Sue from Garden Shop at Broadacres again held us fascinated as she revealed how plants fight for survival. Unlike humans, who can nomadically wander in search of food and water, plants can’t. One example is the massive trees in Yellowstone Park in the USA, these trees are 2 – 3000 years old and have survived many environmental changes over those years.

Plants communicate and adapt: Based on Michael Pollen’s book Botany Of Desire:

Apples

Did not start out in this world sweet! Originating in the eastern Mediterranean area, they were imported by immigrants to the USA and were used to make a bitter cider. One Johnny Appleseed distributed various apple seeds to villages all over the Mississippi. In so doing he mixed up good biodiversity. Apples adapted to the US environment. There would be the occasional apple sweeter than the others. Farmers cross bred and hybridised. The rest is history, sweeter and sweeter apples as humans intervened!

Tulips

Originally from the exotic Turkish flower gardens. Prized by the Sultan of Turkey, Tulips believe it or not effected the world economy! The Dutch in the late 1600s traded in tulip bulbs. There evolved a famous white tulip with red stripes. This became massively sought after and its value shot up above the value of gold. Investors traded and speculated on the next year’s bulb harvest. Suddenly the tulip bulbs started dying. It was discovered that the red stripe was actually a virus. The Dutch, being the biggest traders in the late 1600 – early 1700s saw their economy collapse as a result of this virus.

Cannabis

Originated from North Africa or India and was then low in THC the intoxicating element in Cannabis. Humans have a desire for intoxication and have helped this plant to cultivate higher amounts of THC and the plant will grow virtually anywhere.

Potatoes

Originated in Peru. The Incas cultivated many different types of potato to suite different altitudes and climates in South America. The potato arrived in Ireland and became rapidly the staple food in this poor country. But only one variety existed and became prone to blight in the damp climate. 150 000 people died of famine. Then other varieties were introduced and hybridised with the help of massive chemical companies and became blight resistant. Again, the intervention of humans assisted this plant’s successful development.

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