Origin and diversity of cultivated plants. Interesting facts about a cultivated plant

Cultural plants are so firmly entrenched in human life that few people think about where the story of their cultivation began. Using vegetables and fruits for food, a person does not ask himself how their wild relatives look and how diverse the variety of cultivated plants.

Historical facts

Almost all known today's cultural plants have their historical roots, which determine the centers of their appearance and gradual transformation.

The origin of cultivated plants is attributed to 50 000-60 000 years BC. E. Prior to this period, the collection of plants was a way to survive the tribe, which was the responsibility of women. Historical evidence that people began to take away large and healthy grains and fruits to grow them near their homes are the ancient utensils, pots with supplies in the burials and their drawings.

To date, it is known from the most popular 640 species of cultivated plants that about 400 of them came from South Asia, 50 from Africa, more than 100 from South and North America, and the rest from Europe.

Interesting facts about a cultivated plant, such as wheat, indicate that the cereals were the first species that people began to consciously grow near houses. Confirmation of this statement are the oldest mortars and pistils found in places of settlement of cavemen.

Centers of plant cultivation

In the 20th century, scientists were able to more fully determine where modern species of cultivated plants came from. NI Vavilov also divided the geography of plant cultivation into 7 zones:

  1. Thus, South Asia became the progenitor of 33% of domesticated species. Cultural plants (examples can be found in the works of Vavilov), such as rice, sugarcane, cucumber, eggplant and many others, came to us from there.
  2. East Asia gave us 20% of cultivated species, such as soybean, millet, cherry, buckwheat.
  3. South-West Asia is home to wheat, rye, legumes, turnips, which is 4% of the plant.
  4. The Mediterranean part contains 11% of known cultivated plants. This garlic, grapes, carrots, cabbage, pear, lentils and others.
  5. Ethiopia became the birthplace of 4% of species, including chickpeas, barley, coffee tree.
  6. Central America gave the world corn, pumpkin, tobacco, cocoa.
  7. South America owns potatoes, coca, oki, cinchona.

Wild relatives of all these plants can still be found. On this interesting facts about a cultivated plant do not end there.

Selection in ancient people

It is hardly possible to name cave people or later types of human development by breeders, but they had some skills in selecting and growing plants.

Archaeologists have come to the conclusion that agriculture and a sedentary lifestyle as a way of survival became applicable 10,000 years ago. It is this period that is considered the beginning of plant acculturation. In fact, cultural plants (examples of which archaeologists find on the sites of ancient sites) began to breed long before that.

As scientists suggest, collected wild grains, stone fruits and other types of plants grew near the camps of ancient people, when they spilled out grain or threw bones together with scraps. The women of the tribe were taken to pluck the weeds near such "plantations" that have survived to this day.

Gradually, people began to take away the roots, grains and bones of the most delicious and large fruits and purposefully plant them near their homes. Thus, agriculture was born, which gave impetus to a new level of development of mankind.

The variety of cultivated plants in our days

In our time, breeding has become a science that works not only on the yield of cultivated plants, but also on their taste and increased survival. Virtually all types of vegetables, fruits and cereals that modern humans eat are hybrid, that is, artificially excreted.

Interesting facts about a cultivated plant that has been subjected not simply to selection but to crossing with other species is that a completely new organism is obtained that has no analogs in nature.

The crosses, artificially deduced in laboratories, are a one-time seed material, but thanks to them the quantity of tasty, yielding high crop of cultivated plants has increased hundreds of times.

Today, the hybridity has touched both cereals and fruits, and well-known vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and many others.

Cultivated cucumbers

The cultivated cucumber plant is so familiar on our table, fresh and canned, that we do not ask ourselves "how did it come to us in general".

It turns out that the cucumber's way to our table was rather big, since its home is India and China. Another 6,000 years ago this vegetable was cultivated, although its ancient congeners still grow in the Indian forests like vines, twisting tree trunks, and also they are used for gardening fences and hedges.

On frescoes in Ancient Egypt, and then Ancient Greece, this vegetable was depicted on the tables of rich people and for a long time was available only to high-ranking people.

In Europe, the cucumbers brought the Greeks, and their spread became rapid due to their taste and the ability to salted for the future for the winter. Today this vegetable is available to everyone and everywhere. Every vegetable grower considers it his duty to grow a good harvest of cucumbers, for which both varietal and hybrid varieties are used.

Cultivation of indoor plants

People valued plants not only for their ability to eat, but also for their medicinal properties, as well as beauty. Interesting facts about the cultivated plant, which from the wild state became the standard of beauty and tenderness, concern the rose.

Rose has become a symbolic flower in many peoples in ancient times. Thus, according to Indian legends, Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty, was born in a rosebud. She devoted poems poems in various countries and at all times, and her homeland was tropical South-East Asia. It was from there that the cultivated plant of the rose migrated to Ancient Greece, where it was called the flower of Aphrodite. In ancient Rome, even put greenhouses for roses, so that they bloom year-round.

Today hundreds of varieties of this plant are known, bred by breeders for the florists of the whole world.

Modern roses are grown outdoors, in pots on window sills, in greenhouses and winter greenhouses. Of these, a tasty and healthy jam is prepared, and rose oil is considered one of the most expensive, since 500 kilograms of petals are used to produce one kilogram.

Cultural Fruits

Just like cereals and vegetables, fruits have become the object of cultivation in ancient people. Useful properties of berry and fruit plants, as well as their ability to save in dried or wet form have made them permanent objects of storerooms. The most famous of the fruits are apples, wild relatives of which are found in the Cretaceous period, and dates. Today, many fruit trees, which were considered foreign from 200-300 years ago, grow accustomed to gardens on private plots.

The future of cultivated plants

Breeders around the world are still working in their laboratories to create new plant crops that can take root in conditions unusual for them and produce unprecedented crops.

Thanks to their efforts, cultivated plants better tolerate changes in the climate, depletion of the Earth's soil layer and at the same time yield good yields.

Many cultural plants began to give two crops a year or per season, as they received a hybrid hardening. This gives hope that in future we will have fresh vegetables and fruits on our tables, whose homeland has long ceased to be individual countries, and the whole world has become.

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