used since 100.000 years according to the finding in the cave in Mozambique.: http://www.nature.co....2009.1147.html, http://www.scienceda...91217141312.htm Morama beans (Tylosema syn. Bauhinia esculentum) from Africa are one of the oldest food, they are roasted on the fire in the Kalahari and sometimes grindes to flour African spider flower or Bastard mustard (Cleome gynandra syn. Gynandropsis gynandra) stems from the rift valley in Eastern Africa and parts of Southern Africa and is also thought to be a hominid-vegetable. Nowadays it is eaten as leaf-vegetable throughout Africa. Baobab fruits were used, highly probable by the early hominids, is distributed throughout Africa and is still in use by one of the oldest tribes- the Hadza in Tanzania and also by the KhoiKhoi in Botswana. Baobab trees are the oldest known trees within the flowering plants, up to 3.000 years, so this trees witnessed human history. Common reed (Phragmites australis)- and Reed Grass (Phragmites mauritianus)- seeds and tubers are thought to be a food of the hominids, as is Bauhinia petersiana, Guibourtia coleosperma and Schotia afra Peas (Pisum sativum) Carbonised wild pea seeds were found at the archeological Kebara site in Israel (from 60.000 years before past): http://books.google....%20peas&f=false ...but they came from South-Central Asia and are cultivated for 10.000 years Yam (Dioscorea) domestic use began 52.000 years ago, cultivation started 5.000 years ago (Dioscorea cayenensis and D. rotundata) in Africa and other species still earlier in Indonesia Taro was introduced into the Solomons for human use from 25.000 years ago, also there are evidences for cultivation since 9.000 years in Papua New Guinea http://www.bbc.co.uk...RSrqVQYQ5ECaZwA, and it started 12.000 years ago in Indonesia Wild barley (Hordeum vulgare subsp. spontaneum) and Emmer (amelcorn, Triticum dicoccum, stems from wild emmer in southeastern Turkey: Triticum dicoccoides, and is the ancestor of durum wheat: Triticum durum) was used since at least 23.000 years. Findings of Wild Barley and Emmer from the paleolithic site Ohalo II in Israel were dated up to 23.500 years old. Barley was fermented in Mesopotamian Godin Tepe to what is thought to be the first beer, 5.500 years ago. Tall Wild Pea (Pisum elatius)-, Perfoliate Pondweed (Potamogeton perfoliatus)- and Wigeon grass (Ruppia maritima)- seeds (with starches) were also found in the Ohalo II site (up to 23.500 years old). Brome grains (Bromus pseudobrachystachys), Millet Grass grains (Piptatherum holciforme) and Rubus sp. fruits were found in the archeological site of Ohalo II near the Sea of Galiee in Israel, which was dated to around 19.400 years ago. Rice (possible ancestor: Oryza rufipogon) is cultivated since 15.000 years: http://news.bbc.co.u...ure/3207552.stm Lentils were one of the first domesticated crops, in the Near East, 9.500-13.000 years ago Potatoes (wild forms like Solanum bukasovii from the S. brevicaule- complex) were harvested in the Peruvian andes since 13.000 years, evidence of domestication has been found at a 12.500 y. old site in Chile (Solanum tuberosum subsp. tuberosum 'Chiloé'); other wild ancestors: Solanum canasense and Solanum maglia Figs and Wild Oats were cultivated 11.400 years ago in Gilgal, Israel Einkorn (Triticum monococcum, stems from Wild Wheat: Triticum boeoticum, and is the ancestor of wheat: Triticum aestivum and spelt: Triticum spelta) was cultivated 11.300 years ago in the Jordan valley, but Wild Wheat was surely used much earlier. Rye (Secale cereale) was cultivated in Abu Hureyra (Syria), as early as 11.000 years before past: http://archaeology.a...Abu-Hureyra.htm Bottle gourds originated in Africa and was dispersed throughout Asia 11.000 years ago Chilies are used in the Americas since 10.500 years (the wild relatives like Tepin) Cassava (or Manioc, Manihot esculenta)- domestication began 10.000 years ago in the Amazon. Wild populations of M. esculenta subsp. flabellifolia were the progenitor. Banana cultivation in Papua New Guinea goes back up to 10.000 years ago Corn (its wild ancestor Teosinte) was harvested since 10.000 years Squash cultivation began 10.000 y. ago in Oaxaca, Mexico Cannabis indica- and C. sativa biotypes: Newest research proves that they are different separate species before cultivation and selection of biotypes began, and not arisen from each other. Before human interaction wild forms of Cannabis sativa spread highly likeable from Central Asia, and wild forms of Cannabis indica spread from the Himalaya (India and Nepal). Then humans selected various biotypes like the wide-leaflet C. indica strains from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The use is possibly 10.000 years old (hemp fiber patterns found on pottery and tools for retting the stems from a site in Taiwan, ten millenia old, highly likely Cannabis indica). The use might have its origin in Central Asia (C. sativa), in India no remains have been recovered which are older than 5.000 years. In China (C. indica) hemp cultivation (mainly for food purposes) goes back 5.000-6.000 years. A new finding of burnt cannabis seeds from Romania (C, sativa), at a site from the Kurgan people, was dated back to 5.000 years, so it early emerged in Europe. The evidences from the Yanghai tombs, Turpan, China (C. sativa) are only 2.700 years old. Earlier use (up to 7.500 years) was also found in Europe for fiber production. http://www.hempfood....a/iha02111.html, http://www.druglibra...a/jiha5208.html, http://www.botgard.u...abis/index.html, https://www.forum.haszysz.com/chemotaxonomic-analysis-cannabinoid-variation-cannabis-cannabaceae-t22436.html?amp;p=336009 Wild Grape (Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris), which was once distributed from Spain to Central Asia, was used for wine making as early as 9.000 years ago in Cayönü, Turkey Quinoa (some of the wilder forms) is cultivated in South America since 9000 years Bitter Vetch seeds (Vicia ervilia) were cultivated for diet in Anatolia 8.000-9.000 years ago Broad- or faba beans (Vica fabe) were used since 8.800 years in Israel Apple- archeological findings of possibly cultivated apples from Anatolia were dated to about 8.500 years old. The cultivated apples (Malus x domestica and Malus x asiatica) are a cross between the wild species Malus sieversii, Malus sylvestris and Malus prunifolia, which were surely used much earlier. Buckwheat has the wild ancestor Fagopyrum esculentum ssp. ancestrale which has a common distribution in Yunnan (like Tea), where is was also first domesticated around 8.000 years ago, it was first documented in Europe by at least the Middle Neolithic (ca. 6.000 years ago). Sugarcane (Saccharum edule and S. officinarum) originated in Papua New Guinea, where it was cultivated 8.000 years ago Amaranth is cultivated in South America since 8000 years Chickpeas were cultivated in Anatolia 8.000 years ago and were also found (the wild ancestor Cicer reticulatum) in mesolithic cave layers in Southern France (dated 6.790 years old) Coca is not only a stimulant but also one of the most nutritious food in the andes. From the Peruvian Coca (Erythroxylum coca var. coca) wild populations exist in the Eastern Andes, but the other three variations (Colombian Coca- Erythroxylum novogranatense var. novogranatense, Trujillo Coca- E. n. var. truxillense and Ipadú Coca- E. c. var. ipadú) are only known as cultivated plants. It is matter of discussion if some Ipadú populations in the Amazon are wild or escaped. It seems that it has some genes from crossing with a wild Amazonian Erythroxylum. The earliest use is approximately 8.000 years ago, other sources indicate 4.000-5.000 years. Common beans have their ancestor (Phaseolus aborigineus) in Peru and are cultivated since 8.000 years Common- or Proso Millet (Panicum miliaceum) is cultivated in the Caucasus since 7000 years and came from Central Asia and distribute since 5000 years, also escaped in Europe Olives were first cultivated in Palestine around 6.000 years ago Teff (Ethiopian millet, Eragrostis tef) originated in Ethiopia, 6.000 years ago from E. pilosa, the wild ancestor Egusi- melons (Citrullus colocynthis, C. lanatus, Lagenaria siceraria and Cucumeropsis edulis) are cultivated at least since 5.800 years, wild forms were used earlier Sesame came from India and is the oldest oilseed-crop, used since 5.500 years Soy beans (the wild brown and black ancestors) were collected 5.500 years ago in China and cultivated 3.000 years ago Onions have its ancestor in Iran, are cultivated since 5000 years and are mentioned (together with cucumbers) on a 4000 years old cuneiform African Oil Palms (Elaeis guineensis) were used in West Africa 5.000 years ago African millet or Ragi (Eleusine coracana) came from East Africa (origin of mankind) and is cultivated since 5000 years Sweet Potato is cultivated in Central America since 4.500 years Sumpweed (Iva annua var. macrocarpa) seeds were used by the North American Natives 4.000 years ago Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) have been under cultivation more than 4000 years starting perhaps in Central Mexico from Wild Sunflower and moving throughout Northern America From other Helianthus- species like Paleleaf Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus strumosus) and Jerusalem artichoke or Topinambour (Helianthus tuberosus) were first cultivated by the Native Americans long before the arrival of the Europeans Quamash (Camasia quamash) bulbs were collected (from the wild) and consumed for at least 3000 years from Northern American native tribes in Kanada and the Northern US-states: http://pages.usherbr...olEcol_2009.pdf Bulrush millet (Pennisetum glaucum) came from tropical Africa and is cultivated since 3000 years White fonio millet is also one of the oldest african crops African rice (Oryza glaberrima) is cultivated in Western Africa since 3000 years, until now Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is an important staple crop in the Pacific for more than 3000 years. Its ancestor is possibly Artocarpus camansi, the Breadnut from Papua Newguinea. Pear (Pyrus communis and marginally also P. nivalis, P. cordata)- has been cultivated in China for about 3.000 years (the genus Pyrus has its origin in the Tian Shan mountains). The cultivated Pyrus communis subsp. communis stems from the two wild subspecies P.communis subsp. pyraster and P. communis subsp. caucasica. Quince (Cydonia oblonga)- archeological findings from Hasanlu in eastern Kurdistan were 2.800 years old, but the wild forms were surely used much earlier. It had its origin in Central Asia (Turkey, the Kaukasus and Turkmenistan) but reached the Mediterranean region only in classical times (it was used 2.000 years ago by the Romans). Tomatoes are cultivated in Mexico since 2.500 years Medlar (Mespilus germanica) is native to Southwestern Asia and Southeastern Europe and was grown by the ancient greeks 2.200 years ago. Sweet Chestnut has its origin in the Caucasian-Armenian area and is cultivated for over 2.000 years Ohelo'ai (Vaccinium reticulatum) -berries as food might be one of the latest discoveries. This polynesian red blueberry- relative is an endemic of Hawaii, were it is sacred to the polynesians: http://www.instantha...jold2KTvE6anm0. The first settlers got to Hawaii around 1.500 years ago. Cabbage tree (Cordyline australis) and New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) were some of the latest food plant discoveries (new species not only a new cross or new selection). They are endemic to New Zealand and a traditional Maori-food. The first settlers arrived at the coast of New Zealand only 700 years ago. Europe: The Neandertal plant menu consisted of Typha latifolia (Bulrush)- tubers, Polygonum bistorta (Bistort), Arctium lappa (Burdock)- roots and other plants: http://bertrand.mafa...07%20Jeusel.pdf and the seeds of Typha- (angustifolia and latifolia), Brachypodium- and Sparganium- species were grinded to flour, 30.000 years ago: http://blogs.discove...s/#.UN0Dx2_aXBo Opium poppy (Papaver somniferum)- use is thought to have its origin (wild forms of P. somniferum and P. setigerum) in the Western Mediterranean area and was used since the Paleolithic (ended 11.600 years ago) . Evidences for its cultivation from the La Hoguette culture in Southern France are 7.500-7.700 years old, which is the end of the Mesolithic. Excavations at Egolzwil, an archeological site in Switzerland have revealed signs of poppy cultivation dating back more then 6.000 years. Sites on the Meseta Norte Plateau in central Spain gave evidence for early agriculture (wheats and Papaver somniferum) 8.000 years ago. Poppies have been cultivated for 7.000 years in Mesopotamia and were found in Egyptian tombs. In Greek mythology it was associated with the goddess Demeter, with the origin in Minoan Crete (began 4.700 years ago). Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana) were used for for food 11.600 years ago and is widespread in Europe Walnuts came from the Mediterranean area and are used since 9000 years Brassicaceae: (selection split of the varieties began between 8.000 and 10.000 years ago) Brassica rapa syn. B. campestris: Wild Turnip Rape is THE wild ancestor of many crops from this genus and has a far distribution, even here in Vienna. It is believed to be first cultivated from around 4000 years ago. Cultivation and further breeding has happened on three different fronts: in India, China and in Europe Brassica rapa subsp. oleifera: Spring turnip rape is also used for oil production, like the more frequently cultivated Rape (Brassica napus var. napus) Brassica rapa subsp. rapa: White- / May Turnip is a subspecies of Wild Turnip Rape and forms of wild turnip were first cultivated 3.500 years ago in India. Brassica napus subsp. rapifera syn. B. napobrassica syn. B. x napus: Turnips (rutabaga, canadian- / swedish turnip, Dotsche, Steckrübe) came from Scandinavia or Russia and are one of the few Northern European species. They are thought to be a subspecies of Rape and aroses from a cross betwen turnips (stemming from wild turnip rape, Brassica rapa syn. B. campestris) and cabbage (Brassica oleracea). Historical records indicate that it was first grown in Finland in the 17th century. Brassica napus var. napus: Rape for oil production Brassica oleracea: Cabbage came from coastal areas in Western Europe, Wild Cabbage is still found on Helgoland Island, German Sea. The selection and cultivation began 4.000 years ago, but the wild species was used for food much earlier. Brassica oleracea 'Gongylodes group': Turnip Cabbage is a cross between Wild Cabbage and Wild Turnip Rape and occured lately in Europe More subspecies emerged from a complex relationship between Brassica- species: http://en.wikipedia....i/Triangle_of_U Raphanus sativus: Radish also has its origin in the Mediterranean area and stems from the wild Raphanus raphanistrum Cleavers (Galium aparine) and Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) are a common European plants and there are evidences for the use as vegetable at Dutch wetland sites, 5.400-7.500 years ago. Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera) cultivation goes back to 7000 years and stem from the Crete Date Palm (Phoenix theophrasti) which still grows wild on the island of Crete: http://afrsweb.usda....s/2011/1579.pdf White Goosefoot (Chenopodium album) is one of the most widespread species of the world and now can be found on every continent except Antarctica, from the tropics to the Arctic. It was apparently used by the Ertebolle culture (6.000-7.000 years ago) in Denmark, Southern Sweden and Northern Germany Annual Seablite / Orache (Suaeda maritima) occurs on European coasts and there are evidences for the use of its seeds as food, 6.100 years ago in Dutch wetland sites. Pine Nuts in Europe from the Stone Pine (Pinus pinea) were harvested since the stone age. It has been cultivated for its nuts for over 6.000 years Asparagus is known in China for over 5000 years, but is thought to have its origin in Europe (also known in old Egypt) Red Beet (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris), Chard (B.v. 'Cicla') and Sugar Beet (B.v. 'altissima') stem from wild Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima, which still grows on Helgoland (like wild cabbage). It was first cultivated in Northern Europe between 5.000 - 10.500 years ago (Neolithic site in Aartswoud, Netherlands) and in the Mediterranean 4.000 years ago. Cucumbers came from India, but since 2200 years in the Mediterranean area Carrots are cultivated since 2000 years and are a cross (in Asia Minor) between 3 clans: The white from the Mediterranean, the yellow from Afghanistan and the purple from Iran Hazelnuts came from South-Western Europe after the last ice age Parsnips have its origin in the Mediterranean area Common Salsify (Tragopogon porrifolius)- roots were used for food before Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica) became popular, and has wild ancestor from the Mediterranean area (Tragopogon porrifolius subsp. australis) and is known since the antiquity but cultivated since the 16th century. Other wild salsifies were also used as food like Western Salsify (Tragopogon dubius) and Meadow Salsify (Tragopogon pratensis) Black Salsify (Scorzonera hispanica)- roots are still used as food and were introduced from Spain to the rest of Europe in the 17th century, but it were also mentioned as product on a Syrian market from 1575. So it is one the latest cultivated food plant species. There are many wild growing European Scorzonera- species from which the roots can be eaten like Scorzonera austriaca (contains Kava- compounds), S. laciniata, S. cana and S. humilis