By Herbert G. Baker (auth.)
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Extra info for Plants and Civilization
Squashes were important in the New World; many species of the genus Cucurbita (Cucurbitaceae) played an important role in the diet of New World Indians, and the genus is unknown wild outside the Americas. The commonly cultivated species of this genus are not found growing wild and are known only from their association with man-a tribute to their ancient domestication or derivation. C. On the other hand, Cucurbitaceae were relatively unimportant in the Old World, and, except for watermelons and cucumbers, there are few contributions from this family.
These quills may be pulverized later to produce the ground spice with which we are most familiar. Much of the cinnamon consumed in the United States today comes from a different species, Cinnamomum cassia, the so-called "cassia" of China, Indochina, and Indonesia. It has a stronger flavor than the true cinnamon. " In 1416, Prince Henry founded a school of navigation at Sagres, near Cape St. Vincent, in Portugal, and thereafter devoted himself to planning and equipping voyages of exploration until his death in 1460.
Sweet potato plant (Ipomoea batatas) bearing tubers derived from advenFigure 4-4. titious roots. From W. Piso and G. Marcgrave, Historiae Natura/is Brasiliae, 1648. The sweet potato is generally assumed to have originated in the American continent; recent studies point to Ipomoea trifida, a tuberless climbing plant from tropical Central America, as either its progenitor or as a descendant from a common ancestor. Nevertheless, it was early recognized in the islands of the South Pacific. When the Polynesian islands were visited by Europeans in the eighteenth century, sweet potatoes were found to be in general use by their inhabitants.