Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages to and from the Americas, part 2

Back to part 1 of “Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages to and from the Americas”


Detailed Documentation

In this section, we give references and abstracts or paraphrases of relevant contents in sources that we have used in constructing the argument in the preceding text. A full bibliography appears after this appendix.

It is obvious that the presentation above required weighing the value of the data on the various species as evidence for transoceanic voyaging. We tried to utilize a somewhat objective framework for our evaluation by reverting to the procedure familiar to us as professors who have to grade student papers. That is, we laid out a scheme of factors we thought significant in arriving at the worth of information on each species. We then agreed on a score reflecting how convincing each element of information is. Definitive archaeological work demonstrating the appearance of the species in the hemisphere where it did not originate was assigned a high score. Other scores were given if a pre-Columbian historical document mentioned the (imported) species; if a lexical source assured us that the species name was known anciently; if pre-Columbian art clearly represented the species in the hemisphere where it did not originate; etc. We then added together those factorial scores to yield an overall rating. Those species which earned grades of A, A minus, B plus, or B, we considered to have been supported by ‘decisive’ evidence; we have listed them in Table 1. Tables 2 and 3 list species deemed to rate less than ‘decisively evidenced.’ We followed a similar procedure in giving evidential values as shown in Tables 4 through 7.

For each species, we also give a short summary of the logic followed in the grading process. For those wishing to evaluate the evidence for themselves, we abstract the data at hand in each source. We are prepared to be shown how we may be in error of either fact or judgment. However, we do not think our conclusions will need revision as a result of such differing judgments.


Acorus calamus

Origin: South Asia

Summary: This plant had a long history of cultivation and use in Asia. Several Sanskrit names were used for it, and it was mentioned in Hindu texts dated no later than the 5th century AD. C. Sauer (1969, 56) reported the tuber used among (North) American Indians at the time of European discovery, and Pullaiah (2002) says, for whatever it means, that the plant is a native of both Asia and Western North America. However, unequivocal information on its American occurrence is too limited to arrive at any secure conclusion about significance, although the data are provocative as far as we understand them.

Transfer: Asia to the Americas (or vice versa?)

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Sources: Acorus calamus—sweet flag

Torkelson 1999, 1630. Sanskrit: bhadra. Chinese: shui chang

Nadkarni 1914, 16—17. Eng.: sweet flag, indigenous to India and Burma

Pullaiah 2002, I, 27. Sanskrit: vacha, ugragandha, bhutanashini; “Native of South Asia, and Cent. and west North America”

Banerji 1980, 84. Occurs in Sanskrit as vaca, in the 4th century AD

Aiyer 1956, 67. Sweet flag is mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, between 900 BC and the 4th century AD.

Sauer 1969, 56. One of several plants associated with man in the Americas, which also grew in Asia.

Adenostemma viscosum

Origin: Americas

Summary: The plant was found in Hawaii by Hillebrand, who considered it to have grown there before Europeans arrived, because it was growing throughout the low-elevation woods on all the islands of the archipelago within 75 years after Capt. Cook’s arrival. A legitimate native name and established native medicinal usage confirm the age. Furthermore, Chopra et al. describe its distribution as “throughout India” with no hint that it could have been a modern introduction and still account for that distribution.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-European discovery

Grade: A minus

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: pre-European, sufficient centuries ago to explain distribution “throughout India.”

Grade: C

Sources: Adenostemma viscosum

Hillebrand 1888, 192. A. viscosum, Forst. “A genus of few American species, of which the following is spread over many warm countries.” Under the species entry he also notes: “Common in the lower woods of all [Hawaiian] islands. Nat. name: ‘Kamanamana.’ An infusion of the leaves is used as a remedy in fevers by the natives. The species is widely spread over the Americas, Polynesia, N. Australia, Asia, and Africa.” Not marked to indicate a post-Capt. Cook import.

Chopra et al. 1956, 6—7. A. lavenia (syn. A. viscosum). “Throughout India.”

Agave sp.

Origin: Americas

Summary: Since the plant is usually vegetatively reproduced, transoceanic movement must have been human-aided. Finding agave (species not identified) fiber in the ancient wreck of a Greek ship is conclusive evidence for America-to-Mediterranean transport of the genus. But we do not know which species this is, and it could have been any of seven or eight. This entry covers the indeterminate case meant to show that a minimum of one species was transferred.

Transfer: unidentified species from the Americas to the eastern Mediterranean

Time of transfer: before 300 BC

Grade: A

The widespread distribution of agave plants in India by 1800 is additional evidence for a pre-Columbian transfer. To simplify matters, we assume for the moment that the agave used in the Greek ship was probably one also growing in India, but we still do not know what species that is. (If the agave fibers from the Kyrenia ship can be located for further examination by botanists, we might be able to learn the exact species it represents.)

Sources: Agave sp.

Desmond 1992, 201. Re. agave, Lord Valentia in 1809 observed that “it is in such profusion [in India] that it is hardly possible to suppose it could have been introduced from America” [by Europeans in recent centuries].

Steffy (1985) reported in a premier archaeological journal the discovery of ‘agave’ fibers mixed with pine resin serving as watertight caulking on the 4th-century BC Greek ship that had sunk at Kyrenia, Cyprus. The hull was covered on the outside with large sheets of lead that were held in place by a compound of pine resin and agave fibers.

Steffy (2001) E-mail message. Date: Wed., 18 April 2001, 16:40:06—0500. From: “J. R. Steffy”[if !supportNestedAnchors][endif]. Subject: Agave. To: John Sorenson “You wouldn’t believe how many people have protested that statement, but I was only repeating the identifications made by professionals in respectable laboratories. I am long retired and have given most of my records from the1970s [when the Kyrenia ship was excavated] to the university [Texas A&M]. I will have to contact Michael Katzev to find out the names of the biologists who identified the agave, but I remember the first samples were identified by Kew Gardens in England. A second set was done later in the U. S. with the same results, but I can’t remember which lab did it. At a conference a couple of years ago, I heard there were similar ancient analyses, but they couldn’t tell me where they were published. I have also heard that one form of agave was native to the eastern Mediterranean. I am a ship construction specialist, not a biologist, so I can only repeat the information given to me in such cases. All I can confirm is that this stringy substance, when mixed with pine resin, makes a marvelous watertight underlayment; that was the only point I was trying to make.”

J. Sauer 1993, 177. Two kinds of agave, henequen and sisal, have become important commercial fiber crops. They have been named as species, A. fourcroydes and A. sisalana, respectively, although they are really clones. Both were developed as cultivars in prehistoric Yucatan.

Addendum: Carter 2002, 254.

Beyond the evidence for simply some species having been transferred, the sources tell us about particular species. We list these separately.

Agave americana

(May be in addition to or the same as the “unidentified” species above.)

Origin: Americas

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: while Sanskrit was still lexically active (before AD 1000)

Grade: A minus

Sources: Agave americana

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 51—2. Common all over India, useful as a hedge plant and for fiber. 52. Sanskrit: kala kantala. I, 84. Two species of agave, the A. americana and A. vivipera, have become so naturalized in many countries and in India as to seem indigenous.

Reference to the Flora of China: this species is listed as “native” to China (presumably because of distribution MOBOT 2003. Distribution of A. americana, N., M., S. America and Carib. According to the MOBOT and traditions indicating a long history in country).

Torkelson 1999, 1634. A. americana, Sanskrit: kantala

Watson 1868, 250. A. americana, Sanskrit: kantala

Nadkarni 1914, 23. A. americana, Sanskrit: kantala; Eng.: “American aloe” (The vernacular English term used in India for A. americana, although in strict taxonomic terms, it is not an ‘aloe.’) Naturalized in many parts of India.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 34—5. A. americanum, Sanskrit: kalakantala. Century plant, aloe plant. It is propagated by suckers [which rules out any transfer across the ocean by natural means].

Agave angustifolia (syn. vivipara)

(May be in addition to or the same as the “unidentified” Agave sp. above.)

Origin: Americas

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: while Sanskrit was lexically active (before AD 1000

Grade: A minus

Sources: Agave angustifolia

Chopra et al. 1956, 9. A. vivipera. Naturalized in the sub-Himalayan tract, the outer Himalayas, and many other parts of India. Sanskrit: kantala.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 51—2. Common all over India, useful as a hedge-plant and for fiber. 52. Sanskrit: kala kantala. I, 84. A. vivipera has become so naturalized in many countries and in India as to seem indigenous.

MOBOT 2003. Distribution of A. vivipera, Middle and South America.

Agave cantala

(May be in addition to or the same as the Agave sp. above.)

Origin: Americas

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: while Sanskrit was lexically active (before AD 1000)

Grade: A minus

Sources: Agave cantala

Chopra et al. 1969, 3. Sanskrit: kantala. Naturalized on the east and west coast, upper Gangetic plain, and parts of Punjab.

Chopra et al. 1956, 9. Sanskrit: kantala. “A native of America.”

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 185. They treat as distinct species: A. americana, A. atrovirons, A. cantala, A. fourcroydes, A. sisalana, and others.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 51—2. Common all over India, useful as a hedge-plant and for fiber. Sanskrit: kala kantala.

Ageratum conyzoides

Origin: Americas

Summary: This weed would probably have been introduced inadvertently. It was in Hawaii (and had a native name) before European explorers arrived there, according to both Brown and Hillebrand. In India, it was so widely grown that Balfour considered it indigenous, and Pandey says it is “naturalized throughout India.”

Case l: Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-European contact with Hawaii

Grade: B

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: pre-European contact

Grade: B

Sources: Ageratum conyzoides—goatweed

Brown 1935, 336. The (Hawaiian) native name is meie parari, or mei rore; used for leis, scent, and medicine. “Pantropic; of American origin, probably unintentionally introduced by early man in southeastern Polynesia.”

Safford 1905, 176. Ageratum conyzoides (‘goatweed’). “It is of American origin, but is now widely spread throughout the Pacific and has found its way to many tropical countries.”

Balfour 1871—73, I, 52. Mentions Ageratum coerulium and A. Mexicanum, exotic flowering plants. “A. conyzoides is a native of India.” [To be so considered would require naturalization over more centuries than since the Portuguese.]

Pandey 2000, 271. Ageratum conyzoides, from South America, is one species “naturalized throughout India.”

Pullaiah 2002 I, 35. Sanskrit: visamustih. Used in the system of Ayurvedic medicine.

Chopra et al. 1956, 9. Throughout India up to 5,000 ft.

Hillebrand 1888, XCIII. The editor, W. F. Hillebrand (son of the author), notes that in the course of completing the book, his father changed his mind about some plants which he had assumed to have been introduced into Hawaii since Cook. Although he changed his mind—ending up of the opinion that they “may in reality have been of earlier [pre-Cookian] introduction”—he failed to go back and change the symbols [in the manuscript] indicating that fact. Here, young Hillebrand says, “Of 9 non-endemic species which existed before the discovery, 6, [including] one Ageratum (now diffused over most tropical countries) [plus five other species] are American . . ..”

Ageratum houstonianum

Origin: Americas

Summary: Naturalized in parts of India and China. Assuming that A. conyzoides is an import, the accidental transport of this second ageratum at the same time would be plausible, although we cannot be sure at this time.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Ageratum houstonianum—floss flower

Pandey 2000, 272. A. houstonianum, from Mexico, is another species “naturalized in some parts of India.” 284. Called the floss-flower.

MOBOT 2003. A. houstonianum is naturalized in China.

Alternanthera philoxeroides

Origin: South America

Summary: Four species of this genus, which is from South America, are naturalized in India and Southeast Asia generally. One of those is A. philoxeroides, which has two Sanskrit names. While botanists have assumed a recent introduction of the genus, there is no specific information to support that speculation. Rather, the mention by Rheede of the genus being in Malabar in the 17th century, along with the existence of the Sanskrit names, points to a much longer history of the genus in South Asia.

Transfer: South America to South Asia

Time of transfer: apparently while Sanskrit was still active, that is, before AD 1000

Grade: B

Sources: Alternanthera philoxeroides—alligator weed

Sivarajan and Mathew 1984, 49, 51. They deal with the species of Alternanthera Forsk. Five species of the genus have been reported. Another tropical American species, A. tenella, is reported here for the first time from India. These may be reduced to four good species because of duplication. Several explanations for the distribution are offered: (1) A. sessilis is commonly distributed in the tropics and subtropics of both the New and Old World and is common throughout India and thrives in a variety of habitats. (2) The Brazilian species, A. philoxeroides, commonly called ‘alligator weed,’ is of recent introduction to India, being first noted in 1964. (3) A. sessilis was suggested by Govindu as “brought to India by horses imported form the Middle East during the First World War. Since then, this [species] has spread to various other parts and is now fairly common throughout India.” [Yet, these authors note, disjunctively, that A sessilis “has been illustrated by Rheede in his ‘Hortus Malabaricus‘ as early as in 1692.”] (4) A. pungens, “a tropical American weed now widely distributed in the tropics and sub-tropics of the world. In India it is naturalized.” (5) A. philoxeroides is “an American weed introduced into the Old World Tropics long ago and reported from Malesia, Indonesia, Burma and India.”

Pullaiah 2002, I, 47. A. philoxeroides. Sanskrit, matsyahi, lonika.

Amanita muscaria

Origin: Unclear

Summary: Whether the Amanita muscaria forest mushroom was transported by humans or discovered in place, uses and connotations for it are so much alike in Mexico, India, (and Siberia?) that it is plausible that at least the cultural complexes involving it are connected historically. Unless further study comes up with an alternative plausible scenario, we consider that only a physical transfer of this fungus can explain how transfer between the hemispheres took place anciently. That may have occurred by spores borne on the wind in boreal regions, but a tropical passage is more unlikely. However, human voyagers, whose existence we have established, could have moved the mushroom to Mexico along with accompanying beliefs and rites.

Transfer: Asia to Mesoamerica

Time of transfer: since the time when a detailed cultural complex involving mushroom ingestion developed (500 BC?)

Grade: C

Sources: Amanita muscaria—fly agaric, fly amanita (fungus)

Aguilar 2003, 80. The pharmacopeia of Maya shamans included the Amanita muscaria and various members of the Psilocybe genus. In India, the ‘Soma’ (the Amanita muscaria mushroom) was considered a sacred plant in the Rig Veda. Medieval Europeans were familiar with Amanita muscaria and considered it demoniac.

Wasson 1980. In his 1968 book on Soma (page 163) he noted the general similarity of northern Eurasian and Middle American mushroom usages and beliefs but could not bring himself to imagine any historical connection between the two. Now, in 1980, guided by Levi-Strauss, who supposed that a connection was likely, he considers the evidence to show the circumpolar extent (including Siberia and the Algonkian Indians) of at least fly agaric usage.

(Wasson 1980 cont’d.) The Quiché of Guatemala equate Amanita muscaria with the thunderbolt (“mushroom of the lightning-bolt”), although they do not eat it, preferring the Psylocybe species. The same belief in the connection of lightning to the Amanita was present in Eurasia (and among the Algonkian-speaking Ojibway). 185. A. muscaria was in use among Basques, in France, and among the Chinese. 189. The association of toad, mushroom, and female genitalia must be very ancient and probably crossed Bering Strait with early immigrants to the Americas. (That is, of course, purely speculative, in light of the restricted distribution of the plant and the cultural complex in the Americas.)

43. Parallels are cited between Santal (a language of India), which preserves a derivative of the Sanskrit, putika, the first surrogate for the sacred Soma of Vedic hymns, and Náhuatl (Mexico) as follows: 1) divinity glows in a mushroom giving it a soul; 2) the mushroom speaks, it is “the Word.”

(Wasson 1980 cont’d.) Amanita muscaria was the Soma plant of the Vedas. 57. Parallels between Mesoamerican and Siberian/Eurasian mushroom lore: 1) the mushroom evokes an imaginary world of Little People which are the spirits of the mushrooms; 2) it speaks through a shaman’s voice; 3) it is connected to lightning bolts. 228—99. Amanita muscaria is all around in the Chiapas highlands and highland Guatemala, but avoided by today’s dwellers. In Quiché, its name is kakuljá, “lightning bolt.” 185. “In Mesoamerica, A. muscaria must have been replaced by the superior Psilocybe series” of mushrooms.

Wasson and Wasson 1957, 317. Ancestors of the Zapotecs, Greeks, Semites, Polynesians and Chinese all had the notion of a connection of lightning to mushrooms. 318. There are “startlng parallels” between the use of fly amanita in Siberia and the divine mushrooms of Middle America: for example, the substance is said to “speak” to the eater.

González Calderón 1991, 44—5. (This source has text in English that sometimes is difficult to understand, and the author rarely cites references; we suppose, however, that a competent Sinicist could provide primary documentation, if it exists, for the following paraphrased assertions.) “When we checked the old Chinese texts, we found that the first historical narrations on the first sea travels of Chinese ships occurred during” the Han period. In the book Shih-Chi we can read that “there were miraculous drugs in the Peng-Lai Islands.” Speaking now of Quin-Shi-Wang-Di, the first unifier of China, after the “Chow [Chou] Dynasty:” He unified China into a single big nation. He heard of some remote, mysterious islands located in the East Sea, where there used to exist some wonderful herbs, which were able to produce the effect of eternal youth and immortality. The gods who watched over those islands, he was told, demanded a tribute of children. Constructing a fleet of ships, he placed aboard 3,000 girls and boys from good families, plus gifts, like seeds of the five types of grains. The fleet was under the leadership of Hsi-Fu. They set sail in the year 219 BC, according to the Shih-Chi book. The expedition failed. Hsi-Fu arrived in Ping-Yuang and Kuangtsu and stayed there, making himself king of the region, but never returned to China. In the year 104 BC, another trip into the ocean was begun, to search for the Islands of Fortune and the Sacred Mountains. The emperor was Wu, and the commander of the expedition was the magician Li-Sho-Shun. There is also another narration during the Han period that could involve a return trip. “The kings of the Barbarians from the East crossed the great ocean to offer tribute from their country to the emperor.”

See also Barthel 1985 for a possible transfer mechanism.

Amaranthus spp.

Sources: Amaranthus spp. information in general

K.T. Harper, personal communication, 2004. Amaranths and chenopods provide a “complete” diet of amino acids for humans without the addition of animal protein. People with a practical, traditional knowledge of the dietary value of amaranths might have considered those grains especially appealing to parties of migrants sailing to new and largely unknown environments.

Roys 1931, 232. Mayan chac-tez is Amaranthus sp. “See x-tez.” 242. Mayan e-c [pronounced etzen]. Quotes Motul, the oldest Mayan dictionary of Yucatan: “A species of Amaranthus of this land, resembling the Mercurialis of Spain.” [That statement deserves investigation in re origin and affiliation of ‘mercuriali” of Spain.] 285. Amaranthus sp., bledo (Motul dictionary). Xx-tez. Tez is a generic name for the species.

[A published source in some ways superior to Roys 1931 is Bradburn 1998, which came to our attention too late to incorporate below. It lists 50 species of flora from among those treated below, with over 75 Mayan terms for them as used in one Yucatan village.]

Bretschneider 1892, 411. Lists five species of Amaranthus having Chinese characters used in Japan (from Matsumura; the Chinese-character names may or may not be pre-European in usage): A. caudatus (an American grain), A. mangostanus [Asian native], A. melancholicus (var. tricolor) [Asian native], A. spinosus [see below], and A. viridis [Asian native].

Index Kewensis has the following synonymies: A. caudatus, syn. paniculatus, syn. frumentaceus. Also, A. hypochondriacus, syn. leucocarpus.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 92—3. A. caudatus, English: ‘Love Lies Bleeding.’ Commonly cultivated for ornament. A. cruentus, in Persian, batu zard, a common food, used for bread, cakes, among peasants of the Himalayas. A. frumentaceus Buch. (syn. A. caudatus [American origin]). Panjab: bathú, which is ground into flour and is a principal article of diet for hill people. A. spinosus, Linn. Roxb., “thorny amaranth.” A very troublesome weed all over southern India and Burma.

Brücher 1989, 54—5. Taxonomically, the genus is difficult. Aellen (1967) and J.Sauer (1967) tried to order its systematics. They recommended two sections: Blitopsis and Amaranthotypus. The former has “mainly” n=17 chromosomes, the latter n=16. Most are wild-growing cosmopolites. These potherbs originated in Asia and Africa. Citing Pal et al. 1982, the species A. caudatus, A. cruentus, and A. hypochondriacus are closer related among themselves than to any putative weedy progenitor (Kulakov et al. 1985). 56. A. hypochondriacus, syn. leucocarpus, hispanic names, bledo, huautli. A. cruentus, purple amaranth, of Central American origin (so also leucocarpus). [In America] A. cruentus is known earliest, 4,000 BP (citing MacNeish 1992). 57. A. caudatus is in northern Argentina, Bolivia, Peru. The early European herbals also depict this plant. In Argentina, it comes from 4—5,000-year-old sites.

Sauer 1950, 612. “The grain amaranths belong to several distinct but closely-related species, cultivated by a curiously diverse and scattered group of peoples since immemorially ancient times.” 613. Four regions each have their own species cultivated: A. leucocarpus [syn. hypochondriacus] in Mexico, A. cruentus in Guatemala, A. caudatus in the Andes. On the whole, the ranges of the species in the New World are distinct [which means that when different species show up in Asia, quite certainly they came from different locations in the Americas]. “In Asia, there is a great, vaguely delimited grain amaranth region stretching all the way from Manchuria through interior China and the Himalaya to Afghanistan and Persia. A. leucocarpus and A. caudatus are both grown throughout this area. The poorly known grain crop of Africa is probably also A. caudatus.” “In mode of cultivation and use, the Old and New World crops are strikingly similar. In both areas, the crop shows a special affinity for the highlands, so far as I know, its concentration at high elevations is not explainable by any natural barriers.” “In both the Old and New World, the plants are usually grown on a small scale, mixed in the plantings of maize and other crops. The grain is ordinarily consumed by the growers and is prepared in similar ways almost everywhere. The seeds are first parched or popped; then they are either made into balls like popcorn, with a syrup binder, or they are ground to meal, which is stirred into a drink or baked into little cakes.”

(J.Sauer cont’d.) Taxonomically, all of the grain amaranths cultivated in the Old World are indistinguishable from certain of those cultivated in the New World. Not only in terms of species, but also in terms of sub-specific entities, the available Old World specimens represent nothing but a small sample of the diversity present in the American grain amaranths. There are amaranths grown in Asia for potherbs or ornamentals, but never for seeds, which [the former] are obviously natives of Asia. This entire Asiatic potherb group is easily distinguishable from the grain group by important technical characters. The non-cultivated amaranths closely related to the grain species also show a striking concentration in the New World. No evidence was found of any non-cultivated entity closely related to the grain amaranths which are peculiar to the Old World. 614. “The conclusion appears inescapable that the grain amaranths are all of New World origin.” “A well-developed grain amaranth produces such an enormous quantity of seed, though the seeds are individually minute, that the yield of the crop per unit area often exceeds that of maize.” “Development of these stable entities so distinct from their wild relatives would be expected to require long selection. The antiquity of the crop is also indicated by other evidence.” “The grain amaranths were one of the great food staples of Mexico at the time of the Conquest, regarded by the people as among their most ancient crops, and fantastically important in legend and ritual.”

(J.Sauer cont’d.) “The question as to whether the crop reached Asia before the European expansion cannot be answered with certainty. There is the 10th-century Chinese document [see below] that seems to refer to grain amaranths, but this is hardly absolute proof. If the crop was introduced into Asia after Columbus, it must be credited with a remarkable achievement in making itself very much at home among strangers within a few generations.” “Strangely enough, plants resembling A. leucocarpus do not appear in the European herbals until about 1700, more than a century after A. caudatus had been brought to Europe as an ornamental.”

(J.Sauer cont’d.) 588. “The crop is scattered so widely through Asia and is so firmly entrenched among remote peoples that it gives a powerful impression of great antiquity in the area. Many investigators, from De Candolle . . . to Merrill (1950, 16—17), have concluded that the crop has certainly been cultivated in southern Asia from time immemorial and probably originated there.” “The best hope of finding early records would seem to be in India.” 589. “It is startling to find that Bretschneider (1896, 405) presents what seems to be a clear reference to a grain amaranth in an ancient Chinese Materia Medica. This work, written about AD 950 for the Prince of Shu, modern Szechwan, lists six kinds of hien, a generic name for a group of related plants, mostly indigenous amaranths cultivated as potherbs. Among these were two whose seeds were used in medicine, one was called jen (meaning, man) hien, possibly because it grew tall and erect.” “. . . A modern record of grain amaranths from the same area . . . gives the same name.” A. was collected in the early 19th century in hills [in] south India where it was cultivated for seed which was ground for flour. 590. There are non-specific reports of cultivation of amaranths in Ceylon. Also, it was grown widely in northern India. They have been recorded repeatedly along the whole length of the Himalaya from Kashmir to Bhutan. 593. Also in Afghanistan and Persia, as well as in mountainous western China and Manchuria.

Anderson 1960, 70—1. Praises J. Sauer’s thesis. He has “demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt” that Asiatic and American amaranths “are identical.” Even Merrill went out of his way to give it a clean bill of health.

Roys 1931, 285. Mayan “X-tez. Amaranthus sp. bledo. (Motul dictionary.)”

Bretschneider 1882, 32. Shen Nung, an emperor [purportedly, not actually] of the 28th century BC, authored a famous classic of Materia Medica. Mentions this plant in the document attributed to him. 49—53. From a treatise, Kiu Huang Pen Ts’ao, by Chou Ting Wang, an imperial prince under the first Ming Emperor (the prince died in 1425). He had seen this plant in Honan province.

Pal and Khoshoo 1974, 130. Description of uses in places where the seed is in the staple diet of the people. The most common use is in the form of sweetmeats. The popped grains are mixed with brown cane sugar and converted into balls or cakes. 132. Theories of origin: Citing Purseglove 1968 as evidence, they assert there is no valid evidence of the movement of crops by man between the Old and the New World in pre-Columbian times. Most of the grain amaranths reached Asia in the 18th century and early in the 19th century. The grain amaranths, although an accepted food of the Hindus and Buddhists on religious days, they say, do not have a Sanskrit name [this is contradicted now by Chopra, see above, and implicitly by archaeological sources, such as Saraswat et al.], but such names exist for vegetable amaranths indigenous to Southeast Asia and India. They set out to test the cross compatibility of species experimentally. Evidently the differentiation between the three groups of species is very great [contradicts J.Sauer on this point]. Contrary to general belief, a variety of isolating mechanisms prevents hybridization. All these facts indicate that the theories of introgression in the history of the grain amaranths put forward by J.Sauer are not substantiated. Three groups are differentiated by chromosome numbers (one type covers A. caudatus and A. edulis with weedy A. quitensis. Central and North American species divide on chromosome number with one type consisting of A. hypochondriacus and the wild A. hybridus, while cultivated A. cruentus and wild A. powellii form the third type.)

Amaranthus caudatus

Origin: Andean region

Summary: The Asian forms of the plant are clearly within the norms for A. caudatus in the Americas. The grain has been recovered at an archaeological site in India dated to before 800 BC. Moreover, it bore a Sanskrit name. The food uses to which the grain is put are the same in the Himalayan area as in Middle America.

Transfer: South America to India

Time of transfer: while Sanskrit was still an active language (by AD 1000)

Grade: A

Sources: Amaranthus caudatus—amaranth, bledo, love-lies-bleeding

Chopra et al. 1956, 17. Sanskrit: rajagiri. Cultivated throughout India, chiefly in mountainous tracts, up to 9,000 ft. in the Himalayas.

Torkelson 1999, 1641. Sanskrit: rajagiri

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 559. Sanskrit: rajagiri

Saraswat, Sharma, and Saini 1994, 282, 284, 331. A. caudatus excavated in India at the Narhan site (1000—800 BC).

Towle 1961, 37. Cook says that the seeds will pop like kernels of maize and taste is similar. No archaeological specimens have been recovered, but it is thought this plant was economically significant.

Watt 1888—1893, I, 211. Local people near Simla told him this plant was an introduced form of bathú (grain) which they consider indigenous to India.

Bretschneider 1892, 411. Lists five species of Amaranthus labeled with Chinese characters in Japan (after Matsumura, not necessarily classic Chinese): A. caudatus, A. mangostanus, A. melancholicus, (var. tricolor), A. spinosus, and A. viridis.

Sauer 1967, 127. It probably originated by domestication of A. quitensis as an ancient Andean grain crop. In South America, it is superficially similar to Chenopodium lupinus.

See also the material under Amaranthus spp. in general.

Amaranthus cruentus

Origin: Guatemala or thereabouts

Summary: It is so widespread throughout Asia that it must have been introduced there at a fairly remote historical period. The plant fits readily into the range of the American species. Uses are the same in both hemispheres.

Time of transfer: possibly three or more millennia BP

Re. plausibility of alternative explanations for its distribution: J. Sauer said, “If the crop was introduced into Asia after Columbus, it must be credited with a remarkable achievement in making itself very much at home among strangers within a few generations.”

Grade: A

Sources: Amaranthus cruentus (syn. paniculatus)—amaranth, huauhtli, alegría

Pickersgill and Heiser 1978, 808. A. cruentus dates to 5500—4300 BP in Tehuacán Valley. [Compare divergent date by Sauer, below.]

Johannessen and Wang 1998, 29. In 1986, he and Anne Parker observed Buddhist priests in eastern Bhutan perform an annual eucharist-like service involving popped amaranth seed mixed with honey, an offering that the local population insisted had to be continued to ensure their well-being. The Aztecs had a similar rite.

Sauer 1967, 123. Evidently originated as a domesticated grain crop in southern Mexico or Guatemala. Progenitor is A. hybridus. 125. In the Old World tropics, the chronology and geography of the species’ immigration are quite mysterious. Attributed to China and India in 18th-century literature. By 1850, it was common in south India. 126. Asiatic cultivation of A. cruentus is mostly outside the grain amaranth regions and extends through the tropical and warm temperate parts of India, Indo-China, China, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Fiji. “In African botanical literature, A. cruentus usually masquerades as A. caudatus.”

See also materials on Amaranthus spp. in general.

Amaranthus hypochondriacus

Origin: highland Mexico

Summary: This third grain amaranth shares with A. caudatus and A. cruentus an extended distribution in Asia. Again, food uses are similar. Sauer: “All specimens examined from Nepal appear to be identical to common Latin American forms.”

Time of transfer: probably three or more millennia BP

Grade: A

Sources: Amaranthus hypochondriacus (now the preferred taxon; syn. leucocarpus)—amaranth, huauhtli

Sauer 1950, 561—632. There were four species in the Americas cultivated for grain. A. leucocarpus in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, A. cruentus in Guatemala, A. caudatus in the Andean region, and A. edulis in Argentina. The first and third are widely cultivated in Asia over a large area extending from Manchuria through interior China and the Himalayas to India, Afghanistan, and Iran. Carter cites him as showing that the Chinese character that today represents the word for grain amaranth was known as early as the 10th century in China. The Asian plants are not only nearly identical but also part of a complex of traits involving methods of cultivation, preparation, and use. (The most common method of utilization was popping the seeds and adding syrup as a binder to form cakes, in China, Mexico, Nepal, and Argentina.)

Sauer 1969, 80—1. Grown in the Tehuacán Valley, Mexico, Upper Palo Blanco phase, 200 BC—AD 700. Also in Arizona in the 14th century.

Sauer 1967, 127—8. “Post-Columbian introduction is hard to imagine.” “A. caudatus was taken to Europe in the 16th century and historically dispersed, yet “other races from the Andean complex are also in the Old World and are harder to explain; one was first found by European botanists in Kashmir and Ethiopia, where it is planted for grain.”

Sasuke and Sauer 1956, 141. There are two closely related species in Asia: Amaranthus caudatus, a native of the Andes, and A. leucocarpus, a native of the Mexican highlands. No information available indicates that these two species are distinguished by Nepalese, although they are planted separately. “All specimens examined from Nepal appear to be identical to common Latin American forms.” Local names reported are: marcha in northwest Nepal, nana in central Nepal in general, pilim among Sherpa of central Nepal, latav in Katmandu. No name is recorded among Tibetans in Nepal. Sometimes inter-planted with maize, maturing after harvest of the corn ears. Occasionally, some of the young plant leaves are boiled as potherbs, a common practice with various amaranth species in the plains of India and many other parts of the world. Amaranth grain is used exclusively for human food, not fed to livestock. In western and central Nepal the grain is ground into flour, then boiled into gruel. At Katmandu and Madwanpur on the pilgrim way to Katmandu, amaranth grain is popped and made into little cakes or balls held together with sugar syrup. These cakes are associated with a special winter festival during which they are offered to a particular god and eaten by the people.

(Sasuke and Sauer cont’d.) “In many respects—the species involved, the methods of planting, preparing for food, and ceremonial use—the grain amaranth pattern of Nepal is similar to that found over a tremendous area of the highlands of Asia and Latin America. The reason for the parallels between America and Asia is not understood, nor is it known how or when amaranths were introduced to Asia. The first botanists who recorded the crop in Asia believed it was an ancient native domesticate and this belief has persisted until quite recently. Since it has become clear that the wild relatives of the grain amaranth species are strictly American and that the crop is certainly ancient in America, the antiquity of the crop in Asia has naturally been called into question. It has been suggested recently that the plants were introduced from Brazil to India by early Portuguese traders (Merrill 1954, 301; no amaranth was cultivated in Brazil). This explanation is not completely satisfying because there is no evidence that amaranths were ever cultivated for grain in Brazil or any other Portuguese areas of the New World, nor is their distribution in Asia correlated with areas of Portuguese activity . . . ; grain amaranths are not the sort of crop that the early European voyagers would be expected to promote. The Spanish invaders of the grain amaranth regions of the New World generally regarded the crop with contempt or hostility because of its intimate association with what they regarded as the devilish ceremonials of the Indians. No European colonists are known to have adopted the crop. Could Europeans have introduced these as ornamentals? Reasons are given why this is unlikely. The possibility remains that at least one species, A. leucocarpus, was introduced to Asia as a crop in pre-Columbian times.”

Sauer 1967, 110—3. There are three domesticated species: A. hypochondriacus L.; evidently from A. powellii by selection as a grain crop in North America; syn. A. frumentaceus, syn. A. hybridus, syn. A. leucocarpus. Its “distribution as a grain crop in Asia, although perhaps old, is clearly secondary and its wide dispersal as an ornamental is recent.” 113. In Mexico, at the Conquest, A. hypochondriacus was probably the main if not the only species cultivated for grain. 115. For at least a hundred years, the species has been a far more widespread and important crop in Asia than in its homeland. Early botanists generally took it for an indigenous domesticate because it was so well established in subsistence agriculture, more often than not in remote regions. (Other American Indian crops followed the same pattern: A. caudatus, and perhaps Chenopodium quinoa Willd., a tall chenopod of uncertain identity which strongly resembles the latter, has long been grown as a grain crop in the hills of northwest India, where it shares the name bathú with grain amaranths {citing Thompson 1852 and Singh 1961}). 120, 122. Some seen in Manchuria in 1945—1946.

See also the materials on Amaranthus spp. in general.

Amaranthus spinosus

Origin: tropical New World

Summary: A troublesome weed that grew also in pre-Columbian India. Multiple Sanskrit names attest its presence in India at least one and, more probably, two or more millennia ago; that agrees with its wide distribution “throughout southern India” and beyond. Since it is elsewhere apparent that the grain amaranths were transported by humans from the Americas to Asia, it is reasonable to suppose that A. spinosus seeds accidentally accompanied them.

Transfer: Americas to Asia (or the reverse if origin proves Asia)

Time of transfer: probably at least two millennia ago

Grade: A

Sources: Amaranthus spinosus—spiked amaranth (a weed)

Sauer 1967, 107. One of the commonest weedy amaranths of the New World tropical lowlands, where it presumably originated. By AD 1700, A. spinosus was spreading rapidly through the warmer parts of the world, both as a weed and as a sporadically planted potherb.

Miranda 1952—1953, I, 215. Grows in Chiapas.

Torkelson 1999, 1641. Sanskrit: tanduliya

Chopra et al. 1956, 15. Sanskrit: tanduliya, “a field weed”

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 559. Sanskrit: alpamarisha, tandula

Pullaiah 2002, I, 48. Sanskrit: tandaluya, kataib, chaulai. Medicinal uses in India. “Prickly amaranth”

Bretschneider 1892, 411. Lists five species of Amaranthus labeled by Chinese characters used in Japan (from Matsumura; the Chinese-character names may or may not be pre-European in usage): Three Asian species plus A. caudatus (American) and A. spinosus (both hemispheres).

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 92—3. A. spinosus Linn. Roxb., “thorny amaranth.” A very troublesome weed all over southern India and Burma.

See also material under Amaranthus spp. in general.

Anacardium occidentale

Origin: Brazil or Venezuela

Summary: A representation of the cashew fruit and nut were carved at Bharhut Stupa, India, adjacent to images of the annona, also an American fruit. The structure, and thus the plant, is dated to the 2nd century BC. At least two Sanskrit names for the cashew tend to confirm that date.

Time of transfer: before the 2nd century BC

Grade: A

Sources: Anacardium occidentale—cashew

Nadkarni 1914, 32. A. occidentale. Sanskrit: shoephahara. Eng.: cachew nut (sic). Established in the coast forests of India and all over South India.

Watson 1868, 251. A. occidentale. In the Hortus Malabaricus as kapa-mava, all vowels long.

Balfour 1871—1873, III, 409. Cashew-nut tree, called “Cashoo Apple” in English. Sanskrit: beejara sula. I, 107. Sanskrit: bijara sala.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 52. Sanskrit: kajutaka

Bretschneider 1882, 94. Condemns Balfour for accepting botanical names of plants in the ancient Sanskrit vocabulary; Amara Cosha [ca. AD 600], and other writings in the classical language of the Hindus, which was a dead language, not spoken even at the time of Buddha. “The author [Balfour] does not hesitate to admit the existence of Sanskrit names for such plants as . . . Anacardium occidentale . . . which, as is well known, have been introduced into Asia from the Americas, since the discovery of the New World.”

Brücher 1989, 215—6. Portuguese navigators in the 16th century took seeds to India and Mozambique. The cashew is native to the semi-arid coasts of Venezuela and Brazil, where one still finds many biotypes wild.

Pandey 2000, 272. A. occidentale, a native of Brazil, is one species “naturalized in some parts of India.”

Dressler 1953, 122. Appears that it may be native from Brazil to the Antilles, especially as a strand plant. Also occurs naturally in southern Yucatan and may possibly have been cultivated there.

Gupta 1996, 17. A native of Brazil, it was introduced into India in the 16th century AD by the Portuguese. The only depiction of the plant complete with flowers and fruits is at the Jambukeshvara temple, Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu (see plate). The depiction of the fruit, the cashew nut, is slightly stylized. Whereas the sanctum sanctorum and the inner portions of the temple, according to tradition, legend, and the temple priests, was built 2,500 years ago, the outer pillared hall is much more recent. And the Archaeological Survey of India dates it to the 17th century AD, by which time the cashew nut plant had been introduced to India and was already a hundred years old. But the earliest sculpture of the cashew nut is from the Bharhut Stupa balustrade relief, dated ca. the 2nd century BC. The relief is a broken fragment depicting two fruits of the custard apple on the left and two cashew nuts on the right side of the panel. Yet, “. . . it is not offered in worship at temples. Since the plant has no religious associations, the pillar decoration showing the cashew nut plant motif is purely decorative.”

Newcomb 1963, 41. The cashew is a New World species but today is most abundant in the Old World. Its major production is concentrated in South India.

Watt 1871—1873, I, 232. Originally introduced from South America. Indigenous to the West Indies. Now one of six species of the genus is naturalized in coastal forests in India. It bore a name in Sanskrit, bijara sala (Balfour 1871—1873, I, 107; III, 409).

J.Sauer 1993, 15. A native of Brazil, apparently. Natives made use of both nuts and wine made from the cashew apple. “The Portuguese introduced it to India in the 1560s, perhaps more as a source of wine and brandy than for the nuts.”

Ananas comosus

Origin: Brazil, although long cultivated in Middle America

Summary: Found on Easter Island, the Marquesas, Tahiti, and Hawaii, providing good evidence for its pre-European presence. Gupta reports images sculpted on Indian temples, one dating to the 5th century AD. Pineapples are also shown in the art of Assyria, Egypt, Anatolia, and perhaps Israel.

Time of transfer: by the 8th century BC (Assyria) and by the 5th century AD (India, presumed to have been by way of the Middle East)

Grade: A

Sources: A. comosus (syn. sativus)—pineapple

England 1992, 160. A word for this plant existed in proto-Mayan, pre-1000 BC.

Langdon 1988, 329. Found by W. Knoche, one of first Chilean scientists to visit Easter Island in 1911. “Small, semi-wild,” and “scrubby.” Found by first missionary in the Marquesas (ca. 1800) with the same name as in Tahiti. Hawaiians claimed pineapple present there since pre-European times (citing Handy and Handy 1972).

Heyerdahl 1996, 149—57. In the Marquesas (Hivaoa), Von den Steinen, Linton, and Heyerdahl discovered and then rediscovered large, non-Polynesian stone carvings showing long-tailed quadrupeds that could represent only felids and whose nearest analogs were on the monuments of San Agustín, Colombia. He connects these (radiocarbon-dated by charcoal beneath the statues at ca. AD 1300) with several plant species of American origin that have been identified in remote locations in the Marquesas. They can only be accounted for by the arrival of voyagers. 218. The faa-hoka pineapple of the Marquesas was a South American plant. It could not have spread across an ocean without human aid. Brown (1935) reported that in addition to the large pineapple brought by missionaries from Hawaii in the 1800s, there were six local varieties that grew semi-wild, which Brown considered pre-European introductions from South America.

McBryde 1945, 141. Probably a native of Brazil but long cultivated in Mesoamerica. Aztec word is matzalli. He considers a possible Central American or Mexican origin for those in Mesoamerica.

Simmonds 1976, 16. Pineapple is old in the New World on distributional grounds but the only archaeological record for it consists of seeds and bracts found in coprolites from caves in Tehuacán Valley of Mexico dated to the period from about 100 BC to AD 700.

Heyerdahl 1964, 126. A semi-wild pineapple was found in deserted areas of Easter Island when the flora was first recorded by Europeans. Bertoni in 1919 suggested that the American pineapple seems to have spread into the Pacific in pre-Columbian times (Bertoni 1919). Macmillan Brown argued a very strong case for pre-European growth of Ananas in the Marquesas (Brown, 1931, 137). Degener stated that the Hawaiians had grown a poor variety of the plant in a semi-wild state long before the first recorded introduction by Europeans (Degener 1930, 88).

Collins, 1948, 376—7. He is puzzled over the following three references (note that this information is omitted in the largely identical article that he published in the Southwestern Journal of Anthropology in 1951). Layard (1849) and Rawlinson both describe stone carvings at Nineveh that show food served at a banquet, one of which both writers list as representing a pineapple. Rawlinson stated: “The representation is so exact that I can scarcely doubt the pineapple being intended.” Layard also doubted that the Assyrians knew the fruit, but “the leaves sprouting from the top proved that it was not the cone of a pine tree or fir.” A third reference is Wilkinson (1879, II, 213): “Among the numerous productions of India met with in Egypt which tend to prove an intercourse with that country may be mentioned the pineapple, models of which are found in the tombs, of glazed pottery. One was in the possession of Sir Richard Westmacott.”

Krauss n.d. 188. “Extraordinarily, fossils of pineapple have been found in Switzerland, it has been reported.”

Johannessen reports his personal experience seeing a representation of pineapple on a piece of jewelry in the museum at Ankara, and K. Harper (a professor of botany) has seen another pineapple on an object in the museum in Cairo.

Pickersgill 1976. Cites Merrill against Heyerdahl’s claim for pineapple in the Marquesas. She resists claims of Assyrian, Egyptian, and Pompeiian representations of the pineapple, asserting magisterially that “the reproductions that have been published are not convincing.” [Contrast Rawlinson above in Collins.]

Brown 1931, 137. Ananas sativus Schultes. Pineapple. Marquesan names are compounded from ha’a hoka or fa’a hoka. The fruit is small but extremely fragrant and superior in flavor. Six named and cultivated varieties are listed “all of which were an integral part of the ancient material culture, [and] were evidently originated by the Marquesans from the single Brazilian species. This fact seems fairly positive evidence that the early Polynesians, through contact with the Americas, obtained their original stock long before the discovery of the Marquesas by Europeans.” 138. Anciently, the fruits were used more extensively for leis and for scenting coconut oil than for food. Planted usually in dry areas, in all inhabited valleys, where nothing else useful grew; plants flourished without human care.

Gupta 1996, 18. Clearly depicted on the vanamala of Vishnu in his Varaha avatara in the Udayagiri cave temples, Madhya Pradesh, dated ca. 5th century AD (plate 10). This depiction shows that the plant must have been growing in India at that early date. For “there is no evidence of artisans having come from Brazil at any point in Indian history and the local artisans could not have sculpted it without being familiar with it.” The only other temple where there is a depiction of the pineapple fruit is at Moti-Shah-Ka-Tuk, Shatrunjaya hill complex, Palitana, Gujarat. The small shrine where it is sculpted is white washed and difficult to date. The Shatrunjaya hill Jain temple complex consists of nearly 863 Jain temples and is believed to be more than 1,000 years old.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 53. Sanskrit: anamnasam, bahunetraphalam. Medicinal uses in India.

Bertoni 1919, 280ff. He believed Polynesians carried pineapples from the Americas.

Watt 1888—1893, I, 236. The genus has five or six species, inhabitants of tropical America. “From the vernacular names one would suppose it came to India via Persia.” It was not found in Europe, Asia, or Africa before Columbus (sic). Its introduction is “expressly mentioned by Indian authors.” “The rapidity with which it spread through Europe, Asia, and Africa is unparalleled in the history of any other fruit.” [Unless, of course, it had spread in pre-Columbian times, as is now certain.]

Zena Halpern of Syosset, NY, (personal communication 2003) has furnished us with a photograph of a carved stone in a museum in Haifa, Israel, that displays a pineapple on it, although a part of the fruit representation is broken off, rendering the identification less than final. The carving is probably from the Iron Age.

Addenda: Too late to enter in detail: Casella 2002a; Casella 2002b; Casella 2002c; Ciferri 2002; Jett 2002c; Merrill 2002.

Annona spp. in general

Sources: Annona spp. in general

Roys, 1931, 271. Mayan language: “Op. Annona reticulata. L. Custard-apple, Anona colorada.”

Schoenhals 1988. A. cherimola, custard apple, cherimola. A. glabra, pond apple, alligator apple. A. muricata, guanábana, soursop. A. purpurea, custard apple. A. reticulata, custard apple.

Steentoft 1988, 72. Annonaceae—soursop family. “A pantropical but especially Old World family of woody plants.” 74. [Yet] Annona (West Indian name) is largely an American genus, with only three species in West Africa (i.e., A. senegalensis, A. glabra, and A. glauca, which replaces A. glabra in Ghana).

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 125. Annonaceae. A tropical order of plants, chiefly inhabiting the Americas and the East Indies. The order includes about 15 genera and 250 species, more than half of which occur in India.

Brücher 1989, 218. In the Americas more than 70 Annona species exist, of which at least a dozen have been domesticated for their aromatic fruits.

Addenda: Too late to enter in detail: Casella 2002a; Casella 2002b; Ciferri 2002; Casella 2002c; Jett 2002c.

Annona cherimolia

Origin: Americas

Summary: Especially characteristic of the highlands of Colombia, Ecuador [and] Peru, [but also occurs in] Mesoamerica.

The fruit of A. cherimolia is shown held by a sculpted goddess figure on a wall of a Hoysala Dynasty temple, Karnataka State, India, dated to the 13th century.

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: by 13th century AD

Grade: B

Sources: Annona cherimolia—large annona, custard apple

Shady 1997, 18. A. cherimolia remains have been found at the Los Gavilanes site in the Huarmey valley, Peru, dating to the Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC).

Towle 1961, 38—9. A small tree bearing edible, heart-shaped fruits. Remains have also come from graves at Ancón (dated in BC times). Also one prehistoric funeral vase depicts a fruit.

Johannessen and Wang 1998, 16—7. Held in the hands of sculpted figures on temples in India, as in the hand of a goddess statue on an AD 1268 Hoysala Dynasty temple at Somnathpur, Karnataka State (illustrated). [Johannessen comments: the image of the fruit shown at Somnathpur is a general, but not a perfect, match with A. cherimolia.]

Roys 1931, 279. Mayan. “Pox. Annona cherimola, Mill. Cherimoya.” Often called the custard apple in English.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 125. A. cherimolia. A tree of Peru, introduced into India in 1820.

Bailey 1935, I, 294. From the Andes of Peru and adjacent regions but naturalized at a very early date in Mexico and Central America.

Dressler 1953, 123. Wild cherimoyas in Ecuador. There is archaeological evidence for the early occurrence of A. cherimolia in Peru, yet Cobo wrote of introducing it from Guatemala about 1630 and implies that it was previously unknown [another ‘historical’ fable).

Brücher 1989, 219. He considers A. cherimolia “the most attractive fruit of America.” Characteristic of the tropical mountains (800—2000 m.) of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Annona glabra

Origin: West Indies, South America

Summary: Reports differ as to value as an edible fruit, yet it was used in some areas and apparently occasionally cultivated. It grew wild on shorelands of the West Indies and South America. It had a name in the Yucatec Mayan language. Also found in West Africa and in Kerala, the southwest coast of India, and (recently) islands in the Indian Ocean.

Since other species of Annona reached South and Southeast Asia as early as the 3rd millennium BC, it is not unreasonable to suppose that A. glabra shared in the same transfer process as those earlier manifested, even if it was an inferior fruit. Oceanic drift over such a vast distance (and from the Atlantic side of the Americas) to South Asia is out of the question (the tree is also entirely missing in the Pacific Ocean area).

Transfer: Americas to South Asia.

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Annona glabra—pond apple

Bailey 1935, I, 293. Pond-Apple. Alligator-Apple. Monkey-Apple. Mangrove-annona. Mamin, etc. Fruit considered not edible except by animals. Found in Florida, and also along tropical shores of the Americas, West Indies, the west coast of Africa, and the Galapagos Islands.

Dressler 1953, 123. Reports as to quality and cultivation of this species do not agree. Appears to have a very wide natural distribution as a strand plant.

Roys 1931, 263. Mayan. “H-maak. Annona glabra, L.”

Brücher 1989, 218. A. glabra L. grows wild (he has seen it in Panama) but fruit is often collected. It cannot be excluded that this is an ancestral form of some of the domesticates.

Sreekumar et al. 1996. A. glabra, previously known in India only from the west coast of Kerala, is recorded (wild) for the first time from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It has potential value as an edible fruit.

Annona reticulata

Origin: tropical America

Summary: It was known by at least five Sanskrit names, besides being shown on sculpture at the Bharhut Stupa of the second century BC. Its name on the Malabar coast incorporates Rama’s name and thus seems to have a connection to the ancient legends. Moreover, common names of the fruit can be construed as related between Mexico and Asia.

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: by the 2nd century BC

Grade: A

Sources: Annona reticulata—custard apple

Roys, 1931. 271. Mayan. “Op. Annona reticulata L. Custard-apple, Anona colorada.”

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 125. English name: Bullock Heart. Sanskrit: Rama sita.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 60. Sanskrit: ramphal. Medicinal uses in India.

Watson (1868) reports an additional Sanskrit name, luvunee, (citing Roxburgh 1814 and other early botanical researchers in India).

Torkelson 1999, 1646. Sanskrit: ramphala.

Chopra et al. 1956, 19—20. Sanskrit: ramphala. Cultivated in India, naturalized in Bengal and South India.

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 559. Sanskrit:, krishnabeejam, ramphal.

Watt 1888—1893, I, 256. Naturalized in India, supposed imported from the Americas. But considered by some authors a native of Asia.

Bishagratna 1907, 72. Reads A. reticulata in a text assigned to the 6th century BC.

Bailey 1935, I, 294. Common Custard Apple, Bullock’s-Heart. At home in tropical America, now widely spread throughout the tropics of both hemispheres. A robust tree which has spread spontaneously in the forests of the Philippines, the island of Guam, and the East Indies, while its congeners, A. muricata and A. squamosa, occur usually only where planted. It is essentially tropical while the cherimoya, with the smooth-fruited forms with which it has often been confused, is subtropical. Fruit of reticulata is inferior in flavor to both cherimoya and squamosa. 295. Produces fruit only once per year while squamosa has multiple fruitings

Nicolson et al. 1988, 50. In Hortus Malabaricus (1682) this appears as anona-maram. “Today the tree is called Ramachakkamaram (tree, maram, with the fruit, chakka, of Lord Rama).” It bears the same name as A. squamosa. Cultivated throughout Kerala.

Pokharia and Saraswat 1999, 97. “The fruit is called ata in Malabar, ahata or ate in Mexico, and ate or atte in the Philippines. But Annona reticulata (bullock’s heart) was called parangi (‘foreigner’) or Portuguese Jack fruit. These facts seem to suggest that the name ata came to India from Hispaniola via the Cape” [sic—of Good Hope?] (endnote 129). They take these data to indicate a Portuguese introduction. Yet Sitholey’s drawings of sculpted plants at Bharhut show that the “dazzling presence of custard-apple has been confirmed, as claimed by Cunningham in 1879.” (Custard-apple argument is continued on p. 99.)

Miranda 1952—1953, I, 193. Cultivated in Chiapas for fruit. Very resistant to unfavorable conditions.

Panagiotakopulu 2000, 35. Different substances used as insecticides in storerooms against insects and other pests (in Eurasia). Include Annona reticulata.

Annona squamosa

Origin: tropical America

Summary: At least four Sanskrit names were used for the tree, and its fruit is associated with the sacred figure, the wife of Lord Rama, in the Ramayana record. It is mentioned in another literary source dated near the beginning of our era. The fruit is sculpted at Bhárhut Stupa, 2nd century BC, and at Ajanta Cave, and in other sacred art since then. Seeds have been excavated from a cave site in the island of Timor dated to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC (together with two other plants of American origin) and excavated also in India from 700 BC.

Transfer: Americas to South Asia

Time of the transfer: by the middle of the 3rd millennium BC

Grade: A

Sources: Annona squamosa—sweetsop, sugar-apple, annona

Nadkarni 1914, 38. Annona squamosa. Sanskrit: shubhâ, suda. Eng.: custard apple. Hindi: sharifah. Bengali, Gujerati, others: sitâphal. Cultivated in gardens all over India for its fruit.

Torkelson 1999, 1646—7. Sanskrit: sitaphalam.

Chopra et al. 1956, 19—20. Sanskrit: gandagatra, sitaphala.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 60. Sanskrit: sitaphalam, gandhagathra, shubha.

Bretschneider 1892, 412. Japanese source gives (Chinese) characters for the name of Annona squamosa (may not be from classic Chinese sources, however).

Brücher 1989, 220. A native of Central America and the Antilles. The species is now dispersed in all tropical countries, especially in India, which is erroneously considered as their homeland.

Nicolson et al. 1988, 50. “In the market, the fruit is called seethachakka, the fruit of Seetha (wife of Lord Rama).” Cultivated mostly in drier areas.

Pandey 2000, 271. A. squamosa, from tropical America and West Indies, is a species “naturalized in some parts of India”.

Johannessen and Wang 1998, 16—17. Held in the hands of sculpted figures on temples in India, as in the hand of a goddess statue in the 10th-century Durga temple at Aihole, Karnataka State (illustrated).

Gupta 1996, 19. Thrives in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Grows in the wild in Madhya Pradesh. The tree is called Sitaphala because of a popular belief that Sita, wife of Ramachandra of the epic Ramayana, when in exile with her husband, used to eat fruits of this tree. Yet there is no religious significance attached to the plant. But it could symbolize fertility, as from one composite fruit a large number of seeds are produced, at least in some fruits.

(Gupta cont’d.) Sculpted on both Hindu and Buddhist temples in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh. Held in the hands of Vishnu in Bengal (plate 11); Murugan (plate 12); Kubera from Karnataka Hoysaleshvara temple, 12th century AD. He sits on a pedestal under a canopy from which bunches of mangoes are hanging, and is holding a custard apple in his left hand and an akshamala in his right hand. As well as in the lower left hand of Shiva on a lintel sculpture showing the Trinity, Kakatiya, 12th century AD, Warangal, Andhra Pradesh, and in the hands of various other deities. The best depiction of the Sitaphala is from Bhárhut in Madhya Pradesh (plate 13), on the Kalpalata, the wish-fulfilling creeper, where not only the fruit, but also the leaves are sculpted. According to Randhawa, the custard apple was introduced into India by the Portuguese in the 16th century. But the tree must have been growing in India from very early times considering that it is mentioned in the Ramayana, ca. 2000—1000 BC up to AD 200 [misprinted in the text as AD 2000], and sculpted at Bhárhut, ca. the 2nd century BC.

Bussagli and Sivartamamurti 1978, 189, Fig. 216. Varuna, lord of the waters, with his consort, mounted on a makara monster, is shown holding an annona in his hand. From Gurjara Pratihara, 8th century AD.

Towle 1961, 39. In Peruvian archaeological materials, the fruit is said to be modeled in pottery jars.

Roys 1931, 271. Mayan: 312. “Zuli-pox. Annona reticulata, L. Anona colorada.” 313. “Calmuy (C = plosive tz). Annona squamosa, L. Saramuyo.”

Watt 1888—1893, I, 259—60. Custard Apple of Europeans in India; Sweet-sop or Sugar Apple of the West Indies and the Americas. Gives vernacular names. Common in areas of India indicated here and in Burma. Custard apples have been identified among the sculptures of the Ajanta caves as well as of the Bhárhut Stupa. This opposes theory of late introduction. General Cunningham remarks: “My identification of this fruit amongst the Máthura sculptures has been contested on the ground that the tree was introduced into India by the Portuguese. I do not dispute the fact that the Portuguese brought the custard apple into India, as I am aware that the East India Company imported hundreds of grindstones into the fort of Chunár, as if to illustrate the proverb about carrying coals to Newcastle. I have now travelled over a great part of India, and I have found such extensive and such widely distant tracts covered with the wild custard apple, that I can not help suspecting the tree to be indigenous. I can now appeal to one of the Bhárhut sculptures for a very exact representation of the fruit and leaves of the custard apple.” Further, he said, “The names of the two varieties of custard apple, Rámphal and Sítaphal, are in themselves almost enough to show that from very early times the trees have been grown and honoured by the Hindus.” Watt notes: “. . . Although there seems hardly any doubt as to Anona squamosa being an introduced plant, the date of its introduction is, however, very obscure.”

Glover 1977, 43. Annona remains were excavated from a cave on the island of Timor that dated soon after 3000 BC.

Bussagli and Sivartamamurti 1978, 189. Fig. 216 depicts an 8th century (AD) sculpture of Varuna, lord of the waters, seated with his consort on a makara monster and holding in his hand an annona fruit.

Watson 1868, 181, 527. It also has a second Sanskrit name, gunda-gutra or gunda-gatra. Meanwhile, in the Malayalam language, the annona fruit is called Seethachakka, the fruit of Seetha (Nicolson et al. 1988, 50). Its mention in the Ramayana epic could mean that the species was present in BC times, simultaneously with or earlier than the artwork at Bhárhut Stupa.

Nadkarni (1914, 38) notes two other Sanskrit names: shubhâ and suda.

Bretschneider 1892, 413, deserves further study, since the antiquity of Chinese knowledge of the fruit is hinted at by the early presence of the annona representations in India. The species was recognized early in Bhárhut and Sanchi sculptures in Madhya Pradesh and carvings dug up at Mathura (2nd—1st century BC) by Gen. Cunningham (1879).

Pokharia and Saraswat 1999, 101. A series of caves in Timor, Indonesia, have yielded a continuous sequence of occupation from 12,000 BC to the time of Christ [sic; the cited source, Glover 1977, says, rather, that the terminal date is no later than the middle of the 3rd millennium.] Interestingly, in the top layers several introduced New World crops occur, such as peanuts (Arachis), custard-apple/sweetsop (Annona), and maize (Zea mays) together with Southeast Asian or generally Asian natives, including coconut, mangosteen, and almond (endnote 176). Seeds of Annona have also been found in a stratigraphic sequence of an iron-using culture at Raja Nal-Ka-Tila, Sonbhadra Dist., U.P., India, radiocarbon-dated to about 700 BC.

Arachis hypogaea

Origin: South America

Summary: Archaeological finds place it in use in Peru by earlier than 700 BC. Archaeology shows the peanut by 2800 BC (uncalibrated radiocarbon dates) in China and by the mid-3rd millennium BC on the island of Timor. There is strong evidence for a link between names of the nut in lowland South America and India. There are also several names in Sanskrit (probably dated in BC times). In morphology, there are very detailed similarities, if not identities, between Asian and South American peanuts.

Transfer: Americas to Southeast Asia

Time of transfer: no later than ca. 2900 BC

Grade: A

Sources: Arachis hypogaea—peanut, ground nut

Shady 1997, 18. Peanuts have been found in three sites of the Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) on the coast of Peru.

Sauer 1993, 800—83. Was being grown in Peru before 2000 BC. 881. The name mandubi (see Krapovickas, et al. below) was reported from the coast of Brazil about 1550. 882. The “Peruvian” variety of peanut (Arachis asiatica) was taken to the Philippines by Spanish galleons and from there to southeastern China before 1600.

Nadkarni 1914, 39. Arachis hypogea. Sanskrit: buchanaka.

Torkelson 1999, 1646. Sanskrit: buchanaka.

Chopra et al. 1956, 22. Sanskrit: buchanaka.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 65. Sanskrit: bhueanakah, mandapi. Medicinal uses.

Pokharia and Saraswat 1999, 101. Caves in Timor, Indonesia, show a continuous sequence of occupation from 12,000 BC to the time of Christ [sic. See, rather, Glover, 1977, whom they cite; the latter says the occupation referred to by Pokharia and Saraswat belongs to the 3rd millennium BC.] (endnote 175). In the top layers, a culture introduced from the northwest (Indonesia) is manifested which includes introduced New World crops, the peanut (Arachis), custard-apple/soursop (Annona) and maize (Zea mays), together with Southeast Asian or generally Asian natives, including coconut, mangosteen, and almond (endnote 176).

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 172—3. Arachis hypogaea. Primary gene center is in Argentina and Bolivia. (Subspecies hypogaea var. hirsute Kohler is synonymous with A. asiatica Lour., reportedly introduced by the Spaniards to the Philippines.)

Watson 1969, 400. “At the site of Chien Shan Yang in Chekiang, in addition to rice, the followng [was] identified”: Arachis hypogaea. (Also Trapa natans). (Citing, in endnote 17, Chekiang Province Cultural Properties Control 1960.)

Pickersgill and Heiser 1978. 813. In Tehuacán, Mexico, from Palo Blanco phase (2200—1250 BP) and later. It is much older in Peru.

Carter 1974, 213—4. Cites a report of archaeological specimens, Chang 1963. At a named site in Chekiang excavated in 1956 and 1958, two carbonized peanuts were found in a Lungshanoid association (i.e., from ca. 2000 BC to perhaps 1500 BC). They were identified by the Laboratory of Plant Seeds of the College of Agriculture of Chekiang as Arachis hypogea. The second site was near the village of Shan-pei, northwest Kiangsi, and the archaeological association was again Lungshanoid. Chinese documentary sources attribute the origin of the peanut to the south, from overseas. Chekiang is said to have obtained peanuts from Fukhien, its southern neighbor, toward the end of the 16th century. (This is only the date for local borrowing, not necessarily for the arrival in China initially.) Bretschneider (in Burkhill 1935) quoted a Chinese source that attributed the introduction of the peanut to the Sung (960—1280) or Yuan (1260—1368) Dynasty. Bretschneider rejected the date, probably because he did not believe an American plant could be in China then.

Chang Kwang-Chih 1970, 179. The groundnut (peanut), generally thought to be native to South America, came from a Lungshanoid site in North China.

Chang Kwang-Chih 1986, 491, 421. The peanut quite surely was known in Lungshanoid pottery times [i.e., pre-Shang], regardless of claims of critics that the stratigraphy of the specimens had been confused. For the criticisms, see Harlan and de Wet (1973, 51—62) and Bayard, (1975, 167—70).

Jeffreys 1976, 9—28. Among crops he believed to be present in Africa before the Portuguese could have brought them, he included the groundnut.

Laufer 1907. He claimed the peanut reached China from the Malay Archipelago or Philippines via Chinese sailors or the traders of Fukien. The earliest date is AD 1573 he concluded.

Patiño 1964, II. Shows on map on p. 163, distribution of plantings of this at the time of the Conquest. Oviedo stigmatized the plant: “The Indians in this island of Hispaniola, have a fruit that they call mani [and] that they sow and reap, and it is a very ordinary plant . . .. Christians [Europeans] use it very little and then only some low fellows and children and slaves . . .. It is of mediocre aroma and little substance, but a very common vegetable to the Indians . . ..” (Oviedo 1851, I, 274; II, 165). Patiño observed, “We don’t know if the majority of Spaniards had the same taste as Oviedo and disdained the peanut in early times. Food habits are difficult to change.” [Sounds like the kind of plant no Spaniard would have bothered to carry to Goa or the Philippines.]

Towle 1961, 42—3. Remains of the pod are among the most commonly encountered plant remains in Peru, and in addition, we find pottery vessels decorated with representations of the pods, and there are textile designs depicting parts of the peanut plant. A larger variety of nut in coastal sites is similar to one grown in the Orient today (Ames 1939, 46—8). A smaller variety is also found, as from a site at Supe, belonging to the Early Ancón Period (ca. 700 BC). Also from the Cupisnique levels at Huaca Priéta. Well-preserved peanuts were found in a mummy bundle from Paracas Necropolis. Plant and pods were depicted on Early Nazca textiles.

Steward 1949, 742—3. Considers that the quality of evidence for diffusion is maximal in “actual American domesticated plants, whose identity and genetic connection with Old World species can be established beyond reasonable doubt.” These include “perhaps peanuts.”

Pickersgill and Heiser 1978, 813. In Tehuacán, Mexico, from Palo Blanco phase (2200—1250 BP) and later. It is much older in Peru.

Anderson 1952, 167. Primitive forms of the peanut have come from ancient Peruvian tombs. “Yet up until the Peruvian excavations the experts were certain that it came from the Old World, so widely is it disseminated there, with every appearance of having been grown for a very long time in Asia and Africa. In fact, the old argument used to be whether it came from Africa or from Asia.” “The most primitive type of peanut, the same narrow little shoestrings which are found in the Peruvian tombs, are commonly grown today, not in Peru, but in South China. How did they get there?”

Skvortzov 1920, 142—5. Considered the peanut present in Asia before European influence.

Krapovickas 1968, 527. Despite diffusionists’ claims for the peanut in China before European discovery, Merrill’s anti-diffusionist interpretation has been generally accepted. Krapovickas compiled names for the nut from Native American groups in the Amazon Basin, the area where botanists think the plant was first domesticated. There it bears such names as: Tupí, mandobi, manobi, mandowi, mundubi, and munui; Pilaá, mandovi; Chiriguano, manduvi; and Guaraní, manubi. Black (1988) compared these with names for the peanut in India (from Kirtikar et al. 1953, 754—65), Sanskrit, andapi, Hindi, munghali, and Gujarati, mandavi.

Ping-ti Ho 1955, 191—201. No earlier (pre-European) diffusion of such crops, including the peanut, is justified by the evidence from China.

Johannessen and Wang Siming 1998, 18. Some government archaeologists in Beijing accept a date for peanuts of ca. AD 300 as well as two finds of Neolithic age peanuts. 22—4. Johannessen has examined the two excavated specimens of early peanuts and describes them. One was from Jiangxi province, found in a Neolithic house site between two pots (Chinese source citations) and dated ca. 4400 BP. It is virtually impossible that these specimens were modern and “accidentally” came to rest in this position by falling down a rodent hole or that they were introduced by plowing of the surface, as suggested by at least one botanist. A second peanut is also Neolithic in age, from Zhejiang province. Although K.C. Chang several times referred to these two Neolithic specimens, he also, paradoxically, asserted at one point a “post-European” date for them. A written record of the peanut is found in a 300-AD volume on the flora of South China and North Vietnam, although there are some problems with the description. Also, some Chinese scientists acknowledge (personal communications) that the peanut is old, but insist it was domesticated in China (all wild relatives of the peanut are from South America). 25. Safford (1917) found peanuts of the same type as those from Ancón, Peru, to be present in modern China. Johannessen found that the same Ancón varieties still are found in farmers’ markets in China.

Chen Wenhua 1994, 59. Reports not only basic facts regarding the two Neolithic discoveries from the 1960s but also that subsequently 10 or more peanuts came from the tomb of a Western Han emperor (before 200 AD).

Safford 1917, 17. The species of peanut found in graves at Ancón, Peru, resembles specimens collected in southern Mexico by Collins. The same form is cultivated in China, Formosa, and India, “where it was probably introduced at a very early date.”

Bretschneider 1882, 64. In the midst of a discussion of how Chinese characters expressing a plant name often relate to the appearance of the plant, etc., he cites “Arachis hypogaea, the ground-nut, is called [3 Chinese characters] lo hua sheng (‘the flowers fall down and grow’), the same concept as its Greek name also denotes; the fruit growing (seemingly) in the ground.”

Bretschneider (1892, 167) gives a Chinese name for A. hypogaea from a Japanese source (Matsumura) which may or may not reflect usage in classical Chinese sources.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 153—4. Arachis hypogea, Linn. syn. A. Africana Loureir and A. Asiatica Loureir. English: American earth-nut, groundnut, earthnut, manilla-nut, pea-nut. Sanskrit: buchanaka. Indigenous to South America; extensively cultivated in India for oil.

Argemone mexicana

Origin: Mexico

Summary: At least six Sanskrit names for the plant are known, and Chinese names may also have been identified. The plant is mentioned in an Indian medical treatise dated to the 1st or 2nd century AD. Seeds have been recovered by archaeologists in sites in India dated 1100 BC, before 800 BC, and 100-300 AD. Overlapping medical uses are documented for Mexico and India.

Transfer: Asia from Mexico

Time of transfer: before 1100 BC

Grade: A

Sources: Argemone mexicana—Mexican poppy, prickle poppy

Nadkarni 1914, 41. Argemone mexicana. Sanskrit: brahmadandi. Eng.: yellow thistle; prickly or Mexican poppy. Common everywhere in India on roadsides and waste places. Much medical use is discussed.

Watt 1888—1893, I, 305—6. Reports Sanskrit names (srigála kantá and brahmadandi). The second is confirmed by Nadkarni {1914, 910}, and cf. “bramadundie” and “bramhadundie” in Watson 1868, 78, as well as “bramhie” or “bramh” in Balfour 1871—1873, I, 177.

Chopra et al. 1956, 23. Sanskrit: srigala-kantaka. Naturalized throughout India up to 5,000 ft.

Torkelson 1999, 1646. Sanskrit: satyanasi, srigala-kantaka.

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 559. Sanskrit: bhramhadandi, swarnaksiri.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 66. Sanskrit: swarnakshiri, bhramadendi. Medicinal uses.

Saraswat, Sharma, and Saini (1994, 262, 333, 334) report mention of this plant in the medical treatise Bhava Prakasha in the Sushruta Samhita (1st/2nd century AD) where two Sanskrit names of the plant are given as swarnakshiri and kauparni.

Saraswat et al. (1994) also report archaeological finds of A. mexicana seeds at the Narhan site in Uttar Pradesh belonging to the Black-and-Red-Ware phase (ca. 1300—800 BC) and also the Black-Slipped-Ware phase (ca. 800—600 BC). Moreover, Saraswat et al. (1981, 284) found charred seeds of the plant at a site in the Punjab that yielded radiocarbon dates of 1100 BC and 1060 BC (Pokharia and Saraswat 1998—1999, 90, 100).

Pandey 2000, 271. “The Mexican prickle poppy, is naturalized throughout India.”

Balfour explained its presence as due to introduction from Mexico in modern ship ballast (1871—1873, I, 177). However, Watt (1888—1893, I, 305—6) was puzzled by the supposition that it was only recently acquired, noting, “But for its known history [sic], no one could hesitate in pronouncing it wild and indigenous . . .. It has even received by adaptation vernacular names known to oriental literature before the introduction of the plant,” that is, before the era of European discovery.

Aristida subspicata

Origin: South America

Summary: Found dominant in areas near Nukuhiva, the Marquesas Islands, where it was credited by Brown with having been inadvertently imported by pre-European Polynesians. Embeddedness of the plant in local custom confirms his judgment.

Transfer: Americas to the Marquesas Islands

Time of transfer: before European discovery in the 18th century

Grade: B

Source:Aristida subspicata

Brown 1931, 79. “The presence of this American grass [Aristida subspicata] as a dominant element in the prairie of Nukuhiva [the Marquesas] is of interest. It is not unlikely that it was unintentionally brought in by the early inhabitants, possibly at the same time that the wild pineapple was introduced” (i.e., before European discovery).

Artemisia vulgaris

Origin: temperate Eurasia

Summary: Widely distributed in Eurasia as well as in Mesoamerica and Peru. Closely associated with the Greek goddess Artemis, with detailed similarities in customs involving the medical treatment of women and children and the process of childbirth. Also, the plant served for magical protection of travelers on the water.

Transfer: to nuclear America

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B plus

Sources: Artemisia vulgaris (syn. mexicana)—mugwort, wormwood

Roys 1931, 310. Mayan: “zizim. Artemisia mexicana, Willd. Agenjo del país. A. vulgaris, L.” [Apparently considered equivalent.] The Motul dictionary says: “There are wormwood plants much fresher and more fragrant than these here (in Spain). Their little leaves are longer and more slender. The Indians grow them for their fragrance and to please” (from Landa, Tozzer 1941, 194, which depends on Lundell’s botanical judgment: “This is probably Artemisia vulgaris L. zizim“).

Hernandez 1942 [before 1580], I, 291. In his Anonima mechoacanense, his modern botanical editors identify “Artemisia mexicana?,” “Iztauhyatl.”

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 150. Center of maximum diversity, “temperate N. Hemisphere.”

Dastur n.d., 41. Distribution: Western Himalayas to Sikkim, Assam, the hills of western and southern India.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 73. (syn. nilagirica). Sanskrit: barha grnthika (sic), vishirnakhya. Medicinal uses.

Bretschneider 1892, 247. A name that occurs in the Shi king (document) has been correctly identified by Legge with the mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, L. It is one of the plants that the Chinese employ for their moxa.

Mackenzie 1924, 201—4. The plant representing, and even being, the goddess Artemis among the Greeks was mugwort or wormwood. Her Mexican equivalent was Chalchiuhtlicue. Her mountain near Mexico City was called Yauhqueme, which signifies “covered with mugwort.” She dwelt on that mountain. In like manner Artemis dwelt on Mount Taygetus and her herb Artemisia grew there. One of the Greek names for the plant is taygetes. (Citing Rendel Harris, The Ascent of Olympus, 75.) She was a furnisher of medicinal herbs, she assisted at childbirth, and the herb was a child’s medicine as well as a woman’s medicine. The herb was also supposed to protect, especially mariners, against tempests. Chalchiuhtlicue did the same and had the same water/marsh associations, herbal connections, and childbirth links. Artemisia was also in use in China as a medicinal herb “from time immemorial.” The mugwort cure and associated goddess also reached Kamchatka. The lotus in Asia and the white waterlily in the Americas were cult symbols associated with (Aztec) Chalchiuhtlicue.

Yacovleff and Herrera 1934—1935, 280. Artemisia (Franseria artemisioides Willd.) A four-foot-high bush in Peru. The whole plant exhales a soft perfume. Mixed with alcohol, the leaves are used as an anti-rheumatic, or in hot baths for the feet. Also used anciently in preparation of textile dye.

According to K.T. Harper (personal communication 2004), Chinese scientists have recently extracted a useful anti-malarial chemical from a green, herbaceous mugwort very similar to vulgaris.

Panagiotakopulu 2000, 35. Substances used as insecticides in storerooms against insects and other pests (in Eurasia) include Artemisia spp.

Asclepias curassavica

Origin: Americas

Summary: A Sanskrit name in India, where the plant is now naturalized, puts it there one or two millennia ago. It was also considered to be pre-European in Hawaii and the Marquesas, which would probably mean transfer from the Americas (although one desires further confirmatory evidence to increase confidence).

Case 1: Transfer: to India

Time of transfer: before AD 1000

Grade: C

Case 2: Transfer: to eastern Polynesia

Time of transfer: pre-European discovery

Grade: B plus

Sources: Asclepias curassavica—milkweed, blood flower

Langdon 1982. Marquesans on Fatuhiva used the word for cotton (vevai) to refer also to this shrub, which is of American origin and “probably of aboriginal introduction in the Marquesas” (citing Brown 1935). On the nearby island of Hivaoa another term for cotton, uruuru, was involved in the native name there for this same shrub.

Safford, 1905, 191. Of American origin but has found its way to almost all tropical countries. Its root possesses emetic properties and leaf juice is a remedy for intestinal worms.

Roys 1931, 215, 318. “Mayan: Anal, Anal-kak, Anal-xiu. Asclepias curassavica, L. Span. Cancerillo. Milkweed. Prescribed for an abscess of the breast.” 223. May also be named x-canzel-ak. 228. Chac-anal-kak is same. 229. “Chac-hulubte-kak. Asclepias curassavica, a synonym for Anal.” 257. “Kokob-xiu. Asclepias curassavica, L. ” 277. “Pol-kuch, or X-pol-cuchil. Asclepias curassavica, L.”

Brown 1935, 237. Part of a large genus centering in the Americas. A. curassavica is a pantropic weed of American origin; probably of aboriginal introduction in the Marquesas. The native name is vevai, or pua kirata, or uruuru vai kirata.

Hillebrand 1888, 300. Called wild ipecac. A native of Mexico and the West Indies. A native Hawaiian name may indicate pre-European presence.

Watt 1888—1893, I, 343. According to some authors, the soma plant of Sanskrit authors is A. curassavica—indigenous in the West Indies, but quite naturalized in India. Found as a weed in various parts of India.

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 560. Sanskrit: kakatundi.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 75—6. Sanskrit: kakatundi. Vernacular: blood flower, false ipecac.

Chopra et al. 1956, 28. Naturalized in many parts of India.

Aster divaricates

Origin: Americas

Summary: This is one of the species imported to Hawaii in pre-European (aboriginal) days that Hillebrand identified.

Transfer: to Hawaii

Time of transfer: before European discovery of Hawaii

Grade: B

Source: Aster divaricates

Hillebrand 1888, XCIII. The editor, W.F. Hillebrand, notes that his father changed his mind about some plants that he had assumed to be introduced after Cook but finally concluded they “may in reality have been of earlier introduction.” But he failed to go back and change the symbols in the manuscript indicating the fact. Here young Hillebrand says “Of 9 non-endemic species which existed before the discovery . . . one” was Aster divaricatus (sic). “Not common; collected first by Chamisso. The species to which Gray (cit.) refers our plant is found in many of the warmer portions of the American Continent, both east and west.”

Bixa orellana

Origin: Brazil

Summary: Distributed in Peruvian archaeological sites before our era and in Mesoamerica at the Conquest. In Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. At first assumed by Indian botanists to be native to India because it was so thoroughly naturalized. Used as a colorant and as medicine. It has two Sanskrit names, implying considerable age in India.

Transfer: assumed to have reached the Pacific islands, Southeast Asia, and then India as a progressive series of movements, and then on to East Africa from India.

Time of transfer: reaching India in time to enter the Sanskrit lexicon, no later than 1000 AD.

Grade: A minus

Sources: Bixa orellana—achiote, arnatto, annatto

McBryde 1945, 148. Widely used in Guatemala for food coloring.

Towle 1961, 67. Found in Peru in a burial at Ancón and elsewhere. Not native to Peru.

Donkin 1974, 33—56. He assumes post-Columbian distribution to Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific islands. In 1832, Roxburgh thought the plant indigenous to India.

Newcomb 1963, 41. A monotypic genus of Brazil, used as a coloring agent and flavorer. Occurs in the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia also.

Roys 1931. Mayan: kuxub. Achiote, arnatto.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 177. Sanskrit: brahmi. Grows luxuriantly in many parts of India, wild. Seeds and milk-like sap are used in native medicine. “The plant was introduced from Mexico in (ships’) ballast.” [Johannessen notes: This plant is commonly reproduced by inserting a branch in soil where it grows without further care.]

Pullaiah 2002, I, 97. Sanskrit: sinduri. Medicinal uses. Vernacular name: anotto.

Shady et al. 2003. Achiote was among the species of domesticated plants excavated at the ancient site of Caral in coastal Peru, which is radiocarbon-dated between ca. 2700 and 2000 BC.

Cajanus cajan

Origin: India

Summary: Despite its Old World origin, the plant is widely distributed in native agriculture in the tropical New World, and C. Sauer suspected its pre-Columbian presence. Further information is required.

Transfer: Americas from Old World

Time of transfer: uncertain

Grade: incomplete

Sources; Cajanus cajan (syn. C. indicus; syn. Cytisus cajan)—pigeon pea

Newcomb 1963, 40. Originally of the Old World, yet in the New World tropics it is a widely spread shrub. Grows in native gardens in the West Indies, the Amazon, and tropical South America in general. Maybe it was introduced (to the Americas) by Europeans, but, if that explanation is adopted, the plant’s present wide dissemination in the hemisphere is strange.

Watt 1888—1893, VI, Part I, 364. Cajanus indicus. Pigeon-pea. Apparently a native of equatorial Africa. Cultivated in most areas of India.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 76. Center of maximum gene diversity: India.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 108. Sanskrit: adhaki, tuvari.

Canavalia sp.

Origin: New World (Old World)

Summary: There are two species, C. ensiformis and C. obtusifolia, that are domesticated, but since reports sometimes are by non-biologists, they do not give us much confidence in the accuracy of their distinction, so we refer only to Canavalia sp. The two species are said to be from the Old World according to some and the New World according to others, with the American evidence somewhat stronger. Vavilov assigned it to his Mexican/Central American center of origin, and there are twice as many American species of Canavalia as in the Old World. On the other hand, there is a Sanskrit name for Canavalia ensiformis in India, and the genus is found by botanists distributed throughout the eastern part of India from the Himalaya to Ceylon and Siam.

At pre-ceramic Huaca Priéta, Peru (2500 BC), there may have been two species of Canavalia found, together with Phaseolus lunatus. Abundant seeds assigned to Canavalia sp. were also recovered from the cemetery at Paracas, Peru (late BC times). However, one botanist in the late 19th century dismissed the possibility of these being jackbeans because of color differences in the seeds. In absence of comparative plant material from Peru (in that day), he noted a similarity in color between his specimens and the seeds of C. obtusifolia, a species he considered “native to Asia.” [Note that the actual radiocarbon date at Huaca Priéta for the plant layer is 2578 to 2470 BC, according to Yen (1963), which calibrates to 3200—3070 BC.]

It has been claimed that a wild strand species, C. maritima, is spread easily by sea and thus could have reached the opposite hemisphere by natural means. The supposition is that C. maritima was ancestral to domesticated Canavalia. But even if dispersion of C. maritima by sea were a fact, accounting for the same domesticated species in both Old and New Worlds would require two separate domestication events in which the strand plant was carried by sea to shore, then picked up by humans and taken to the inland habitat preferred by the domesticates, where evolutionary processes (including selection by cultivators) continued in exact parallel to produce identical outcomes. Those seem highly unlikely assumptions. On the other hand, we already know (see below) that Phaseolus lunatus, which was associated with Canavalia spp. in early Peru, was also present with Canavalia seeds in an archaeological site in India dated to 1600 BC (which accounts for a Sanskrit name). It is a far more economical explanation to suppose that the voyagers who carried the lima bean from Peru to India, also carried Canavalia ensiformis (or C. obtusifolia).

Transfer: Americas to South Asia (or possibly vice versa)

Time of transfer: before 1600 BC

Grade: A minus

Sources: Canavalia sp.—swordbean, jackbean

Bretschneider 1892, 164. Among pulses illustrated, especially in a Japanese compilation (that may be following classic Chinese precedent) was C. ensiformis.

Dressler 1953, 126. Piper considers it “practically certain that the plant is native to the Americas.” Its nearest relatives appear to be Mexican, Central American, and West Indian in distribution. Vavilov assigns it to the Mexican/Central American center of origin (on the basis of diversity) with a query.

McBryde 1945, 147—8. Its origin has been subject to much disagreement. Some say Old World. McBryde has seen archaeological evidence in Peru that seems to indicate that this was the commonest bean of that region in pre-Columbian times, dating from pre-ceramic cultures and probably antedating the lima bean. According to Bukasov (1930) 24 of the species of Canavalia are American and only 13 from the Old World.

Martí­nez M. 1978, 110—11. Miranda (1976, II, 19) reports only one wild species of Canavalia from Chiapas in his collections, C. villosa, a wild species. Yet C. ensiformis is one of the most abundant plants found in Martí­nez’ archaeological remains. It was usually mixed with the regular bean, Phaseolus (vulgaris) which it resembles.

C. Sauer 1950, VI, 499. The problem (of pre-Columbian distribution in Asia) is raised by the jackbean, or swordbean, widely cultivated throughout the Pacific and “always considered to be of Old World origin.” It “is now known from prehistoric sites along the coasts of both South America and Mexico.” He now considers the jackbean a New World domesticate.

Schwerin 1970. Proposes that African farmer/fishermen blown across the Atlantic introduced cotton, bottle gourds, and jackbeans between 8000—5700 BC.

Shady 1997, 18. The jackbean (Canavalia sp.) has been excavated at nine different Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) sites in Peru.

Towle 1961, 45. L. Kaplan reported that Canavalia sp. was present with Phaseolus lunatus from the early pre-ceramic levels through those of the ceramic-bearing Cupisnique Period at Huaca Priéta. Three species of Canavalia were found at Huaca Priéta, Peru. Seeds of this species were also recovered from Paracas and another site; however, Harms (1922) dismissed the possibility of some of these being jackbean because of color differences. “In lieu of comparative plant material from Peru, he notes a similarity in color between his specimens and the seeds of Canavalia obtusifolia, a species native to Asia.

Newcomb 1963, 35. J. Sauer worked on this genus, which produces a large pod in the wild plant (C. maritima?). Sauer believes this to be pan-tropic, and it is a strand plant. There is evidence for separate domestications in New and Old Worlds. Lends itself to natural dispersal by reason of its growth habitat. 61—62. J. Sauer has studied this genus. Both New and Old World cultivated types derive from a strand plant, C. maritima, which has large edible beans. In both hemispheres “somebody got interested in this plant” and carried it inland from its native habitat. But strand plants are different because they are pan-tropic. Other plants with similar species or the same species occuring in both Old and New Worlds are more difficult to explain. Genera that occur in both hemispheres are much easier to account for than species. [Note that the actual radiocarabon date at Huaca Priéta for the plant layer 2578—2470 BC, according to Yen (1963), which calibrates to 3420—3070 BC.]

Watt 1888—1893, II, 197. Sword bean. Sanskrit: shimbí. Found in the eastern part of India from the Himalayas to Ceylon and Siam, wild or cultivated. Both green pods and beans are eaten.

Canna edulis

Origin: South America

Summary: This species is cultivated for its edible starchy rootstock. The stock is pictured in ceramic effigies and also drawn on pots in coastal Peru. Macrofossil remains have been excavated from as early as 4300 BP. C. edulis has a pre-Columbian name in Mayan and grows wild in Yucatan, where it may have been cultivated. It may also have grown on Easter Island before discovery.

It was reported in China in AD 300, and in India early enough to bear two Sanskrit names. In India and Bhutan the tuber is eaten, and it also has medicinal uses. It grew in Polynesia and as far west as Fiji. In Burma, its hard seeds were used as sacred beads; in Mexico in colonial times as rosary beads. In Mexico, Hernandez (pre-1580) pictured a plant with a Náhuatl (Mexican) name that appears to be the same as C. indica.

Case 1: Transfer: to Eastern and Central Pacific islands

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to East and South Asia

Time of transfer: before AD 300

Grade: A minus

Sources: Canna edulis (syn. indica, syn. patens, syn. orientalis)—achira, platonillo, Indian shot

Towle 1961, 132. Used in the Nazca era (ca. 1st—9th century AD). 33. Both this C. edulis and C. indica go under the name achira. (Today both are considered synonymous.) Cultivated for edible tubers. Vases of unspecified date representing the rootstocks have been found in archaeological sites on the coast.

Shady 1997, 18. Excavated at seven different sites of the Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) in Peru. [Note that the actual radiocarbon date at Huaca Priéta for the plant layer is 2578—2470 BC, according to Yen (1963), which calibrates to 3200—3070 BC.]

Bronson 1966, 256. Canna edulis grows wild in the Mexican Peten, and he thinks it possible that the root was cultivated or utilized by early Maya.

Roys 1931, 233. “Chankalá. Canna edulis, Ker-Gawl. Lengua de dragón.”

Brücher 1989, 40—1. There are no Mesoamerican archaeological finds, but remains have been found in Peru (citing Ugent and Pozorski) at 4300 BP.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 168. Center of diversity was probably northwestern South America.

Nadkarni 1914, 77. Canna indica. Sanskrit: sarvajaya. Eng.: Indian shot. Common all over India in gardens.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 116. Canna indica. Sanskrit:devakuli.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 43. Sanskrit: silarumba. Much cultivated by the Burmese for the seeds, which they use for sacred beads.

Yacovleff and Herrera, 311—12. Achira, Canna indica. Shown in Nazca and Chimú art.

Brown 1931, 169—170. Throughout Polynesia to Fiji. “Native of tropical America; pantropic; of rather late introduction in the Marquesas, where it occurs both naturalized and cultivated in nearly every inhabited valley.” [Unclear what he intends by “rather late.”]

Watt 1888—1893, II, 102. Sanskrit: Sarvajayá, silarumba. Related to chiefly Hindi names. Several varieties are common all over India and Ceylon, mainly in gardens. Medicinal uses. Rootstock is edible in almost all the species. “From the root of one kind, C. edulis, a nutritious aliment is prepared,” according to Drury.

Bretschneider (1882, 38) lists plants in the document Nan fang Ts’ao Mu Chang. The author was Ki Han, a Minister of State in the Tsin (Jin) Dynasty, AD 290—307, who had previously been Governor of Canton. The 80-species list includes: banana, Canna indica, and “sweet-potato (batatas).”

Hernandez 1942—1946, III, 735—7. His tozcuitlapilxochitl, which others call cocoyotzin, is an herb that was taken some time ago to Spain. It is called there litospermo arundináceo because it has leaves and fruit that are white at first and then (turn) black. The lithospermum arundinaceum of the 16th century is Coix lacryma-jobi L., it seems, from the East Indies, and notable for its hard, spherical fruits. (Coix lacryma-jobi is a medicinal plant cultivated in South Asia under the Sanskrit name jargadi—see Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 563). “It is extraordinary, if the plant was introduced by the Spaniards, that already by the time of Hernandez’ visit to Mexico it had common Mexican (Náhuatl) names.” Actually, of the two figures shown by Hernandez under this name, one is, it appears [according to the modern botanists who edited this edition of Hernandez], a species of Canna (“C. indica L?”). Both genera, Coix and Canna, were anciently cultivated in Spain. [Johannessen observes: Coix is a grass and, in the hand, would not have had its leaves confused with canna.]

Mellén B. 1986, 133. “Achira” was found by Spanish visitors from South America as being present on Easter Island.

Cannabis sativa

Origin: Central Asia

Summary: Long used as a psychoactive drug in Asia, a signature chemical from the metabolic breakdown of this plant in the human body has been identified in Peruvian mummies dated from AD 100 to 1500.

Transfer: either India (via the Pacific?) or the Middle East (via the Atlantic?) to the Americas

Time of transfer: no later than AD 100

Grade: A

Sources: Cannabis sativa—hashish, marijuana, Indian hemp

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 561. Sanskrit: bhanga, vijaya

Chopra et al. 1956, 48. Sanskrit: ganjika, bhanga

Nadkarni 1914, 77. Cannabis sativa. Sanskrit: vijayâ, siddhapatri. Hindi: ganja. Arabic: kinnab. Native of western and central Asia. Now cultivated all over India and wild in the western Himalayas and Kashmir. The plant is sacred to the Hindus.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 71. Center of maximum diversity in Central Asia. 149. There is a wild form in Central Asia.

Jett (2004) reprises the literature on evidence for the mortuary use of hashish in the New World: “Hashish or Indian hemp (Cannabis sativa), a native of western Asia, carried the alkaloid delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinol (THC). The plant (commonly called “marijuana”), which has long been popular in the Middle East for its psychoactive effects, is generally assumed to have been a post-Columbian introduction to the warmer parts of the New World. However, Parsche, Balabanova, and Pirsig (1992b) found THC (along with cocaine and nicotine) in the tissues, teeth, and hair of ancient naturally mummified bodies from both the North Coast and the South Coast of Peruóin 39 of the 60 cadavers tested and in a corporal distribution indicating ante-mortem use. These mummies ranged in date from about AD 115 to AD 1500.”

Balabanova, Parsche, and Pirsig 1992b. Residues from hashish and cannabis were identified chemically in cranial hair of pre-Columbian Peruvian mummies.

Parsche, Balabanova, and Pirsig 1993, 503. They analyzed hair, skin, muscle, brain, teeth, and bones from 72 Peruvian (as well as11 Egyptian ) mummies and found chemical residues of cocaine, nicotine, and hashish and their metabolites in both sets of mummies (16 of the Peruvian corpses revealed cocaine; 26 had tobacco traces; and 20 showed hashish).

Díaz 2003, 80. Marijuana (cannabis) may have been introduced to Mexico during the colonial period as a source of fiber. Shortly afterward, the plant was used for ritual purposes by indigenous groups. Famous Mexican scientist Alzate described its ritual use with a beautiful Náhuatl name, pipiltzintzintli [which actually implies a pre-Columbian use, although it does not guarantee it].

Addendum: Too late to enter in detail: Jett 2002.

Capsicum spp. in general

Sources: Capsicum spp. in general

Nicolson et al. 1988, 246. They believe that “the taxonomy of Capsicum is still far from resolution.” The Hortus Malabaricus name for C. annuum, capo-molago, occurs in Kerala today as kappamulaku (kappa meaning ‘ship,’ i.e., introduced by Europeans, and mulaku, a general term for ‘hot chilies.’

Brücher 1989, 166. A capsicum, flowers and fruits, appears on a stela from Chavin, Peru, 1st millennium BC. 168. The genus Capsicum includes 30 wild-growing species, five of which were domesticated by distinct Indian tribes. Soviets claim a Central American gene center for Capsicum. Others suppose concentration in the low mountain region of South Brazil, where a dozen species grow, 8 more from Bolivia/NW Argentina, 7 from Peru/Ecuador, 4 more from Mexico. Phylogeny is complicated.

Bailey 1935, I, s. v. Capsicum (page not noted). Originally from tropical America, but escaped from cultivation in the Old World tropics where it was once supposed to be indigenous [a sign that it was thoroughly naturalized and thus old].

Yarnell 1970, 225. Earliest archaeological remains: Peru, 4000 BP; Southern Mexico, 8000; Northern Mexico, 9000.

Shady 1997, 18. Capsicum sp. has been excavated at nine different sites of the Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) in Peru.

Bronson, 1966, 262. McQuown and Kaufmann have reconstructed ten plant names in proto-Mayan, perhaps at about 2600 BC [more likely somewhat later]. Among them is ‘chili’.

Langdon 1988, 334. Capsicum was reported in Tahiti as far back as 1768 by Bougainville, who reached that island only eight months after its European discoverer, Wallis.

Heyerdahl 1963, 31. The chili plant was listed by Knoche (1919, 169) as one of the aboriginal cultigens on Easter Island, known as poro-poro.

Newcomb 1963, 41. In the Solomon Islands, chilies are used, and there is grown a curious form of a very primitive botanical kind. ‘Turkish’ area usage is also very strong. This includes paprika, which does not have a known equivalent in the New World. Names are very confused. Spaniards did not consume much chili and the Portuguese even less. So how did the chili get into SE Europe and the adjacent Near East, India, and southwestern China? Note the difficult question of some of the peppers of the Guinea Coast, e.g. malagueta or ‘grains of paradise.’ The term pimienta is used in South America for black pepper. This probably has Brazil ties. Note the wide usage of Capsicum in Korea; also old in parts of East Asia such as West China, which is remote and inaccessible. Yet, chilies are not used in coastal China, which was more accessible to the New World. This is a curious pattern if one assumes Iberian introducation to the Far East.

Johannessen and Wang Siming 1998, 27. A Chinese written character of pre-European occurrence designates “chili pepper.” The plant is feral. One form in south Yunnan develops into a moderate-sized tree (citing personal communication from a biologist at Yunnan University, 1996). [Cf. the sculpture shown by S. Gupta of a tree-sized capsicum plant in India.] Furthermore, the chili pepper plant is shown in Java on ancient panels on a temple wall constructed before the 10th century AD at the Prambanan Temple complex, east of Yogyakarta (see Johannessen and Wang Siming, Fig. 11). Besides, a considerable age for this plant in Asia is implied to account for its use in the daily cuisine of almost the entire Chinese population, especially in the south. The use of the same condiment in the diet of South India implies similar antiquity there.

For additional references to Capsicum species in the medieval literature of India and Egypt, see Johannessen and Parker 1989b, 16.

Capsicum annuum

Origin: Americas

Summary: Three Sanskrit names were used for one or another Capsicum, and C. annuum was mentioned in a Hindu text (in a medicinal context) dating no later than the 8th century AD. It is mentioned in the Siva and Vamana Puranas, dated ca. the 6th—8th century AD. The plant and fruit are shown in sculpted art of Java and India in medieval times. The species was also found growing in Tahiti and Easter Island at a time indicating aboriginal cultivation of the crop. Both C. annuum and C. frutescens are cultivated very widely and play key roles in the cuisines of East, South, and Southeast Asia.

Case 1: Transfer: to South and Southeast Asia

Time of transfer: no later than the 8th century

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: to eastern Polynesia

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B plus

Sources: Capsicum annuum—chili pepper

García-Bárcena 2000, 14. C. annuum was found domesticated in the Tehuacán Valley of Mexico from 4100 BC, although it was being collected in the wild long before that.

Gupta, 1996. 49—50. Quotes Heiser re. arrival of Capsicum in tropical Asia from the Americas after Columbus. Regarding the 16th-century AD introduction of chilies by the Portuguese, “this obviously is not true. Chilies have been grown and used in India much earlier, as chilies are mentioned in Siva and Vamana Puranas, which are dated ca. 6th—8th century AD.” Mention is made in Siva Purana that chilies (Capsicum) are an ingredient in a remedy for consumption. In spite of the importance of this plant in the diet, the author has seen them depicted only at Jambukeshvara Shiva temple at Tiruchirapalli, Karnatiaka. In all panels showing Capsicum, the flowers and leaves are true to nature (plates 55, 56) and not only showing fully developed fruits but also the different stages in their development are sculpted. In plate 55, the only discrepancy is regarding the large size of the plant motif showing a rishi [figure] sitting under it. The Capsicum plant is usually not more than 70—80 cms. in height.” [Note above, Johannessen’s mention of a Yunnan Capsicum growing as large as a “moderate-sized tree.”]

Towle 1961, 132. Used in Nazca era (1st—9th centuries AD).

Roys 1931, 229. Chac-ic in Mayan. 247. “Ic. Capsicum annuum, L. Chile.”

Watt 1888—1893, II, 134—9. “The greatest confusion exists in Indian literature as to the cultivated species of Capsicum.” “Much remains still to be done in order to clear up the ambiguities which exist in the literature of the Indian Capsicums.” Sanskrit: marich-phalam. Arabic and Persian terms are related: filfile and filfile-surkh, pilpile-surkh. This annual is cultivated throughout India. Supposed to have been recently, comparatively speaking, introduced from South America. According to the best authorities, this and the other species of Capsicum, now cultivated in India, have no Sanskrit names (sic). “Although not natives of India, the cultivated forms, at the present date, are everywhere met with and constitute an indispensable ingredient in native curry.”

Nadkarni 1914, 86. Capsicum annuum and C. frutescens. Sanskrit: marichiphalam. Eng.: Spanish pepper, red pepper, cayenne pepper. Very largely cultivated throughout the plains of India and in the hills in some districts.

Torkelson 1999, 1675. Sanskrit: katuvira, marichi-phalam

Pullaiah 2002, I, 121. Sanskrit: katuirah, rakta maricha. Used medicinally.

For references to Capsicum in additional historical sources from India and Egypt, see Johannessen and Parker 1989b, 16.

See also material under Capsicum sp. in general.

Capsicum frutescens

Origin: Mesoamerica

Summary: Art in India display and ethnographic reports in China document Capsicums so tall they can only be perennials, and C. frutescens is perennial. A Sanskrit name is recorded. The plant is widely cultivated in Asia today.

Transfer: Asia from the Americas

Time of transfer: by medieval times

Grade: A

Sources: Capsicum frutescens (syn. C. minimum)—chili pepper

Pickersgill and Heiser 1977, 823. Unequivocally a domesticated plant in the Tehuacán Valley, Mexico, from the Santa Maria period, 2900—2200 BP.

Martínez M. 1978, 122. Miranda’s survey of flora of Chiapas found this species. Capsicum spp. were found lightly in Martinez’ archaeological remains of 1st century date.

Roys 1931, 264. Mayan. “Max, Max-ic, or Putun-ic. Capsicum frutescens, L. Chile del monte.”

Brücher 1989, 46. C. frutescens is widespread, from the southeasterm U.S. to Argentina. It has a wide distribution as a wild or semi-domesticated plant in lowland tropical America and, secondarily, in southeastern Asia. It is also grown in India and throughout the islands of Polynesia. 170. Probably domesticated in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Nicolson et al. 1988, 246. The Kerala name for this particular species is valiyakappamulaku, or more commonly, valiyamulaku. (Kappa in the former means ‘ship,’ i.e., ‘foreign.’)

Pullaiah 2002, I, 122—3. Sanskrit: katuvirah (this name is one consonant different from the name for Capsicum annuum).

In general, it may be noted that when sources refer to large or tree-sized Capsicums, as they occasionally do in Asia, they probably are speaking of C. frutescens, because only a perennial would reach such a size, and the perennial species is frutescens.

See also material under C. annuum.

Carica papaya

Origin: Central America

Summary: Found in the Marquesas Islands, and evidence indicates its cultivation/use was aboriginal. Presence of (multiple) Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, and Persian names for the papaya, plus the plant’s widespread naturalization in South Asia, strongly indicates that it had also spread to Asia long before 16th-century European commerce commenced.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to Polynesia

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B plus

Case 2: Transfer: to South Asia, uncertain

Time of transfer: uncertain

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Carica papaya—papaya, pawpaw

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 188. Lowlands of Central America somewhere between southern Mexico and Nicaragua. Not known wild. [However, Johannessen comments that wild—feral?—papaya does occur and is used commercially as a meat tenderizer in Central America.]

Nadkarni 1914, 87. Carica papaya. Eng.: papaw tree. Hindi: popaiyah. Pers. and Arab: amba-hindi.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 125—6. Brahmairandah, eranda, karkati. medicinal uses.

Heyerdahl 1964, 127. A native of the New World. A large form grew from Mexico to Peru. A smaller, poorly known lot of indigenous South American species were cultivated through the Andean area to northern Chile.

Brown 1935, 190. Carica papaya. At least two varieties are present in the Marquesas. Vi inana (or inata, “papaya of the people”) is recognized by Marquesans as an ancient food plant, doubtless of aboriginal introduction. Its fruit is smaller and less palatable than the vi oahu which is claimed by the natives to have been introduced from Hawaii by early missionaries. Sap of the papaya is used as a poultice. “A native of tropical America; of aboriginal introduction in Polynesia.”

Tozzer 1941, 199. The papaya tree and fruit are described as in common use among the Maya, and Footnote 1085 identifies it as C. Papaya L.

Lundell 1938, 43. “It must have been known to the ancient Maya.”

Safford 1905, 215—6. A native of tropical America, but it has become established throughout the entire tropical world.

Roys 1931, 236. Chich-put (the h‘s in chich indicate ‘ch explosive’). C. papaya. This is the wild form. Fruit said to be inedible. 280. “Put. Carica papaya, L. Papayo.”

Pandey 2000, 280. C. papaya, from Central America, is one species “naturalized throughout India.”

Bretschneider 1892, 300. Legge takes the mu kua to be the papaya, but he is mistaken. The mu kua of the (Chinese) classics is undoubtedly the quince.

Heyerdahl 1996, 149—57. In the Marquesas (Hivaoa), Von den Steinen discovered and then Linton and Heyerdahl both re-discovered, large, non-Polynesian stone carvings (radiocarbon-dated by charcoal beneath the statues at ca. AD 1300 showing long-tailed quadrupeds that could represent only felids and whose nearest analogs were on the monuments of San Agustín, Colombia. He connects these with several plant species of American origin that have been identified in remote locations in the Marquesas. They can only be accounted for by the arrival of voyagers. 219. Among these plants was the papaya (cf. Brown {1935} above).

Cassia fistula

Origin: Old World

Summary: This well-known medicinal plant (laxative) was used throughout Eurasia. Yet it also grew in North, South, and Middle America, as well as in Africa. Details of chronology and distribution in the Americas deserve further investigation.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Cassia fistula—purging cassia

MOBOT 2003. Distribution: North, South, and Middle America, and Africa.

Gupta 1996, 51. Represented in art as early as the Bhárhut Stupa, 2nd century BC.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 133. Sanskrit: aragvadha, suvarnaka. Medicinal uses.

Ceiba pentandra

Origin: Americas

Summary: It grew and was utilized in Java and South China by the 10th century. Its growth was also intentional and its utilization was widespread in Malabar, India, where two names in Sanskrit were used for the tree. It was also grown in the Marquesas Islands before Europeans arrived there.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to Southeast Asia

Time of transfer: by the 10th century

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to the Marquesas

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Sources: Ceiba pentandra, (syn. Eriodendron anfructuosum, syn. Bombax malabaricum, B. ceiba)—kapok, silk cotton tree, white silk cotton tree

Miranda 1952—1953, I, 268. The kapok of Java is Ceiba pentandra.

Aiyer 1956, 31. Listed as Bombax malabaricum. Mentioned in the Charaka Samhita as the silk cotton tree, no later than the 4th century AD (and possibly as early as 900 BC).

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 187. Toxopeus (1948) believed that this tree originated in an area later divided by the Atlantic, so it is native both to the Americas and Africa. However, Bakhuizen van den Brink (1933) and Chevalier (1949) thought that seeds may have come from America in prehistoric times. Its chromosome number (2n=72) suggest a polyploid origin, and, if this is correct, the kapok tree can only have arisen in the area where its parents occur. As all other Ceiba species are restricted to the Americas, this would indicate an American origin.

Nicolson et al. 1988, 74. Bombax ceiba is called mulelavu still today. Mul means ‘spines’ or ‘thorns’ and elavu means ‘silk cotton tree,’ i.e., spiny elavu. Known wild in Kerala. C. pentandra is discussed also, with equivalents B. pentandrum and Eriodendron anfratuosum (anfructuosum?). Panjimaram is still used as a name. Panji (the nj is pronounced as nasalized ‘y’) refers to cotton, and maram means ‘tree.’ Tree is only known in cultivation in Kerala.

Carter 1974, 212. This tree is portrayed in a Javanese sculpture at about AD 977.

Dastur n.d., 78. Most parts of the tree are used medicinally.

Schafer 1970, 64. In the Tang era (AD 600—900), the people of Hainan Island spun and wove kapok. It was called ‘tree floss,’ or ‘silk cotton,’ and was frequently mentioned in the historical sources as woven into blue and red fabrics by women of the Li people. It seems to have been ‘simal’ rather than a perennial cotton, “and indeed, this fiber, so difficult to weave and usually considered suitable only for stuffing quilts and pillows, is still spun and woven by the Li tribeswomen.”

Towle 1961, 65—6. “Much confusion has arisen as to the identity of the several genera involved.” Both Saffray (1876) and Rochebrune (1879, 345, 355) identify the fibers used for stuffing dolls and for wrapping small objects as the floss of Bombax ceiba. This species was earlier attributed to the tropical regions of Asia, but recently has been described as native to the Americas. However, the plant is not reported from Peru [?]. Harms (1922, 181), considering Bombax ceiba as a native of Asia, suggested that the fibers examined by Saffray and Rochebrune were those of Ceiba pentandra, a species of a related genus [now synonymous] and the source of the kapok of commerce. Again, this species, although a native of the Americas, like B. ceiba, is not found in Peru. However, two other bombacaceous species, B. ruizii and Chorisia insignis, are found in northern Peru and the valleys of the central Andes. Both of these produce floss, that of the latter closely resembling the fibers of Ceiba pentandra. It is quite probable [sic; this suggestion is not defended by Towle] that the fibers examined by Saffray and Rochebrune were from one of the other of these two plants.

De Prez 1935, 60. Kapok trees are represented on four Javanese monuments dating to different periods of time. Particularly, two reliefs from the pool of Djalatounda, situated at the residence of Sourabaya, are dated to about AD 977 (see one illustrated as his Fig. 19). Those trees bear undeniable resemblance to the Javanese kapok tree, Ceiba pentandra (L) Gaertn. var. indica. Also known under the name Eriodendron anfractuosum, D.D. The resemblance is very striking as seen also in the sketch of that tree according to the Historia plantarum of Bontius (1658) (reproduced as De Prez’ Figure 23). These bas-reliefs from Djalatounda offer very probably the most ancient representation of the (“Indo-American”) kapok tree known in Java and perhaps in Asia. 61. This representation confirms the opinion of Bakhuizen van den Brink in his study on the flora of the Indies and on the elements of American origin where he mentions among others the intrusion of the Ceiba pentandra. This shows that the kapok tree was present in Asia and in the Malay Archipelago before the discovery of the New World.

Bronson 1966, 262ff. McQuown and Kaufmann have reconstructed ten plant names apparently present in proto-Mayan, perhaps at about 2600 BC. [More likely somewhat later]. Among them is ceiba.

Yacovleff and Herrera 1934—1935, 283. Common in Peru. (Species not mentioned, but their description of the tree-cotton fits.)

Safford 1905, 221. There is some difference between trees growing in the East Indies and in the West Indies, and some botanists have regarded them as distinct species. “No difference, however, can be discovered in herbarium specimens great enough to warrant their being separated.”

Newcomb 1963, 41. Herbert Baker has been collecting them and is doing genetic work on them. This genus was not disseminated by ocean currents. C. pentandra is from the Guinea Coast (of Africa) (sic). The ceiba of Sinaloa is a “shadow stealer” in local lore of the New World, but it occupies a similar spot in African lore. Ceiba sp. in Nigeria is a holy tree cared for by man. The Southeast Asian kapok is not a simple C. pentandra, but is a subspecies of the African temple Ceiba. Baker sees a dispersal route of tropical America to Guinea Coast to Southeast Asia. What is the story in tropical East Africa, C. Sauer asks?

Miranda 1952—1953, 268. Nearly all commercial kapok today comes from the East Indies, especially Java. “There are several trees of the Bombacaceae that produce it; the so-called kapok of Java derives from the same Ceiba pentrandra.”

Brown 1935, 179. The native names are uru uru and urupuato in the Marquesas. Of “recent introduction” in the Marquesas.

Watt (1888—1893, III, 258—60) lists Eriodendron anfractuosum as The White Cotton Tree; Kapok floss. Synonym Bombax pentandrum, Linn.; and Ceiba pentandra, Gaertn.. Various vernacular names are given, none Sanskrit. Acording to the Flora of British India it occurs “in the forests throughout the hotter parts of India and Ceylon; distributed to South America, the West Indies, and Tropical Africa.” Not common in India. “In southern Malabar there is little trade in the silk cotton, such trade as there is being more often in the cotton of the Bombax malabaricum.

Gupta 1996, 38—40. The Bombax ceiba is the salmali tree in India. It is sacred. In Nadia, Sirohi Dist., Rajasthan, a 7th-century temple shows deities with flowers of this tree in the background.

Brücher 1989, 146—7. Radiation center of the genus is probably Central America.

Roys 1931, 298. Mayan Yax-che. Silk-cotton tree. (Important in Maya mythology.)

Nadkarni 1914, 59. Bombax malabaricum. Sanskrit: shalmali, mocha. Eng.: silk cotton tree.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 147. Sanskrit: swetha salmali. He distinguishes Ceiba pentandra, the white silk cotton tree (syn. Eriodendron anfructuosum), from Bombax ceiba, the red silk cotton tree (pp. 98—99), which has Sanskrit names nirgandha pushpi and panchaparni.

Tagare 1982, 408; 1983, 179. There are references to the silk cotton tree in the Kurma Purana of the 5th century AD and the Brahmanda Purana of the 10th century.

Chenopodium ambrosioides

Origin: Old World?

Summary: Distributed in China, Mesopotamia (there is an Arabic name), and India. It was grown in Mexico at the beginning of our era and at the time of the Conquest among the Maya.

Transfer: Old World to Mexico, or vice versa

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: A

Sources: Chenopodium ambrosioides—apazote, Mexican tea, goosefoot

Bretschneider 1892, 261—2. Fa Hien, when he returned in AD 414 by sea from his long journey to the Buddhist countries, landed in the province of Shantung. Upon seeing the li ho vegetable (Chenopodium album) he was confident that this was indeed the land of Han (i.e., China). Also mentions C. ambrosioides.

Thompson 1949, I, 416—36. Chenopodium ambrosioides L. In Mesopotamia, the Arabic equivalent is natna.

Safford 1905, 224. Called Mexican tea. In Mexico, a medicinal tea is made of it.

Martí­nez M.1978, 123. Miranda speaks of only this one species in Chiapas. It is sometimes cultivated. 106. Leaves are cooked as a condiment. 107. Also the cooked fruit is useful for medicinal purposes. Archaeological remains have a proto-Classic date (ca. 1st century BC or AD). One variety (species not told) is used for anti-intestinal parasite therapy.

Roys 1931, 262. Mayan. “Lucum-xiu. Chenopodium ambrosioides, L. Apasote.” A vermifuge.

Watt (1888—1893, II, 267) says, “An Old World, widely-spread species, now [?] introduced into the Americas, common in many parts of India;” also, “This plant affords the Mexican tea.” He says (265, under the genus heading), “There are about 50 species of the genus met with in the world. These are distributed in all climates. India possesses seven species, with perhaps numerous varieties and cultivated forms of most of these.”

Bretschneider 1892, 406. One of the names unchanged from classic times to today is li. Chenopodium. 261—2. Chenopodium has several Chinese names: C. ambrosioides is mentioned in Matsumura citing Japanese sources.

Note that Chopra et al. (1956, 61) and Torkelson (1999, 1684) both give Sanskrit: vastuk for C. ambrosioides, while Torkelson has Sanskrit: sugandhavastuk for C. ambrosioides, and Int. Lib. Assoc. (1996, 562) has kshetravastuk for it. Sanskrit nomenclature evidently recognized the relationship (in effect, recognizing the genus), although album is now credited with an Old World origin and ambrosioides with an American origin.

Chenopodium quinoa

Origin: South America

Summary: Langdon makes a fairly strong argument that this chenopod grew on Easter Island before European presence there, although facts are scarce.

Transfer: South America to Easter Island

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Sources: Chenopodium quinoa—quinoa

Langdon 1988, 327—9. Was present on Easter Island under cultivation by 1776 as documented in visitors’ accounts. (Roggeveen had discovered the island in 1722. Nobody had visited from then until the Gonzalez expedition out of Peru in 1771. There is some possibility of confusion in naming with taro, but Langdon explains why he thinks this is not likely.)

Sauer 1993, 33—6. Earliest archaeological occurrence of quinoa is from before 1500 BC in the northern Chilean desert, but it is basically a high Andean crop.

Towle 1961, 36. Seeds of this plant are a staple food in Peru, replacing maize in higher altitudes. Found in numerous archaeological contexts including mummy bundles at Ancón.

Shady 1997, 18. Excavated at three sites of the Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) in Peru.

Sauer 1967, 115. A tall chenopod of uncertain identity (perhaps Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), which strongly resembles quinoa, has long been grown as a grain crop in the hills of northwest India, where it shares the name bathú with grain amaranths (citing Thompson 1852 and Singh 1961). (Needs more research.)

Cichorium intybus

See Sonchus oleraceus; the two species are confused by some of our sources.

Cinchona officianalis

Origin: South America

Summary: This putative American species appears in India with Sanskrit names. How that could be needs further investigation.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Cinchona officianalis—quinine bark, Peruvian bark

Pullaiah 2002, 158. Pullaiah lists both C. offianalis and Cinchona calisaya, which is called ‘Peruvian bark’ in India, but has no Sanskrit name. C. officianalis is given as Sanskrit names: sinkona and kunayanah. [Despite the fact that the date of one of the two Sanskrit names could be in doubt (because it seems to be derived from the name given this genus only in the 18th century by Linné, the term cinchona comes from the name of the wife of a 17th-century Peruvian ruler {Markham 1874}), the fact remains that there is the other Sanskrit name.]

Brücher 1989, 172—3. The generic name is related to the family name of the Viceroy of Peru (1629), Conde de Chinchon, whose wife fell ill with malaria and was saved from the disease by Indian ‘curanderos,’ who knew about the anti-fever qualities of cinchona bark. The successful treatment of the illness of Chinchon’s wife with a native Indian remedy caused much publicity at the time, and Linné used the name of Cinchon (sic) for the botanical classification of the marvelous ‘fever tree.’ It is true that the bark of several cinchona trees contains a potent drug against feverish diseases, among them malaria. Modern pharmaceutical analysis has determined 30 different alkaloids in Cinchona species. The most important is quinine. It acts as a protoplasm poison in the cells of Plasmodium, the cause of malaria. The genus is represented by many species and natural hybrids in the rain forest of the Andes and Central American mountains. Brücher mentions five species that have been exploited for their quinine content. The nomenclature is, however, still confused and complicated by the existence of natural crosses.

Bruce-Chwatt 1965, 379. Therapeutic virtues of cinchona bark are believed to have been known to the native Indians of Peru, who confided their knowledge to Jesuit missionaries after the Conquest. However, there is no native written reference (including in Mesoamerica) to such a medicinal plant (called quina-quina indigenously in Peru).

Cocos nucifera

Origin: Asia

Summary: Ethno-historic and archaeological data ensure the presence of the nut in Mesoamerica at least by AD 400 and perhaps earlier in Peruvian graves. The odds are strongly against a drift origin out of the Pacific on the coast of the Americas. The ocean-spanning voyages that moved plants between the hemispheres (demonstrated in this paper) provide a plausible medium for transmission of this plant (at least Polynesian voyagers regularly carried coconuts for drinking).

Transfer: Pacific islands to the Americas

Time of transfer: no later than AD 400

Grade: A

Sources: Cocos nucifera—coconut

Chopra et al. 1956, 72. Sanskrit: narikela

Robinson et al. 2000, 43. From an archaeological site in the Antigua Valley of Guatemala, remains of flora demonstrate the use of the coyol palm and the coconut (“la carne de coco”) in subsistence in the Late Classic [i.e., ca. AD 600—850] (the coconut was also found at Copán, Honduras, dated AD 400.)

Bailey 1935, III, 2437. Palms probably do not greatly exceed 1200 species. Most of the genera are small, and many of them are monotypic. Calamus genus has about 200 species, all Old World, mostly Asian. Geonoma, about 100 species, of which all are American, and Chamaedorea, about 60. Cocos, 30 species, all confined to the Americas except the coconut, which is now cosmopolitan. Many of the species, particularly in the small genera, are restricted to a very small geographical region, often to one island or to a group of islands (which suggests that they do not spread far or readily by natural means).

Heyerdahl 1964, 121—2. The numerous species of the sub-family (Cocoinae) to which the coconut belongs are characteristic of tropical America; none occurs in Asia, and only the cultivated and highly useful species, Cocos nucifera, is found from Mesoamerica in aboriginal settlements all the way across the Pacific to Indonesia and coastal Asia. It was long supposed that the coconut came from Asia. Experiments had been conducted with coconuts in Hawaii by 1941. The results disproved the old belief that a nut could float across almost any ocean gap and germinate when washed ashore at the other end. Rather, the eyes will be attacked by fouling organisms and lose viability. Further research has also shown documented evidence that the coconut grew in Mesoamerica at the arrival of Columbus and the early Spaniards. The nut is also reproduced in Peruvian effigy jars. Merrill (1954, 267) granted that the coconut was “thoroughly established along the wet Pacific coast of Panama and adjacent Colombia before the arrival of the Spaniards.” 131. The coconut was present in Indonesia at the beginning of the Christian era.

Heyerdahl 1952, 460—1. Coconuts kept in the ocean water between the logs of the Kon-Tiki raft were covered with microorganisms and many clusters of pelagic crabs and deteriorated seriously. Other nuts were kept in baskets on the deck; they remained edible to the end of the voyage and many sprouted early in the voyage. Heyerdahl planted the remaining nuts at the end of the voyage, and only those that had been on the deck germinated and grew as trees.

Cook 1901, 261—87. Presents in extenso the case for the coconut being widespread in tropical America before the Spaniards arrived, particularly citing chroniclers.

Bruman 1944, 220—43. After a review of the historical data, he concluded that the coconut did occur in Colima and probably elsewhere on the west coast of Mexico when the first Europeans arrived [but he supposed that coconuts reached the coast due to drift from Padific islands on the Equatorial Counter Current].

Spriggs 1984, 71—6. Radiocarbon dates on coconut remains excavated on Aneityum Island, Vanuatu, reach the fourth millennium BC, (presumed to be) prior to human settlement. Other possible early coconut remains are discussed. The dates indicate that coconuts were distributed by natural means [at least in the western Pacific]. They also suggest an Indo-Pacific source for this plant rather than a Central American one with human carriage of the seed to the islands as claimed by Heyerdahl.

Dennis and Gunn 1971, 407—13. Evidence from the distribution of the coconut in the Indian Ocean shows that 3,000 miles is the effective limit for sea dispersion. It survives on the strand of coral islands much better than on a continent. Cook’s and Heyerdahl’s notion of an American origin for the coconut has long been discredited. It is a western-Pacific plant rather. But how it reached the islands off Panama is puzzling since no island with the tree was within the required distance. “The mystery of how the coconut reached western America, if it was brought by man, remains unresolved. But it seems far more reasonable to believe that primitive man, and not ocean currents, was involved.”

Harries 1978, 271. Bruman (1944) considered that specimens could have reached Central America by drift from Palmyra atoll, the easternmost location in the Pacific islands where coconuts grow, but re-evaluation of the data on survivability now raises questions about that view. Apparently the coast of the Americas was just at or beyond the limit for viability of the nuts after sea drift. Furthermore, there is a question about whether nuts will sprout and become established naturally where they land or whether humans must assist them; the latter view is the general consensus today.

Heyerdahl 1965, 461—7. Heyerdahl’s brief visit to the (Cocos) island (off Panama) provided evidence which he reviews here. He shows it to be consistent with the view that prehistoric people (presumably from the mainland) cleared areas and planted coconut groves on them, and thus that the coconut palm was present and economically significant off the Panama coast before European discovery.

Heyerdahl, 1965 461. Specific references early document establishing the presence of the coconut on Cocos Island, west of Panama. Also cites Edmondson 1941 re. controlled tests on Oahu by floating coconuts in sea-water. Short-term sea-exposed nuts sprouted successfully only if planted in soil, not sand. 458. “If Sellergren’s analysis (1898, 27) of certain vegetable fibers found in prehistoric graves at Ancón, north of Callao, is correct, then these included material plaited from pre-Columbian coconut husk. Wienter (1880, 601) too, supported by the botanist André and later quoted by Harms (1922, 165), lists the coconut among plants reproduced in ancient Peruvian effigy jars.

Mahan 1983, 106. The Yuchi Indians of the southeastern U.S. had a tradition that their ancestors used rattles made of coconut shells.

Merrill 1954, 267. It is “most certain” that Polynesians introduced the coconut to the west coast of the Americas not long before the Spaniards arrived.

De Prez 1935, 58, Fig. 4. Coconut trees are shown at Borobudur (India) in bas-relief ca. AD 700—900.

Newcomb 1963, 57. If it is true that the coconut in West Africa was late in comparison to introduction of the coconut into East Africa, no one is going to suggest that the coconut moved overland between the two shores of the continent. Could Austronesians have rounded Cape of Good Hope?

Mangelsdorf, MacNeish, and Willey 1964, 434. Accept the coconut as one of “the cultivated plants of Middle America.”

Robinson et al. 2000, 843. At the site of Urías in the Valley of Antigua, Guatemala, they have archaeological remains of a coconut in the Late Classic, ca. 700; the same plant was found at Copán, Honduras, around AD 400.

Lunde 1992, 50—5. A plant definitely shared between the two hemispheres was the coconut.

Patiño 1976, 54. Statements of the chroniclers about palms are relatively few. The coconut, although it was found by the Spaniards on their arrival in the Americas, cannot be considered rigorously as an American plant. Other than the oil palm (Elaeis guinensis Jacq.) and two others, originally from Africa, the rest of the Cocoinae are American. Patiño goes on to cite literature pro and con in relation to O.F. Cook’s claim of American presence of the coconut when Europeans arrived. He also gives much historical information on additional species of palms cultivated in South America [some of these might prove to be distributed in both Old and New Worlds, but we have not investigated any besides the coconut]. 58—90. Extensive treatment of the historical sources in re. the nomenclature and early occurrences of the coconut, show its slow dispersion, even in colonial times. Map on p. 61 shows five localities in Colombia and isthmian Panama (including Cocos Island) where the coconut was present upon European discovery. Documents at least five locations on the Pacific coast of the Americas where the coconut was reported by Spanish chroniclers to have been in cultivation.

Guppy 1906, 62—69. Discusses the question of what plants and conditions lead to sea-borne transmission of seeds. 63. “It must be admitted that the effectual operations of the currents as plant-dispersers are limited to the shore-plants with buoyant seeds or fruits.” The total of these worldwide would not reach 200 species. 64. For example, the number of littoral plants introduced into Hawaii only comes to about 16. And some of them include trees that are useful to the natives and that were probably introduced by them. This number declines from the western Pacific (e.g. Fiji, about 65) as one moves eastward. Easter Island has few [any?] Indo-Malayan beach trees, and, on Juan Fernandez and the Galapagos, no Indo-Malayan strand-plants are represented at all. 67. “The Coco-nut palm has been carried around the world through the agencies of man and the currents, whilst the home of the genus is in America” based on the principle that where the species are most numerous there is the home of the genus.

Parkes 1997. Archaeological evidence for coconuts has been found on Atiu Island (the Cooks) by 7820±70 BP.

Lepofsky et al 1992. Anaerobically-preserved domesticated coconuts have been found in the Society Islands, dated AD 600.

Bailey 1935, I, s.v. “Coconut” (page not noted). The coconut is the most important of cultivated palms. “Its nearest relatives, whether or not regarded as in the same genus, are natives of tropical America. For this and for other reasons which have been presented by Cook, it must be believed that the coconut is a native of America, and that it was carried westward across the Pacific in prehistoric times. While the nut will float and retain its power of germination for a considerable time, its propagation from island to island in known cases has practically always been the deliberate work of men, and it is probable that men were . . .” the normal agents of dispersion.

MacNeish 1992, 259. Lists Cocos nucifera as one of the “native cultivated and/or domesticated plants of Southeastern Asia.”

Sauer 1993, 186. The coconut evidently evolved in the Indo-Pacific Ocean region where Tertiary and Quarternary fossils have been found. This remains the region of greatest genetic diversity and of its parasites, including many totally dependent insect species. Coconuts are known to be capable of remaining viable while floating in the sea for over 6 months, no maximum limit being established.” [sic] [To the contrary, see Harries and Dennis, and Gunn above]. 187. “During Holocene time, the range of sea-dispersed wild coconut palms probably spanned the tropical Indian and Pacific Oceans from East Africa to the Pacific coast of Panama and Costa Rica. 188. “C. nucifera was absent from the Atlantic-Caribbean region until introduced by the Portuguese.”

Bretschneider (1882, 38) lists plants in the Nan fang Ts’ao Mu Chang. The author was Ki Han, a Minister of State in the Tsin [Jin] dynasty, AD 290—307, who had previously been Governor of Canton. The 80-species list includes the coconut.

Hernandez 1942—1943 [before 1580], II, 507—10. In a long piece on the coconut: “This, which the hindues vulgarly call maron, and Strabo (as some say) called palma, and which gives a fruit that the Mexicans call coyolli, by the Portuguese coco, because of certain eyes that seem like those of a monkey, and by the Persians and Arabs narel, is a tall tree . . ..” Pictured.

Heyerdahl 1965, 461. He presents persuasive evidence that the tree was being planted for economic purposes on Cocos Island, near the west coast of Panama, before the first Europeans visited there. He also noted that traces of coconut fiber had been found in ancient tombs at Ancón, Peru, while representations of the coconut palm could be seen in Peruvian art.”

Heyerdahl 1996, 220. The early voyager Captain Porter was told by Marquesans that the coconut came to them by voyagers from the east on rafts.

Ward and Brookfield (1992) provide the definitive review of the literature on the drift of coconuts. They also report on an extensive computer simulation of coconut drift from which they conclude that it is highly unlikely that drift nuts would have reached the Americas from the nearest Pacific Island loci. The question of whether drift nuts would successfully sprout and mature to trees on the strand has also been contentious. (For example, no coconuts that have drifted to Australian shores are known to have survived.) Some biologists suppose that humans would have had to be involved to protect and plant or transplant germinating nuts to soil mixed with sand rather than sand alone, and especially to keep them safe from land crabs (Harries 1978, 271). Nevertheless, Spriggs (1984) reported coconuts from Vanuatu that dated to the 4th millennium BP, probably before any humans inhabited those islands.

Méndez P. 1944, 14—5, 50. Balboa encountered natives growing and using the nuts in 1513 when he arrived on the Pacific coast of Panama.

Colocasia esculenta

Origin: Americas

Summary: “Dry-land taro,” found on Easter Island, is described by Heyerdahl as an American species. More detailed information is required to assess the botanical reliability of this statement.

Grade: incomplete

Source Colocasia esculenta—dry-land taro

Heyerdahl 1963, 31. Polynesian wet-land taro, Colocasia antiquorum, is grown in wet land in central and western Polynesia, whereas the rare Easter Island taro is grown between closely packed stones in entirely arid, eroded, lava-flows, and may perhaps be a dry-land taro such as is reported common to both east Polynesia and America.

Couroupita guianensis

Origin: tropical America

Summary: The unique flower of this tree is interpreted in Indian iconography, as shown in temple sculptures, as denoting the god Shiva. The tree originated in Middle America and grows only there and in India.

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: Medieval?

Grade: A

Sources: Couroupita guianensis—cannonball tree, naga lingam

Gupta 1996, 58. Naga lingam is a large tree, native of South America and the West Indies, but planted in South India “from very early times.” The tree bears curious flowers that grow directly out of the trunk and main limbs. Stamens and pistil fuse in such a manner that the flower gives the appearance of a miniature lingam (symbol of the male generative organ) facing the hovering hood of a naga (cobra). For this reason, the tree is cultivated in Shiva temples, and its flowers are offered in worship before the sacred stone lingam in temples devoted to Shiva. Gupta names four temples in Tamil Nadu and one in Karnataka where the plant and flowers are shown in sculpture. Naga lingam flowers are left as offerings before stone lingams in Shivaite temples. [The only scenario one can imagine for anybody’s transporting this New World tree to India would be that a worshipper of Shiva visited Mesoamerica, where he saw the tree’s unique flower (no doubt with great astonishment) and felt that it ought to grow in India, the homeland of Shiva. No non-Shivaite would have paid particular attention to the blossom, and indeed the plant plays no role in Mesoamerican iconography.]

Pullaiah 2002, I, 186. Telugu name is nagalingam, but no name in Sanskrit is reported. It has medicinal uses.

Cucumis sp.

Origin: Old World

Summary: A poorly preserved cucurbitaceous seed was found in a 19th-century excavation in Peru and initially was considered to represent a possible Cucumis species, but the identification was later given up. Further examination would be desirable.

Grade: incomplete

Source: Cucumis sp.

Towle 1961, 96. Poorly-preserved cucurbitaceous seeds are mentioned by Constantin and Bois as possibly those of a species of the genus Cucumis. This is an Old World genus not otherwise represented in pre-Columbian Peruvian sites; these seeds were excluded from discussion in Towle’s monograph.

Cucurbita ficifolia

Origin: Central America

Summary: Archaeologically, it was at Huaca Priéta in Peru before 2500 BC. [Note that the actual radiocarbon date at Huaca Priéta for the plant layer is 2578—2470 BC, according to Yen (1963), which calibrates to 3200—3070 BC.] Also widespread through much of western India and up into the Himalayas and Tibet as far as western China. The differentiation of the species evident in Asia would probably have required a longer period of time than the few centuries since the Portuguese advent.

Transfer: Americas to Asia

Time of transfer: several millennia ago

Grade: A

Sources: Cucurbita ficifolia—chilacayote, Malabar gourd

Brücher 1989, 258—60. One seed was found ca. AD 700 in the Valley of Oaxaca. The only other American find is from Huaca Priéta, Peru, set at 3000 BC [See note in brackets above].. Gives names as C. ficifolia Bouché, Malabar gourd, chilacayote, or chayote. It was considered of Afro-Asiatic origin (‘Malabar’) until Whitaker established its home definitively in Central America. There, it is closely related to the wild species C. lundelliana Bailey.

McBryde 1945, 137. Says Standley and Calderón (1925) suppose an Asiatic origin for this, but it is probably of Mexican origin, based on the existence of Aztec names.

Towle 1961, 90. The only archaeological find was at Huaca Priéta in the pre-ceramic levels (with other plants of Asian origin) and in the following Cupisnique period.

Whitaker and Bird 1949. C. ficifolia was present in Peru from the pre-ceramic period (ca. 2500 BC). It had never previously been reported from a South American archaeological collection. [See note above.]

Newcomb 1963, 29. C. Sauer says this is a perennial of Southern Mexico, Bolivia, Malabar, and Tibet, “the fig-leaf cucurbit.” 31. The Malabar gourd is widely cultivated in Malabar, India, and on into the agricultural valleys of Tibet, and again east of there into the high country of Western China, where it is used as yak feed. This plant ranges over an extraordinary area of varying environmental conditions and its forms vary greatly, whereas the New World cucurbits do not vary too much from the common watermelon in shape, color, or markings. Surprisingly, the Malabar gourd is an American plant, identical with C. ficifolia. C. ficifolia originated in the Yucatan/Guatemala borderlands, says Sauer. It was introduced early into the Peruvian coastal area, based on archaeological evidence, and possibly into the Andes. But how did it reach India and thence the Himalayas and China? This plant was of no interest to Spaniards or Portuguese, so they provide no explanation. We are certain of the species’ identity from Old to New World on morphological grounds. Malabar gourds are fertile when bred with New World stocks of C. ficifolia. Moreover, there are no wild cucurbits in the Old World. Nor, was it carried around by ocean currents. Perhaps it was taken along on voyages. Insufficient time has elapsed since the Columbian era for the plant to have been disseminated so extensively in Asia and differentiated so much. 35. This is the only perennial species of the cucurbits. There is archaeological evidence of its growth at sea level in coastal Peru, but today it is [also] found in upland sites. Also ranging from the Malabar coast of India, which is humid, to the Tibetan/Chinese borderlands, in the uplands. It is an odd and minimally useful vegetable with a strange distribution.

Cucurbita maxima

Origin: Americas

Summary: In India, there were at least three Sanskrit names for this. Vernacular names in India are patently related to Mayan names. In China, there is great varietal differentiation, indicating long presence and cultivation. In India, a medical text of the 8th century mentions this species as an ingredient. Some scholars consider the texts of reports by European explorers of Easter Island to refer to this cucurbit.

Case 1: Transfer: to Asia

Time of transfer: probably two millennia or more ago

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: to Easter Island

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Sources: Cucurbita maxima—squash, winter squash, Hubbard squash, giant squash

Nadkarni 1914,129. Cucurbita maxima. Sanskrit: punyalatha, dadhiphala. Eng.: squash, gourd.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 194. Sanskrit: pitakusmandah. Medicinal uses.

Johannessen and Wang Siming 1998, 26. Easter Island had acquired red-fleshed squashes (probably Cucurbita maxima and moschata—see Mellén B. 1986, 211).

Yarnell 1970, 225. Earliest remains in Peru, 2000 BP.

Towle 1961, 90. Represented in Mochica and Chimu pottery, one an exact reproduction of a warty Hubbard squash. Seeds were found in remains at Ancón (before our era).

Bronson 1966, 262ff. McQuown and Kaufmann have reconstructed plant names for proto-Mayan. Among them is a term for yellow squash. Maybe as early as 2600 BC [but more likely somewhat later.]

Watt 1888, II, 638—41. Under discussion of the genus: “The very greatest confusion exists in the Indian publications that deal with Gourds, Pumpkins, and Vegetable Marrows . . . .” “All the forms met with exist in a state of cultivation only.” De Candolle seems to incline to the opinion that Cucurbita maxima may be a truly Asiatic species and the origin of “the pumpkins cultivated by the Romans, and in the Middle Ages” in Europe generally; but that Cucurbita pepo is most probably a native of America . . ..” He has not ventured to assign a habitat for C. moschata, although he states that all writers on Asiatic and African botany describe it as cultivated, and that “Its cultivation is recent in China, and American floras rarely mention the species.” C. maxima he calls “Squash Gourd.” “Atkinson, Dutt, and others confuse the pumpkin (C. pepo) with the White Gourd (Benincasa cerifera). Roxburgh describes only C. pepo and C. moschata, and Voigt, who wrote after Roxburgh, describes only C. maxima. Stewart gives an account of all three. Seeds used medicinally (cf. Levey). C. maxima produces the largest known cucurbitaceous fruit, in some cases weighing as much as 240 lb. and measuring nearly 8 feet in circumference [in India]. The fruit is wholesome” [but watery].

Bretschneider 1892, 196—8. Nowadays, the Chinese cultivate throughout the empire the Cucurbita maxima, or Melon Pumpkin . . . the C. Pepo, or Pumpkin gourd, and C. moschata. Of the C. maxima they have many varieties, varying considerably in size and shape of the fruit and in the color of the skin. 197. All the cucurbitaceous plants now cultivated for food in China “are probably indigenous to the country” [this presumption is based on the wide cultivation and degree of adaptation of the species] with the exception of the cucumber and watermelon. He lists Chinese characters for C. moschata and Luffa cylindrica, among others.

Brücher 1989, 262—4. C. maxima Duch., winter squash. He wants to call it zapallo to eliminate the imprecision of ‘squash.’ There are irrefutable proofs of South American origin and early domestication (Chimu and Mochica ceramic effigies). It is incompatible genetically with all other cucurbits. Descended from C. andreana (wild).

Levey 1966, 315. Lists C. maxima as referred to (along with C. pepo) in a medieval medical text from India (Al-Kindi, 9th century AD). Levey assumes both plants were cultivated in India at that time.

Nadkarni 1914, 129. Gives Sanskrit: punyalatha and dadhiphala for C. maxima, and widespread cultivation and adaptation of this squash confirms substantial antiquity for its presence there.

Mellén Blanco 1986, 211. Interprets the accounts of the González expedition (1776) to Easter Island as showing that C. maxima was growing there at the time of European discovery.

The plant had at least three Sanskrit names (Watson 1868, 319, 327).

Common names for the pumpkin current in India, as well as ones for C. moschata, echo the kum root in Mayan: cumbuly, kumbala, koomra, kumhra, kúmara (Watt 1988—1893, II, 641; Watson 1868, 92, 119, 310, 311).

Cucurbita moschata

Origin: America

Summary: Painted or modeled in Chinese art as early as the seventh-tenth centuries and later. Vernacular names in use in India are markedly similar to those in Mayan. Reports by European explorers of Easter Island may refer to this cucurbit in cultivation.

Case 1: Transfer: to Asia

Time of transfer: over one millennium ago

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to Easter Island

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Cucurbita moschata—winter squash, banana squash, butternut squash

Schoenhals 1988, 141. Eng.: butternut squash.

Johannessen and Wang Siming1998, 26. Easter Island had acquired red-fleshed squashes (probably Cucurbita maxima and moschata, citing Mellen B. 1986, 211. 25. Known in China as nangua. Recorded by Jia Ming (1966) in a medicinal recipe published in AD 1473. A specimen is pictured in a Chinese painting by Shen Chou, an artist whose life spanned AD 1427—1509. A ceramic teapot in the definitive shape of a moschata squash and belonging to the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368—1644) has been published, but the exact date is not established. Similar pots are to be found in the Zhejiang Provincial Museum at Hangzhou dated to the Song Dynasty (AD 960—1279; see Johannessen and Wang’s Fig. 10). A similar porcelain teapot of Tang Dynasty age (AD 618—905) has also been published.

Bailey 1935, I, 910. C. moschata, Duch. Cushaw, crookneck squash. Winter crookneck squash. Nativity undetermined. He notes the variety sylvestris, Naudin. A form found wild in the Himalayan region [? but Watt 1888, II, 638—41, says all cucurbits are cultivated, none wild, in India] with fruit as large as a man’s head.

Yarnell 1970, 225. Earliest remains: Peru: 4000 BP; Southern Mexico: 5000 BP; Northern Mexico: 3000 BP; SW U.S.: 1000 BP.

Towle 1961, 91. Found in pre-ceramic levels at Huaca Priéta, ca. 2500 BC (although it is apparently of Mexican or Central American origin) and shells and seeds appear with Cupisnique pottery and maize (1st millennium BC). [Note that the actual radiocarbon date at Huaca Priéta for the plant layer is 2578—2470 BC, according to Yen (1963), which calibrates to 3200—3070 BC.]

Shady 1997, 18. Cucurbita sp. only identified. Excavated at several sites dating to the Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) in Peru. (Based on the find at Huaca Priéta, below; Shady probably refers to C. moschata.)

Whitaker and Bird 1949. C. moschata was present from the pre-ceramic period (2500 BC) at Huaca Priéta. (See Towle 1961, 91 above.)

Roys 1931, 258. “Kum, or Kuum. Cucurbita moschata, Duch.” Vernacular names in use in India in the 19th century for this economically important genus included kumhra and kumra (Watt 1888—92, II, 640), while from Yucatan we find a hononymic Mayan term kum, or kuum. Roys’ colonial-era source continues, “there are [in Yucatan] the calabazas [bottle gourds] of Spain, and there is also another sort of native ones [sic], which the Indians call kum. The close similarities of names for the same species in Mexico and India suggests, although, of course, it does not prove, that an historical event tied the areas together, linguistically as well as botanically.

Brücher 1989, 260—1. C. moschata Duch. ex Poir. pumpkin, crookneck. Remains from Ocampo caves in Mexico date to 2900—1500 BC (although his table on p. 258 gives the date for this as 4900—3500 BC, “earliest known”). Because it crosses with so many species, it is considered a basic species in the phylogeny of the American cucurbits.

Nicolson et al. 1988, 95—6. The element shown in Hortus Malabaricus is surely C. moschata, not C. melopepo or C. maxima. In Kerala today, this plant is called mathan.

Cucurbita pepo

Origin: Americas

Summary: The pumpkin has two Sanskrit names and is mentioned in several Hindu texts as early as the 4th century AD. It is also listed as an ingredient in medicine in an Indian text of the 9th century and is an ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine (today). It was also mentioned in a Chinese document as early as the 5th century AD.

Transfer: America to India

Time of transfer: no later than the 4th century

Grade: A

Sources: Cucurbita pepo—pumpkin

Aiyer 1956, 57. Pumpkin is mentioned in the Atharvaveda, dating before 800 BC. Also mentioned in the Buddhistic Jatakas.

Watson 1868, 310. Bengali and Hindustani have Koomra for Cucurbita pepo. The same word is also Bengali for Benincasa cerifera.

Pickersgill and Heiser 1978, 814. From Guila Naquitz cave, Oaxaca, from 10,750—9,840 BP.

Bretschneider 1882, 77—9. From a work on Chinese agriculture, Ts’i Min Yao Shu, by Kia Sz’ Niu (Jia Sixie) authored in the 5th century AD, a list is published containing C. pepo that is framed by the heading, “Various Pumpkins and Gourds still Cultivated in China.”

Newcomb 1963, 33. Linnaeus assigned this species a home in Turkestan and Western Asia. Fuchs called it the “Turkish cucurbit” and established it in southeastern Europe by the early 15th century. C. pepo in “Asia has shapes and occurrences not known in New World forms. The ornamental gourds, the star-shaped ones, are not known in the New World. C. pepo does not occur in the West Indies nor South America (but it does in Mesoamerica). In the Old World, C. pepo inhabits the same area of North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Asia as does maize. Needs further work for clarification. 33. “Cucurbita ficifolia and C. pepo are the overseas strangers.” 36. In addition to the Americas, this is distributed in Turkey and from the Balkans to Turkestan. How did it get there?

Nayar and Singh 1998, 12. C. pepo, L. The fruit is considered in Ayurvedic medicine to be very cooling, astringent, a cure for thirst and fatigue, and a blood purifier.

Levey 1966, 315. Lists C. maxima as referred to (along with C. pepo) in a medical text from India (Al-Kindi, 9th century AD). Levey assumes both plants were cultivated in India at that time.

Torkelson 1999, 1704. Sanskrit: kurkaru, kushmanda.

Chopra et al. 1956, 83. Sanskrit: kurkaru.

Watt 1888—1893, II, 641. Vernacular name in Bengali is Kumra, kúmara among others. Sanskrit: kurkareú. Cultivated over most of India, in gardens and near houses. Seeds are supposed to possess anti-helminthic properties.

Bretschneider 1882, 57—61. Author of the famous Chinese volume of Materia Medica, Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu (Ben cao gang mu) was Li Shizhen, born in first quarter of 16th century, begun in 1552, first published 1590. This material is mainly about medicines and includes a compilation of older materials. The list mentions several American plants including this cucurbit.

Brücher 1989, 261—2. C. pepo L., summer pumpkin, summer squash, marrow. Oldest find is dated at 14,000 years BP (sic), from Tamaulipas. From the Ozarks at 5000 BP. Its wild ancestor is C. texana.

For a score of other references to C. pepo in historical Greece, India, Arabia, China, Egypt, Iraq, and Persia, see Johannessen and Parker 1989b, 16—17.

Curcuma longa

Origin: Asia

Summary: It is grown among isolated tribes in Peru under conditions and with uses that can be explained only by pre-Columbian importation. It was widely planted in Polynesia.

Transfer: Asia to South America (possibly via Polynesians?)

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B plus

Sources: Curcuma longa—turmeric

Nadkarni 1914, 135. C. longa. Sanskrit: haridrá, nishá. Eng.: turmeric. Indigenous (to India).

Torkelson 1999, 1706. Sanskrit: haridra

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 563. Sanskrit: haridra

Newcomb 1963, 61. Of Southeast Asian origin, it is vegetatively reproduced, hence quite certainly human-transported across the ocean. Occurs in the eastern Andes where it is used for scent and food color.

Brown 1931, 162—3. Curcuma longa L. Mainly used for its yellow color. A native of India and the islands of the Indian Ocean. Of aboriginal introduction in the Marquesas. Turmeric. Marquesan, eka, or ena.

Watt 1888—1893, II, 659. Turmeric. Sanskrit and other names given. Names in Heb./Arabic: kurkum, and Chinese terms are also given.

Bretschneider 1892, 231. Yü kin. The description given of this plant by several ancient authors agrees with Curcuma longa. Yellow root.

Sopher 1950, 88, Map F—general summary information. 140. Linguistic and historical evidence shows the cultivation of this plant to be of great antiquity. It was probably a common cultural possession of [all] the Indonesian peoples. Botanical evidence indicates that the plant’s original home was India. “Early dispersal” manifested by distribution argues for spread by man east to Polynesia and “possibly beyond.” And “perhaps, also, westward to Madagascar.” 84. Probably in the islands of Polynesia was where C. domestica had its greatest importance outside India as a dye and pigment. 86—87. Distribution throughout most Polynesian islands is discussed and documented. “It is therefore very significant that Curcuma has been reported among forest peoples on the eastern slopes of the Peruvian Andes.” Tessman (1920, 161, 324; 1928) reported that a species of Curcuma, grown by the Amahuaca to the east of the Upper Ucayali in Peru, was a dye-plant, the color being used, together with bixa and genipa, for painting the body. He also says it is used by the Chama, while the Uitoto, nearby, use the yellow from Curcuma as face paint in their ceremonial dances. Sopher continues (page 88) “If these plants are indeed Curcuma domestica, and they can hardly be anything else because the genus Curcuma does not [otherwise] occur in the New World, then the evidence for a pre-European, transpacific introduction of the plant by man seems to be very strong indeed.” Polynesian occurrence is important because “the plant materials taken by them in their slow progress eastward belong to an early phase of South Asiatic culture.”

Herrera and Yacovleff (1934—1935) have found turmeric being cultivated in a valley in the Urubamba region below Cuzco, and identify it tentatively with the plant referred to by Cobo in 1653 as “azafrán de los Andes.”

Cyclanthera pedata

Origin: Americas

Summary: The fruit is cultivated in Mexico, the Andes, Nepal, and Taiwan.

Transfer: Americas to Asia

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian. (Needs better documentation in re. Asia.)

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Cyclanthera pedata

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 189. “Cultivated in Mexico for its young fruits and shoots.”

Nayar and Singh 1998, 13. C. pedata (L.) Schrad. grows in the Andes and, according to Herklots (1972) also in Nepal and south Taiwan. The flesh is eaten raw or cooked.

Bailey 1935, I, 935. All 30 species of this genus are tropical American. Pedata: Mexico south.

Brücher 1989, 265. Cucurbitaceae: Cyclanthera pedata (L.) Schrad., pepino hueco. Used throughout the Andes.

Cyperus esculentus

Origin: New World ?

Summary: The modern botanical distribution is American, which presumes an American origin. Indians in the Eastern United States also used it. Yet, it had Sanskrit names and was present in the ancient Near East as well as inpre-Columbian Spain.

Grade: B plus

Sources: Cyperus esculentus (Kew. syn. Longus; syn. rotundus {N., Middle, and S. America})—edible bulbous sedge, chufa, yellow nutsedge

Thompson 1949, 11. Mention of (ancient) Babylonian presence of Cyperus esculentus (Arabic: hab el-az”z).

Newcomb 1963, 59. Used in Spain, where it is boiled down to make a confection, or a milky, soft drink. It is a bulbous sedge, or cypress, relating to boiled chestnuts. C. esculentus is also reported in the Eastern U.S. among Indians “from the earliest days.” This transfer is difficult to account for.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 203. Sanskrit: bhadrmusta, nagaramustakah. Medicinal uses.

Cyperus vegetus

Origin: New World?

Summary: Edible roots used for food in times of extremity, as well as having other uses, in Peru and on Easter Island. A Sanskrit name in India indicates a transfer there anciently.

Case 1: Transfer: South America to Easter Island

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: while Sanskrit was still an active language

Grade: B

Sources: Cyperus vegetus (syn. eragrostics)—edible sedge

Schoenhals 1988, 142. Cyperus spp., Span.: tule.

Sauer 1969, 56. One of a group of plants found in both the Americas and Asia.

Heyerdahl 1963, 28. Useful in the Easter Island economy, with a native name. It also grows in Peru. Edible roots were used when other food was scarce. Grows in moist places next to the totora and Polygonum (q.v.)

Towle 1961, 25-6. Under “Cyperus sp.” Bird found small tubers of a species of Cyperus in pre-ceramic levels at Huaca Priéta. Rhizomes used for food in Peru. 16. Leaves of a certain species of Cyperus are also used on the coast in the manufacture of matting, basketry, cordage, ‘reed’ rafts and small boats, along with Scirpus and Typha (q.v.)

Skottsberg 1934. Three American, non-endemic species, Cyperus eragrostics, Scirpus riparius, and Polygonum acuminatum, remain to have their origin on Easter Island accounted for.

Chopra et al. 1956, 88. Sanskrit: kaseruka

Torkelson 1999, 1709. Sanskrit: kaseruka

Datura spp. in general

Origin: Although opinions have varied greatly, the home of the entire genus is likely Central America.

Summary: The synonymies of species are quite unsettled, but the fact of the genus’ presence in Asia for a long time is well established by its being so abundant that early botanists (including De Candolle) considered some species native to the Old World. At least eight Sanskrit names for Datura are known, and sacred Hindu texts mention medicinal uses. Furthermore, Pokharia and Saraswat (1999, 90) recently excavated specimens of Datura (exact species not determinable) dating to the 1st—3rd centuries AD. A species (D. ferox, syn. D. stramonium) was grown in China, and Greek and Roman physicians are thought to have had the same or another species available (it has been proposed that oracles at the temple of Delphi were spoken under this drug’s influence).

Sources: Datura spp. in general. (Kew. syn. stramonium, syn. fastuosa, syn. trapezia, syn. metel, syn. meteloides, syn. ferox)—thorn apple, datura, Jimson weed

Schoenhals, 1988, 142. Datura spp. Span.: toloache.

Nadkarni 1914, 140—5. Datura alba and D. fastuosa. Sanskrit: dhustoora, unmatta. Eng.: thorn apple, datura. Pers.: kouzmasab. Found growing in waste places throughout India. The different species of this plant possess the same medicinal properties. Stupefies, has narcotic, anodyne, and anti-spasmodic properties. It has properties analogous to those of belladonna. Seeds have a strong aphrodisiac effect.

Chopra et al. 1956, 91. D. metel. Sanskrit: dhustura. D. stramonium. Sanskrit:dhattura. A native of Mexico introduced into India. In appearance, D. innoxia resembles it closely. 123. Sanskrit: dhattura, dhustura. Cultivated on the west coast.

Torkelson 1999, 1711—12. D. metel. Sanskrit: dhattura, dhustura. 1740. D. fastuosa. Sanskrit: dhattura, dhustura

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 564. D. metel. Sanskrit: dhustura

Watson 1868, 257. Sanskrit: khrishna-dhattura, D. fastuosa. 280. Khunubhon-mutta-shiva, D. metel.

Dastur n.d., 106. D. innoxia, syn. D. metel. Name: dhatoora. D. Innoxia is very similar to the Asiatic species, D. metel. The plant is of American origin, very abundant in Bombay and other parts of India and Pakistan. Has the same medicinal uses as D. metel. The two species are known by the same common names, and in indigenous medicine are regarded as one and the same.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 207. Datura innoxia (syn. D. metel); Sanskrit: dhatturah. Datura metel (syn. fastuosa); Sanskrit: dhatura. Datura stramonium; Sanskrit: dhattura, madakara.

Pokharia and Saraswat 1999, 90. At ancient Sanghol, Punjab (Ludhiana Dist.), 1st—3rd centuries AD, they excavated remains of Datura (Dhatura); species could not be determined. The genus is represented today in their area of the Punjab only by D. innoxia, but five species are grown in adjoining regions of Pakistan. (See endnotes 59 and 60.)

Pandey 2000, 271. D. innoxia Mill., from Mexico, and D. metel, from tropical America, are species “naturalized throughout India.”

Nicolson et al. 1988, 247. Under this plant, they make clear there are “three confused species of Datura known to occur in South India:” D. innoxia Mill. (New World), D. metel, and D. stramonium. 248. Although D. stramonium is supposed to be a neo-tropical [i.e., an American] species, Safford (1931) noted that it was “introduced at a very early date into the warmer regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa.” They identify here for the first time one of the plates in Hortus Malabaricus as D. stramonium.

Hernandez 1942—1943 [before 1580], II, 442. Hernandez’ tecomaxóchitl is identified by Mociño y Sess as Datura maxima Moc. y Sessé. They also call it D. patula Don., which the Kew Index has corresponding to D. stramonium. Standley says it is commonly cultivated in tierras calientes of Mexico.

Hillebrand 1888, 311. “A small genus, common to both worlds.” D. stramonium is a “troublesome weed” and spread over many of the islands. “. . . As the plant rarely produces seed, its presence . . . is probably due to the agency of man.”

DuBois 1908, 72. Introduction by A.L. Kroeber. Characteristics of a Datura cult in southern California. “The succession of births or existences [believed in by this religion], some of them psychic, evidences an unusual point of view for an American people, and is reminiscent of Oceanic and Asiatic ways of thought.” 76. “The religion of Chungichnish was a genuine missionary movement in a primitive Indian religion.” It involved ingestion of Datura meteloides (Jimson weed, toloache, Luiseño: naktamush), obedience, fasting, self-sacrifice, tattooing, treading on fire, and sand painting. The Milky Way was considered a symbol of where spirits go when humans die, and the raven was a sacred bird. 99. She considers this complex of ideas and practices to have come from “one of the islands of the sea.”

Watt (1888—1893, III, 40—1) calls it Thorn Apple. Grows in the temperate Himalayas from Baluchistan and Kashmir to Sikkim. In some areas, it is hard to know whether D. fastuosa or D. stramonium is present. The Flora of British India regards it as indigenous to India, but De Candolle considered D. stramonium, L. only to be indigenous to the Old World, probably the borders of the Caspian Sea or nearby, but not native to India. It is very doubtful that it was in Europe in Roman times but spread to there before AD 1500. De Candolle held that D. tatula, “a form most writers express the strongest hesitation in accepting as specifically distinct from D. stramonium,” is a native of Central America. Much used medicinally in India. Leaves are “smoked with tobacco for asthma.” Also, “its value as a curative in asthma is known both to Europeans and Natives, who smoke the seed in their hukas when so afflicted.” (Quote from Baden Powell). 42. D. metel grows wild in every part of the country and seeds are used extensively. 43. Var. tatula (of D. stramonium). Young fruits imported into India from Persia. Common everywhere around villages in Afghanistan. The name Tatula is the Turkish corruption of dhatura, through the Persian, the Sanskrit being dhattura, or dhustura; it would be equally applicable to any form of datura. He quotes O’Shaughnessy (Beng. Disp.): “It [i.e., D. metel] is a native of North America, very nearly the same as D. Stramonium . . ..” But in this opinion (Watt says), he was most probably in error, the plant he regarded as D. tatula being more likely a cultivated state of D. metel. De Candolle appears, however, to consider D. tatula to be of Central American origin, and if that be so its Turkish name would be a most misleading accident . . ..”

Burkill 1966, I, 778—9. A rather small genus of herbs, shrubs, and little trees of the family Solanaceae, found throughout the tropics, but chiefly in Central America. Safford (1921, 173) maintained that D. stramonium, Linn., now common in Europe, was introduced from the Americas at an early date after Columbus. If that is so, the Greek and Roman physicians, who had a datura, or other, cannot have employed it (i.e., stramonium). The similar D. ferox, Linn., he admits as native of the Old World, but as it is Chinese, it is scarcely likely to have reached the Levant during the Roman Empire. D. metel, Linn., for which D. fastuosa and D. alba are but other names, he admits as occurring naturally in Asia and Africa. This species the Greeks and Romans had. It is supposed that as a drug it was used in the temple of Delphi. Apart from these species, the rest of the genus is American. If Safford’s view is accepted, interest in the genus in the East is concentrated upon D. metel, which is in Malaya. But of D. stramonium, which does not occur in Malaya, a few words must be said. D. stramonium may be found in parts of Asia very remote from ports, and for that reason it is possible to argue in favor of its occurrence in the Old World before the discovery of the New World.

Chopra et al. 1958, 134. (1) D. innoxia is a native of Mexico now found growing in the western parts of the Deccan Peninsula and a few other places in India. Used in India for the same purposes as D. stramonium. 134—5. (2) D. metel (syn. D. fastuosa Linn.; syn. D. alba Nees.) occurs throughout India. (3) D. stramonium (syn. D. tatula Linn.) Vernacular names: Jimson weed, stink weed, mad apple, thorn apple, stramonium. Sanskrit: dhattura, unmatta, kanaka, Shivapriya. Known to ancient Hindu physicians; smoking seeds was a treatment for asthma and was known during the Vedic period. The drug is frequently mentioned in the literature in its use for suicidal and homicidal purposes. “D. stramonium is indigenous to India and grows abundantly throughout the temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Sikkim.”

Reko 1919, 115. In Mexico, “The name toloache, which coincides with the Chinese name tolo-wan, for the same plant (Datura strammonium), could indicate transpacific communications.”

Lozoya 2003, 89. Psychotopic plants are those that guide the soul (from the Greek roots). The origin in our territory (Mexico) of these plants goes back, probably, to very ancient times. For example, among the ancient writers of the world (and, among those, the Chinese were truly the most ancient), a Chinese geographer of the 16th century BC, Guo Pu, stated in his work called Shan jing (Book of the Mountains and the Seas) that the sea on their east, the Pacific Ocean, was crossed by Chinese navigators as they headed towards the origin of the sun, America. He adds that the emperors of the Zhou era sent great ships bearing their fangshi, or alchemists, astrologers, and founders of Taoism, to this eastern region, called the White Coast, in search of busicao, or “plants of undying.” It was believed that ingesting these plants would cleanse the senses, clarify the perception of the world, and provide immortality. All of these properties were acquired by consuming busicao. The two intangible forces in the substance circulate through the channels of the human body, performing a revitalizing function that prolongs human life and permits plenitude. These ancient Asian travelers may have sought busicao in the Americas; prevailing currents would surely have brought them to the coasts of northern America. If this was not the case, how can we explain the fact that plants (some of them also present in Asia) now classified as psychotropic, are in the Americas? Plants like Amanita muscaria, Datura spp., Brugmansia spp., Lophophora spp., and Ipomoea spp., among others, gradually became part of the rituals, later termed as ecstatic, that were performed by American peoples many centuries later.

Ancient Mesoamericans believed that the human body consisted of flesh and bone as well as two intangible, luminous entities known as tonalli and yályotl. They had received this knowledge from enigmatic Toltec sages, a people who also came from over the sea. These substances were administered in sacred contexts. Among them, Nicotiana rustica, tobacco chewed or smoked to induce a trance, and the tolohuaxíhuitl, or toloaches, “the revered lord” (i.e., Datura stramonium, D. inoxia, D. metel) that allowed them to “see clearly.” Also used were péyotl, or peyote, (Lophophora williamsii) and teonanácatl, “flesh of god” (Psilocybe mexicana, P. semperviva, P.yungensis, P. caerulescens).

In the captions accompanying this article’s illustrations the following hallucinogens are discussed: Trichocereum sp., a cactus, endemic in South Amercia and rich in mescaline; Turbina corymbosa, ololiuhqui; Ipomoea violacea, tlitliltzin (one of the principal hallucinogens in Oaxaca); and Pasiflora incarnata, passion flower. One might check all these plants for Asian equivalents.

Ramí­rez 2003, 88. Indigenous peoples in northern Mexico and Southwestern United States used datura medicinally, for diagnostic purposes, to have visions, as an amulet to win bets, as an aid in hunting (success), and in initiation rites.

Dí­az 2003, 80. The Náhuatl name of Datura stramonium is tlápatl, or toloache. It is classed as a deliriogen. Those plants cloud and reduce consciousness and can be described as true ‘narcotics.’ In high doses, they produce delirium similar to that caused by fever. “These are plants of a dark and secret tradition, used in rites of witchcraft, occasionally to harm enemies, or to confuse an unfaithful spouse.”

At least two species of Datura are identified specifically in both Asian and American sources:

Datura metel (syn. meteloides, syn. innoxia, syn. fastuosa, syn. alba)

Datura stramonium (syn. tatula, syn. patula)

Origin: Americas

Summary: Since these two cannot be untangled historically on recent data, we suppose that their transfer from the Americas to Asia (pre-eminently India) took place either via a single transoceanic boat passage that brought both the species at once, or by separate voyages perhaps to separate destinations. Inasmuch as the transport across the ocean between Eurasia and America of at least four other drugs (Argemone mexicana, Cannabis sativa, Erythroxylon novagranatense, and Nicotiana tabacum) has been established (see above and below), it would not be surprising for the Daturas to have been part of the movement (one name in India for A. mexicana means “foreign datura”).

Time of transfer: of the Daturas would probably be on the order of two or three millennia ago in order to account for their Sanskrit names, references to the plants in ancient Hindu texts, and the archaeological find.

Grade: for each of the two species: A

Datura sanguinea

Origin: South America.

Summary: Needs further research, but this additional narcotic species that is used to induce prophetic states in Peru may have been a pre-Columbian transfer to Asia along with the other daturas.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Datura sanguinea

Bailey, 1935, I, 970. The seeds of this plant are said to have been used by Peruvian priests that were believed to have prophetic power. Plant is native to Peru.

Pandey 2000, 283. D. sanguinea, an import from South America to India, is one species “naturalized throughout India.”

See also the material under Datura sp. in general.

Derris spp.

Origin: tropical Old World

Summary: On the basis of the extensive questions raised by Quigley about the piscicidal plants shared between Africa and South America, it seems advisable to look further into the question of whether there may have been a transatlantic link. More research is obviously required.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Derris spp.

Burkill 1966, I, 798. The root is used to make a piscicide. Its use extends throughout Indo-China and Malaysia to Australia and Fiji, and throughout tropical South America. “It is obvious when the distribution of the species of Derris is studied that sometimes one species is used and sometimes another; but the choice is limited to a few species.”

Quigley 1957. Raises general questions about the use of this genus for fish poisoning in both Africa and South America. The taxonomy is so confused that one cannot tell from the ethnographic accounts whether the parallels and the substances are specific or not. [Johannessen observes: Since these are reproduced by placing pieces of the stem in the ground, any mutagens that are reproduced may give the appearance of different species.]

Dioscorea alata

Origin: Southeast Asia

Summary: The sources have a number of references to the presumed presence of this species at and immediately after the Conquest. Modern botanists, however, generally accept that only certain native American species of Dioscorea were present in the Western Hemisphere. Further research is needed to reconcile the disparate views.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Dioscorea alata—yam

Heyerdahl 1964, 128. The yam had acquired a truly transpacific distribution in pre-Columbian times, with edible forms cultivated from the Americas to Indonesia. A spread from Melanesia to Polynesia has been generally assumed, but if the use of the yam bean in conjunction with cultivation of yams is assumed (sic) then a spread from the Americas may also be postulated. The New World tropics hold a number of wild species of Dioscorea, some with edible tubers, but it is not known whether the domesticated American forms have been developed out of wild American parents.

Alexander 1970. The genus is found wild in Africa, Asia, and the Americas in 600 species. It is agreed by botanists that cultigens have been developed from local wild forms on the three continents. Southeast Asia: D. alata and D. esculenta are held to be of Asian origin, and a third, D. bulbifera, originated either there or in the islands. On literary evidence, yams were known and presumably domesticated in South China by the 3rd century AD and India by the 6th (but in India not much earlier). Direct archaeological evidence does not exist. In the Pacific islands, yams are a major and perhaps a staple crop. Botanically, the island species are those of the Asiatic mainland. In the further islands, where wild yams are not found, arrival of domestic species are recorded in oral tradition and dated to the 1st and 2nd millennia AD. Groups with equipment similar to that possessed by farmers on the mainland have been found and dated, as on the mainland, to the 2nd and 1st millennia BC. In Madagascar and the East African Coastal Plain, Southeast Asian species are grown. On linguistic and physical anthropological grounds, settlement of Madagascar is considered to be of Southeast Asian origin, and movement of peoples and plants across and around the Indian Ocean in the 1st millennium AD is generally accepted. In Africa, a comparable body of evidence has been accumulated. Two important cultigens and several minor forms have developed from indigenous species. Several yam pests exist in Africa in four species, which may be significant in relation to age of the crop. In South America, wild yams are found in Brazil and Venezuela and at least one cultigen, D. trifida, is accepted by botanists as derived from local wild forms. Equipment like that used by later cultivators is present in the area in the 2nd, or possibly even the 3rd, millennium BC. These facts do not square with the general theories so far advanced by Burkill and Sauer.

Piperno 1999, 126—7. Phytolith spectra from pre-maize (pre-7000 BP) archaeological evidence is reprised supporting the hypothesis that arrowroot and other native plants such as Dioscorea spp. were cultivated in Panama before the introduction of maize.

Tozzer 1941, 196. Discussing the four root crops mentioned by Landa, Stewart (in W. Gates 1937) suggests that one of them was the yam, Dioscorea alata; in Náhuatl: mexcal, macal. It is “not native to America.”

Hernandez 1942—1946 [before 1580], II, 487—8. For this plant, Tepactli, or Tepatli, found in Panuco province, the editors suggest “Dioscorea alata?” M. Martí­nez in Plantas Medicinales de Mexico, 546, thinks that this plant is maaxcal, which is sometimes glossed as D. alata.

Hatt 1951, 853—914. Myths and rituals in Asia associated with the cultivation of cereals, including maize, and of the origin of the yam (Dioscorea), agree with myths in the Americas.

Canals Frau 1956—1957, 28—42. Multiple species of Dioscoreas have a long history of use in South and Southeast Asia, from which they extended into Oceania. The ancient word for the plant and its valuable edible root, ubi, ended up as uhi in Eastern Polynesia. D. trifida, a different species, was domesticated in the Antilles and lowland South America in pre-Columbian times, and in Colombia, its name is also uhi (and obvious variants, cited, including those among the Huitoto, Sumu, and Miskito Indians). Furthermore, a myth on the origin of the plant’s name is the same in Southeast Asia and the Americas. E.D. Merrill has finally given up his absolute opposition to transfer of this plant and considers Dioscorea a possibility.

Mellén B. 1986, 129. Hervé’s early diary in re. Easter Island mentions uhi, or D. alata. Martí­nez (1913) identified names of 41 varieties. Spaniards called all these ñame.

Newcomb 1963, 55—7. Canals Frau suggests the D. trifida of the Caribbean may have derived from D. alata, due to the plant dropping out of cultivation with disruptions resulting from the Conquest. (D. bulbifera is grown for bulbs which form on axials between stems. It is supposed to be of Chinese origin but shows up in coastal Mexico and South America; not at all in Africa.) (This is an additional question to be studied.)

Johannessen observes: (source cannot be recalled) Stanton Cook’s research concluded that D. alata had been growing on Trinidad at the time of Spanish contact.

Roys 1931, 262. “Macal. Dioscorea alata, L. “ame. This, of course, is an Old World importation, but the name macal, designated a native plant originally.” In a 16th-century account we read of “a root which they call macal and which directly resembles the root of a lily. These are eaten boiled.” “This description suggests one of the Araceae, possibly Xanthosoma violaceum, Schott., a well known food plant of Central America which apparently appears in Yucatan.” (Citing a letter from Standley.)

Patiño 1964, 26—9. Re. the name ñame: This name was diffused from the west coast of Africa by Hispano/Portuguese navigators. It is known that the principal ñames cultivated nowadays in the circum-Caribbean area, D. Alata L. and D. cayenensis Lam., are species of African origin, or at least were introduced to the Americas from Africa. But it seems that the name ñame was applied not only to Dioscorea but to tuberous plants of other families. There exist in the Americas several native species of Dioscorea, of which some can be and were domesticated or utilized by the aborigines. In recent years, since the discovery of the existence in these plants of the hormone cortisone, search for them has intensified. He goes on to discuss native names of Dioscorea plants in various localities.

Dioscorea cayenensis

Origin: Africa

Summary: The ambiguous historical position of D. cayenensis in Africa, South America, and the Marquesas leaves questions that cannot yet be answered. More study needs to be given to the distribution of this species in order to determine whether there was a possible transfer (either Polynesia/Americas or Africa/South America).

Case 1. Transfer: Africa to South America

Grade: incomplete

Case 2. Transfer: Americas to Polynesia

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Dioscorea cayenensis—guinea yam

Newcomb 1963, 56. Murdock reported D. rotundata and D. cayenensis in West Africa. Burkill calls these ‘guinea yams,’ of white and yellow type. Yams were undoubtedly taken out of the wild and cultivated in the West African tropics. They occur in the New World too. D. cayenensis was described by Linnaeus from Guiana and given the name ‘cayenne’ the same as the West African yam. Why then is the (South American) Guiana yam said to be morphologically distinguishable from the D. cayenensis of Africa? [Work needs to be done to resolve this question.]

Baker 1931,155—6. There are approximately 450 species [sic; varieties?] of Dioscorea widely distributed in the tropics; two or three species are widely distributed in Polynesia and are probably of aboriginal introduction. 157—8. His fourth species of Dioscorea he gives as simply D. sp., from a single specimen found on Fatuhiva, the Marquesas. “The material is not sufficient for accurate determination, but it appears to be near to, if not identical with, D. cayenensis Lamarck, a native of Africa, widely cultivated at an early date in tropical America.” . . . “Doubtless of early aboriginal introduction in the Marquesas, and, if D. cayenensis, which it closely resembles, it would further indicate contact with America.”

Diospyros ebenaster

Origin: Americas

Summary: Despite some confusion in the taxonomy, there is little question that D. ebenaster was present both in Tropical America and in India and probably China.

Transfer: to Asia from Americas

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Sources: Diospyros ebenaster—black sapote (Kew. syn. ebenum)

Schoenhals 1988, 142. Diospyros digyna, black sapote (synonymy?), Indian ebony persimmon.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 189. Probably Mexico is the center of gene diversity.

Dressler 1953, 132. A popular fruit in parts of Mexico. Related to the better-known persimmon and produces fruit of good size. Some have thought it a native of the East Indies, but the evidence seems to indicate a Mexican origin (citing Merrill 1918).

Roys 1931, 284. “Tauch, or Tauch-ya. Diospyros ebenaster, Retz.” Sapote negro. 297. Achras Zapota. Chicozapote, Zapote. Bears the sapodilla fruit. Its gum, tzicte, is the chicle of commerce; Mayan: ya.”

Newcomb 1963, 61. A common garden tree in Mexico and Central America, it was called tlilzapote in Nahuan. Also cultivated in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. However, there is no suggestion of its having been introduced from one area into the other. “A mysterious question of its nativity remains. Some botanists suggest that it is New World, but others say Old World. It is a little more likely to be Old World in origin, because there are so many persimmons in East Asia. In Mexico and Guatemala, it is always associated with human habitations. There is a native cast to it. . . .. It is deeply embedded in native use.”

Chopra et al. 1958, 505. Grown throughout practically all India.

Watt 1888—1893, III, 138—40. D. ebenaster is taken as synonymous with D. ebenum, ebony. Found in South India, Ceylon, Malaya. “The utmost confusion exists in the writings of popular authors regarding this tree . . ..” Apparently, the term ‘ebony’ is used for woods of several trees.

Bretschneider 1892, 407. Name unchanged from [Chinese] Classic times to today, she, Diospyros.

Brücher 1989, 227—8. Diospyros spp. This is a rare botanical family with few (5—6) genera distributed in all tropical hemispheres [sic]. The best known is the Asiatic D. kaki L., now widely cultivated as a prolific fruit tree. In the Americas, four species are native: D. virginiana L., D. digyna Jacq., D. ebenaster Retz., and D. inconstans Jacq. Origin in Central America (Guat. and Mexico) and grows also in the Antilles. In the south of the U.S., the fruits are more appreciated than the local D. virginiana, both called ‘persimmon,’ or black sapote.

Balfour 1871—1873, I, 23. flchra Sapota, Eilld., syn. Diospyros sapota. Eng. terms: ‘bulli,’ or ‘buily tree,’ common sapota, sapodilla plum. “A native of China, cultivated in the West Indies and South America.” In India, it is grown only as a fruit tree. Balfour, II, D—105. flchra sapota, syn. D. ebenaster, Retz., English ebony.

Dolichos lablab

Origin:Old World

Summary: A possibility seems to exist that the Peruvian specimen originally assigned to this species might prove, on further study, indeed to be this bean. The Peruvian coast in the 3rd (or 4th) millennium BC seems to have been a zone of interchange of Old and New World flora, making it conceivable that this bean was present.

Grade: incomplete

Source: Dolichos lablab

Kelly 1951, 208—9. This Old World bean was originally reported from Huaca Priéta, Peru, as an early cultivar, but the identification was subsequently changed. 29. One of the Old World pulses with others listed, including Dolichos lablab and Lupinus albus. 39. An African plant. It is a possible Negro African introduction before Columbus, although missing from Arab Africa. It was supposed to have had a New World origin until De Candolle studied it.

Elaeis guineensis

Origin: Africa

Summary: Since two species of the same genus face each other across the narrow part of the South Atlantic ocean, it may be desirable to know more about how the anomalous South American species reached its position. While that distribution is thought by some to result from continental drift, that is not, of course, known for a fact. DNA examination might reveal how long since the African and South American taxa have been apart.

Grade: incomplete

Sources:Elaeis guineensis—Guinea oil palm

Newcomb 1963. 60—1. The guinea oil palm and a black-seeded species in Brazil are of note. L.H. Bailey claimed that the Guinea oil palm (see more by him under Cocos nucifera) had been carried into West Africa from the New World.

Steentoft 1988, 223. Palmae (Arecaceae)—palm family. There are 12 genera of indigenous plants in West Africa. Of these, only Elaeis and Raphia also have New World species.

Patiño 1963, 54. Statements of the chroniclers about palms are relatively few. The oil palm (Elaeis guinensis Jacq.) and two others were originally from Africa.

Bailey 1935, III, 2438. “As a rule, the members of any single genus of palms are found in one hemisphere, either the Eastern or Western as the case may be, probably the greater number of species being of Asiatic and American origin, rather than African.”

Sauer 1993, 189—92. Elaeis includes two wild species, E. oleifera of Central and South America, and E. guineensis of West Africa. 190. Elaeis is monoecious, so dispersal of a single seed is enough to start a new colony. Aboriginal use of E. oleifera in the American tropics was very minor, and the species has never become a plantation crop.

Erigeron albidus

Origin: Americas

Summary: The fact of the plant’s native name plus its ubiquitous distribution in Hawaii suggests that it had reached there before Europeans. (Even in early historical times as a weed this is an unlikely transfer.)

Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Source: Erigeron albidus—(Kew, syn. bonariensis)

Hillebrand 1888, 196. Interspersed with E. canadensis, gregarious in parts of Molokai and Maui. A native of Tropical America, but now a common weed in many countries of the warmer zones. The editor, W.F. Hillebrand (son), explains on page XCIII that his father at first considered this species introduced after Capt. Cook but changed his mind and ended up concluding that it had arrived before that event.

Erigeron canadensis

Origin: Americas

Summary: The presence of E. canadensis in India must be old to have naturalized quite completely, as it has, in addition to bearing two Sanskrit names.

Case l: Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: more than one millennium ago and probably two

Grade: B plus

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Sources: Erigeron canadensis—(syn. and preferred modern taxon is Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronq.)

Hillebrand 1888, 196. A common weed on all Hawaiian islands. Native name: iliohe. “Of American origin, but now naturalized in most parts of the globe, particularly in the temperate latitudes” The editor, W.F. Hillebrand (son), explains on page XCIII that his father at first considered this species introduced post-Capt. Cook but changed his mind and concluded that it was pre-European.

Pandey 2000, 272. E. canadensis, from North America, is a species “naturalized throughout India.”

Torkelson 1999, 1726. Sanskrit: jarayupriya, makshikavisha

Chopra et al. 1958, 556. An annual herb found in the western Himalayas, Punjab, and Rohilkhund up to an altitude of 4,000 ft. Plentiful in Kashmir. Also in Shillong (Assam), the Western Ghats and the Nilgiris up to 6,000 ft. Leaves produce irritation of parts of the body they touch.

K.T. Harper (personal communication, 2004). This species is a follower and close associate of man, highly unlikely to have dispersed by natural means across an ocean. It is everywhere a common garden weed, so its seeds could be expected to be found in any soil used to sustain crop rootstocks that early humans might have carried on colonizing voyages.

Erythroxylon novagranatense

Origin: South America

Summary: The evidence for early Egyptian use makes inescapable acceptance of the fact that coca plants were being grown in Eurasia; their use for many centuries precludes the possibility that a continuing supply of leaves was imported from the Americas.

Transfer: South America to at least Egypt

Time of transfer: as early as the 2nd millennium BC

Grade: A

Sources: Erythroxylon sp.—coca

Balabanova et al. 1992, 358. Nine Egyptian mummies, dated from approximately 1070 BC—AD 395 were examined by radioimunoassay and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Cocaine and hashish were found in all nine mummies, and nicotine in the hair, soft tissue, and bones of eight. That 1992 article educed letters critical of the authors and their findings; see Naturwissenschaften 80 (1993), 243ff. Parsche responded that, “our analysis provides clear evidence for the presence of [the reported] alkaloids” and is not due to post-discovery contamination.

Plowman 1984, 135—6. The archaeological record of the use of Huánuco coca. Earlier investigators did not distinguish among different species and varieties of cultivated coca. Re-examination of extant archaeological coca leaves from coastal Peru revealed that they all represent Trujillo coca, E. novogranatense var. truxillense. Gold and ceramic artifacts depicting coca chewers have been discovered at Tiwanaku. They suggest that coca was in use there perhaps as early as the 4th century AD (that is a quote from Carter et al. 1980). 138. Erythroxlum novogranatense has two well-defined varieties, var. truxillense, Trujillo coca, and var. novogranatense, Colombian coca. They are chemically different from E. coca var. coca. 140. The archaeological record of Trujillo coca starts by suggesting that coca-chewing on the Peruvian coast began in Late pre-Ceramic Period 6 (2500—1800 BC.) (species undetermined) from a site dated around 2000 BC. Also at ca. 1800 BC, 1750—1900 BC, and 1800—1400 BC. Archaeological coca leaves from much later sites on the Peruvian coast have been available for study; all belong to E. novogranatense var. truxillense. From AD 1000—600, etc. 144. “There is sufficient evidence now to postulate that Trujillo coca was cultivated and chewed on the Peruvian coast at least by 2000 BC and possibly earlier.” 146. Perhaps the earliest known record for coca chewing comes from the Valdivia culture in southwestern coastal Ecuador. Lime containers (lime is typically chewed along with coca leaves) have been found there that date to Valdivia Phase 4, about 2100 BC (uncalibrated radiocarbon dating). In Machalilla and Chorrera periods (1000—300 BC.) “Based on the archaeological evidence [but not on actual plant remains], it appears that coca cultivation and the habit of coca-chewing were fully established in the Valdivia area by 3000 BC.”

Towle 1961, 58—60. Widely recovered from archaeological sites; both Nazca and Mochica jars picture men with distended cheeks or dipping lime. Also, there are many finds of bags of leaves and lime pellets, as at Ancón, Paracas Cavernas, and Paracas Necropolis.

Shady et al. 2003. At Caral (ca. 2600—2000 Cal BC) near the Peruvian coast, excavations revealed actual coca seeds as well as lime containers like those later used by consumers of coca.

Cartmell et al. 1991. Coca was in use in northern Chile (implying trade of the substance) determined from analysis of hair.

Jett 2004 reprises the growing literature on chemical identification of cocaine as evidenced in mummies in Egypt, Nubia, etc.

Addenda, too late to enter: Jett. 2002a; Guthrie 2002.

Garcinia mangostana

Origin: Southeast Asia

Summary: The evidence for transfer to the Americas consists of the remains of the fruit that have been recovered from tombs in Peru.

Transfer: Asia to Peru

Time of transfer: The tombs where the fruits were found are probably those at Ancón or Paracas, which means the late BC centuries.

Grade: B

Sources: Garcinia mangostana—mangosteen

Nadkarni 1914, 166. Garcinia mangostana. Eng.: mangosteen. Hind. and Ben.: mangustin. A native of the Straits Settlement and Singapore.

Pullaiah 2002, I, 264. Surprisingly, no Sanskrit name is given.

Chopra et al. 1956, 123. Cultivated on the West Coast of India.

Towle 1961, 97. Rochebrune (1879, 346, 351) reported that fruits of this plant, usually cut in half, had been found in string bags recovered from graves in Peru. His identification, however, was questioned by Wittmack (1888, 341), (only?) since mangosteen is considered a native of Asia and was brought to the New World as a horticultural importation well after the period of discovery.

De Prez 1935, 61. He pictures a sculpture at Borobudur (ca. AD 700—900) that shows mangosteen fruit (simultaneously with the mango, Mangifera indica).

Watt (1888—1893, III, 470—1) calls this a native of Malaya (“the Strait”), cultivated in Burma for its fruit. Its distribution was very localized; it does not grow successfully if transplanted to most of India. [Hence, it could easily fail to stay on in Peru even if transferred to there across the Pacific.] “A congenial amount of heat and moisture throughout the year seems to be necessary for its successful cultivation.” Used as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery.

Bailey 1967, II, 1312—3. Genus has upward of 150 species in the tropics of Asia, Africa, and Polynesia. The name mangostana is credited to the Malay region.

Gnaphalium purpureum

Origin: Americas

Summary: In Hillebrand’s expert opinion this species reached Hawaii in pre-European times. In light of its widespread distribution in India, one wishes to know more about when the species was introduced there.

Case 1: Transfer: to Hawaii

Time of transfer: before European discovery

Grade: C

Case 2: Transfer: to India

Time of transfer: unknown

Grade: incomplete

Source: Gnaphalium purpureum—(syn. americana, syn. spicata)

Hillebrand 1888, page XCIII. The editor, W.F. Hillebrand, notes that in his father’s tabulation of plant species from Hawaii that were introduced after Capt. Cook’s arrival, his father changed his mind about some plants which he had assumed were introduced pre-Cook but which “may in reality have been of earlier introduction” (in the elder Hillebrand’s judgment.) “Of 9 non-endemic species which existed before the discovery . . . one, Gnaphalium, [among others is] American . . ..” 201. “A native of the American Continent, on which it extends under a variety of names from the United States East and West to the southern extremity. Has migrated also to Hongkong [sic] and a few other places of the Old World.”

Pandey 2000, 271. G. purpureum, a native of Tropical America, is one species “naturalized throughout India”.

Gossypium spp. in general

Sources: Gossypium spp. in general

Brücher 1989, 149. Old World cottons, going back to Mohenjo-Daro and Egypt, were only diploid species. “The situation in the New World in ancient times was quite different. Many thousands of years ago a unique phylogenetical event occurred there: a combination, followed by polyploidy of the Old World A-genome with a New World D-genome. Until now, nobody has been able to explain how and where it happened; but that this genome fusion took place on American soil is without doubt.”

Wendel 1995, 362. The earliest cotton cloth documented by archaeology in Asia is 4,300 years old, from sites in India and Pakistan [specimens from the Americas, given on p. 362 as 5,500 years in Peru, for barbadense; the earliest hirsutum finds are between 400 and 5000 BP in the Tehuacán valley of Mexico]. Which species is represented in these earliest remains is not clear. G. arboreum is known only as a cultivated plant with a center of diversity in India and a range from China and Korea westward into northern Africa. Wild ancestral forms have not been verified.

Yarnell 1970, 225. Earliest remains, Peru: 4000 BP; Southern Mexico: 8000 BP; Northern Mexico: 9000 BP. [The latter two are probably excessively early, given the re-dating of MacNeish’s maize specimens reported in Long, et al. 1989, 1035—40].

Yen 1963, 112. Notes that at Huaca Priéta, Peru, Bird (1948) found seeds of Gossypium, dated ca. 2578—2470 BC. (Cal.ibrated to 3200—3070 BC.)

Johnson 1975, 340, 348. Opponents of the concepts of an agricultural origin of the tetraploids point to the difficulty of explaining how Old World cotton could have been transported to the New World in prehistoric times, and to the illogic of assuming that man would have brought cotton, but not his basic food plants (Purseglove 1968). [That argument is passé in the light of the present data.] At least “With respect to the latter one, however, there is little reason to believe that biologically and culturally unadapted food plants from the Old World would survive long in Mesoamerica, an area already rich in improved food-producing species. On the other hand, the known absence in that area of a comparable fiber plant would make cotton a prized addition to the culture.” Note also that “An A-genome cotton indigenous to the Americas has never been found, either living or in archaeological contexts, yet such a cotton clearly was involved in the origin of the tetraploids. This inconsistency is explainable assuming that the A donor was an unadapted type capable of existing only under agricultural conditions (Stephens 1947) as long as the needs of man placed a premium upon its survival, and that it became extinct, or nearly so, when supplanted by better-adapted tetraploids of competing quality. Furthermore, “The idea that the tetraploids could have survived geological epochs [i.e., since the Cretaceous] as adapted species only to vanish as such since the rise of agriculture, and yet that they could have produced successful escapes from cultivation, seems highly improbable.”

Wendel 1989, 4132—4136. A major conclusion of this paper is that the chloroplast genome of New World tetraploid Gossypium is derived from an Old World diploid cotton. Concludes that the initial hybridization and polyploidization events that led to the evolution of tetraploid cotton were “relatively recent.” 4136. The low level of sequence divergence argues against a Cretaceous age for the origin of the tetraploids, but suggests occurrence “relatively recently,” perhaps within “the last 1—2 million years.”

Townsend 1925, 3. The major insect enemies of the plant point to the Americas as this plant’s native home. The Mexican boll weevil and the Peruvian square weevil, which attack no other plant in nature, have evidently been adapted to cotton and close American allies for “tens of thousands of years.” They are not carried in the seed and hence were not transported to the Eastern Hemisphere when the seed was taken there from America (sic).” Had cotton seed been brought by the ancients from India to the Americas, it is certain that the pink bollworm would have been introduced here at that time. [This author is not very reliable, generally.]

Merrill 1954, 165—385. Gives reasons for thinking that more than one form of Gossypium was present in the Society Islands soon after European contact and refers to “numerous hybrids between New World and Old World cotton species” which might well have reached Tahiti through the agency of man “before the long voyages of the Polynesians had ceased.”

Hutchinson 1962, 5—15. Updates the research on cottons that he had carried on with Silow and Stephens from 1934 to 1947 and reaffirms their conclusion that the two key American cottons are from a hybrid involving Old World cotton which arrived in the New World long before Columbus. The Bering Strait could not have been the route.

Silow 1949, 112—8. A major synthesis of the geography and cytogenetics of New World cottons. Diploid Gossypium arboreum came from South Asia, most likely from India, to the Americas, where it hybridized with a native diploid cotton, from which the two tetraploid domesticated species (G. hirsutum and G. barbadense) in the Americas sprang. Furthermore, it is significant that the domesticated American cottons occurred exclusively along with the same type of spindle “used by the fine spinners of Dacca muslin in India, and the looms also are identical with those used in the Old World.” Those looms “involv[ed] at least eleven independent technical inventions.” To him, then, “It seems most unlikely that such an assemblage of developments . . ., should have appeared in the New World by independent invention.” He gives decisive arguments why chance transfer by seed floating from Asia to the Americas is not an acceptable explanation. Only one American species (of eight wild species), G. raimondi, has characteristics of the subsequent hybrid-domesticated, tetraploid cottons. And raimondi is limited to northwestern South America, which must then be the home of the earliest tetraploid hybrid. The most plausible explanation is the transference of the Asiatic diploid (linted) parent by humans across the Pacific Ocean.

Stephens 1971,401—15. Wild cottons existed on all continents with suitable climates. If seeds could thus be naturally carried [sic], then presumably natural means could also have carried cultivated species [not so, Stephens, 1947, himself argued]. Moreover, the Spaniards and other discoverers in the Pacific islands quickly spread cottons, further complicating a reading of history from distribution. Difficulties in reliable identification of cotton varieties from archaeological materials are also discussed. In two situations, the Cape Verdes and the Marquesas, the presence of wild cottons of American origin suggests human transmission in pre-Columbian times, although the evidence is not conclusive.

Stephens 1963,1—22. Wild G. hirsutum, scattered in southern Polynesia, was much more recent. It is difficult to account for its disjunct distribution (Caribbean, Central America, and South Pacific) by ocean drift alone. Possible it was brought by Spanish expeditions some of which actually planted cotton. [But what could be the source in the Americas from which they picked up tomentosum; there is no trace of it as such anywhere on the mainland; since genetically it has characteristics like hirsutum and barbadense, it appears to have descended from the ancestral tetraploid in parallel with the latter two; see Wendel, Schnabel, and Seelanan 1955.]

Stephens 1947, 431—2. It is believed that South America was where chromosomes doubled to produce the American forms. G. tomentosum in Hawaii is the only remaining proposed endemic cotton in Polynesia after eliminating those of the Marquesas, Fiji, and Galapagos. (Those three are actually {descended from}American cottons, he had noted.) A chance crossing by air or ocean currents is possible but seems unlikely over such immense distances as would be required. Cotton seed loses viability quickly in moist air. And Gossypium does not survive in the wild [taken to mean that domesticated species do not, as far as he knows, survive as the same species in the wild]. The facts all suggest that American cottons may have been used by man at their outset and not independently developed from wild ancestral species.

Johnson 1975, 340. The data indicate that G. barbadense (AADbetaDbeta) originated in northern South America from G. herbaceum x. G. raimondii and that the cultivated races of G. hirsutum represent various degrees of introgression involving G. barbadense and the Mexican hirsutum complex.

Schwerin 1970. A possibility is that Africans were blown to the New World between 8000 and 5700 BC and brought cotton. [Date is highly doubtful for cotton in West Africa. No agriculture is known to have existed anywhere near either date.]

Lathrap 1977, 713—51. Proposes that West African fishermen were carried to sea to Brazil by 16,000 years ago, bringing with them Lagenaria, fish poisons, watercraft, two-toned log signalling, and cotton. [There is no sign of Lagenaria use in Africa at that date.]

Sauer 1988, 229. It is “generally accepted” that the common polyploid species of Gossypium hirsutum originated in the Pleistocene by hybridization on tropical American seacoasts between native diploids and an African diploid whose seeds had dispersed by ocean currents. [Such a position is not “generally accepted.” Cf. Silow on G. arboreum as the Asian diploid source. There is no direct evidence that it was in existence in the Pleistocene, at least not in Africa. And if the D-genome came from Africa, how did it meet up with G. raimondi, which is in Northwest South America. Further, if the hybridization took place in the Pleistocene and dispersal was by oceanic drift, why did tetraploids not float to all other continents in the intervening millennia?]

MacNeish and Smith 1964, 675—6. Cotton finds are so early from the Tehuacán Valley that the idea of importation by human voyaging is unacceptable. [? In any case, the dates there may not now be as old as originally claimed. Cf. Long et al. 1989.]

Mellén B. 1986, 134. References have been made to cotton being on the (Easter) Island. That is an error, coming from a statement in a letter that spoke of a plant fiber (háu, or mahúte) being used somewhat as if it were cotton.

Wendel 1989, 4132. Current classifications recognize approximately 42 species, comprising either 5 or 6 tetraploid taxa and about 36 diploid species divided into 7 cytogenetic groups or ‘genomes.’ Asian/African diploids, Gossypium arboreum L. and Gossypium herbaceum L., differ from the New World tetraploids G. barbadense L. and G. hirsutum L. Pioneering cytogenetic investigations by Beasly and others demonstrated that the New World tetraploid cottons are allopolyploids containing one genome of the Old World diploids (the A-genome) and one genome similar to those found in New World diploids (the D-genome). This textbook example of allopolyploid speciation has been studied and corroborated from many perspectives (citations on all points). “Yet, the identity of the ancestral parental taxa remains unresolved. G. raimondii is considered by most authors (but not all) as the likely D-genome donor. There is also uncertainty regarding the identity of the A-genome donor. G. herbaceum is slightly more congenial in that role. The tetraploids are highly heterogeneous inter se, including G. tomentosum (Hawaii), the species from the Galapagos (G. darwinii), and other specimens from the Pacific islands, Central America, tropical South America, and the Caribbean. The literature contains a plethora of scenarios concerning the time and place of origin of the tetraploids (one of those cited is that of Hutchinson, Silow, and Stephens). Here, he re-examines the evolution of tetraploid cottons using new DNA data. Table 1 gives taxa and other info on multiple specimens from 17 species examined in the study. 4135. Concludes that the chloroplast genome of New World tetraploid G. is derived from an Old World diploid cotton. Time involved: views have ranged widely from Cretaceaous, arising from separation of continents, to suggestions of very recent origins in archaeological times involving transoceanic human transport (citing Hutchinson et al. and Johnson 1975). Only came up with 12 mutations out of a total of 3920 restriction sites assayed among 7 species of A-genome and tetraploid cottons. This suggests that the initial hybridization and polyploidization events that led to the evolution of tetraploid cotton were “relatively recent.” 4134. The data they obtained are interpreted as evidence that the ancestral plastid donor of tetraploid cottons was a plant with a chloroplast genome that is similar to present day Old World cotton. He cannot determine whether G. arboreum or G. herbaceum was more likely. 4136. Time [based solely on the apparent mutation rate]: “Perhaps within the last 1—2 million years.”

Newcomb 1963, 42—4. C. Sauer’s observations here are based mainly on Hutchinson et al.’s work at the Empire Cotton Growing Corporation Cotton Research Station, Trinidad. Gossypium goes back into the Tertiary, with species in North and South America, Australia, and Africa. The three groups each have distinctive chromosome patterns and shapes: American, Australian, and African. All wild spp. are lintless. Linting came from (with?) domestication. How did man become interested in it? The Australian Gossypium is not exploited. African strains—G. arboreum and[/or] G. terrestrium are the progenitors of cultivated Old World cottons. But the Africans are not cotton growers, even in Ethiopia (until late). Species taken into Asia and India were developed into Old World diploids but with unblemished African ancestry.

(Newcomb cont’d.) The American wild cotton that qualified to hybridize to produce later cottons looks to be in the Peruvian highlands, namely the diploid G. raimondii. Found in lower valleys on the west coast from Trujillo northward. It is not an escaped cotton. Mexican cotton is ancestral to most of today’s cottons. Polynesian cottons: the plant found in Tahiti is [closest to] G. barbadense (i.e., South American). Hawaiian is of Mexican, not South American, ancestry. It was formed by the introduction of a hirsutum strain out of Mexico. This has bothered S.G. Stephens no end, for how are we to account for this distribution; by a Spanish vessel shipwrecked in Hawaii? Hutchinson is also puzzled by it. A stray Manila galleon? But a ship returning from Manila to Mexico would be unlikely to have Mexican cotton seed aboard. Besides, Hawaii is far from the usual route. Galapagos cotton is barbadense type and almost lintless.

Roys 1931, 282. “Taman. Gossypium herbaceum, L.” [sic.; probable error]

Johnson and Decker 1980, 249—307. 250. “Unless data are incomplete, Polynesian vavae to vavai are lacking in Melanesia and Micronesia.” Stephens (1963) and Fryxell (1965) both “pointed to the presence of indisputably wild and probably indigenous species scattered across the Pacific from the Galapagos to northern Australia and Saipan.” Summarize three points from Stephens [from which St.] who concluded that the wild Gossypium species were known to and effectively used by Polynesians before the arrival of Europeans. 251—2. Austroasiatic languages farther west in mainland Southeast Asia do provide proto-forms for vavae/vavai that are reflected in the languages of Ceram and Polynesia. (See their Table 2). 256ff. The Relationship between Austronesian, Austroasiatic, and Indo-European Words for “Cotton”: A Case for Affinity.

(Johnson and Decker, cont’d) 288. Amerindian Words for Cotton. “. . . the semantic set for ‘cotton’ in ‘cloth’ or ‘weaving,’ as of ‘cotton’ and ‘hemp’ (maguey), the forms appear to be very similar to the South Indian bat-pat and Austroasiatic baç-paç (Crau, Table 5) forms for ‘cloth’ that were particularly connected with ‘cotton’. (Table 35).” The table cites Amerindian forms for ‘cotton.’ From Goajiro (Arawak), Jicaques (Honduras), Arawak, Tlappanecan, Inca, Kayuvava (Bolivia), Pochutla (Oaxaca), Mexican, Timote (Paez), Maku (Brazil), and Arawak. Table 35 on p. 289 lists South American Indian Forms for ‘Cloth’ (but includes Otomian, Xinca, Miskito, as well as “Proto-Amerindian and Fox.” Table 36 is also on p. 289: American Indian Proto-Forms Connected with the Spinning of Thread (Chipaya of Bolivia, Uru-Chipaya, Chol, Yunga, and Proto-Mayan). “Inasmuch as we have previously argued a possible connection between ‘grass’ (i.e., as ‘cane,’ ‘reed,’ ‘bamboo’) in the fiber set for ‘cordage’ and also in tools for weaving, we encounter a remarkable similarity between the forms for ‘cotton’ in connection with ‘hay,’ ‘grass,’ and ‘down,’ and those for ‘fire’ [because, as shown earlier, cotton was used for ‘wick’.], “particularly found in North American Indian languages” (see Table 38 on p. 290: Dakota-Teton, Ponca, Osage, Pilox , Oto, Siouan, Arawakan). Also on p. 290 is Table 37: Additional American Indian Forms for ‘Cloth’ and ‘Cotton’ (for Tzeltal, Paez, Proto-Amerindian, Proto-Arawak, Proto Piro-Apuriná, Culina, Proto-Tacanan, and Amahuaca). On p. 291: Table 39: Forms for ‘Cane’ and ‘Loom Comb’ in South America (includes Proto-Aztecan, Zoque-Mixe, and languages from Honduras and Brazil-Uruguay). Table 40: American Indian Forms for ‘Cloth,’ ‘Thread,’ ‘Kindle’ (includes Quechua, Inca, Atakapa-Chitimacha, Mexico, Fox, Miskito, Coeur d’Alene, Shoshone). 293. Wild hirsutum varieties [rather barbadense, probably?] that resemble their Central American and Caribbean relatives are known from the South Pacific part of Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, the Sulu Islands, south coastal New Guinea, northern Australia, and in the Indian Ocean as far west as Madagascar. The lexical evidence we have summarized suggests that knowledge of cotton predates European influence in the Pacific islands cultures that did not spin or weave, and farther west, knowledge of cotton predates introduction of cotton-weaving [assumed to be] over 2000 years ago.”

Gossypium arboreum or herbaceum

Origin: Old World

Summary: In order to account for the genetic history of American cottons, by any scenario, one or the other of these Old World diploids (there are arguments for each) must have been transported to the Americas to provide the D-genome that was in all succeeding tetraploid American species.

Transfer: Asia to Tropical America (preferentially northwest South America).

Time of transfer: Guesses range from 1—2 million years ago to agricultural times. We consider the scenarios that depend upon purely natural means of transfer (ocean drift) of domesticated cotton to include fatal flaws. We accept as most credible the original reasoning of Hutchinson et al. to the effect that human beings from South Asia must have sailed across the Pacific bringing about the first A-genome-to-D-genome transfer, ca. the 4th millennium BC.

Grade: A minus

Sources: Gossypium arboreum or herbaceum

See material in Gossypium spp. in general.

Gossypium barbadense

Origin: South America

Summary: (1) This species is credited as the genetic source of the cottons that were discovered on several Polynesian islands. The explanation must involve transfer of G. barbadense from the American mainland (it was on the coast of Peru by ca. 2500 BC) to one or more of the islands of Polynesia where it suffered mutation sufficient to set it apart (at least) subspecifically from barbadense. (2) Hillebrand found in Hawaii not only cottons (G. tomentosum and G. drynarioides and perhaps his “G. peruvianum”) that are or could be derivative from G. barbadense, but G. barbadense itself, he says. If not post-Cookian, that find might be the result of transfer of barbadense, directly from the continent and recognizably like that species on the mainland. (3) Additionally, the presence in India of G. barbadense with a Sanskrit name (Chopra et al. 1956, 127; Torkelson 1999, 1745) indicates the actual transfer of the American tetraploid across the Pacific to the land whence it’s A-genome ancestor probably came long before.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to Polynesia

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: incomplete

Case 3: Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: before AD 1000

Grade: B

Sources: Gossypium barbadense—(syn. G. vitifolium)

Langdon 1988, 329. Fuentes, a botanist, spent a year on Easter Island in 1911 and reported finding a few “isolated and semi-wild specimens” of this cotton (1913, 325, 334). The first missionary (ca. 1800) in the Marquesas found cotton (which proved to be of American tetraploid ancestry). The first visitors to Tahiti found cotton there too. (It too proved to be of American ancestry).

Sauer 1993, 101. The oldest cotton textiles in South America, presumably made from G. barbadense, are from 3600 BC at Quiani in the northern Chilean desert. On the Peruvian coast, G. barbadense also enters the archaeological record from the pre-agricultural fishing village of Huaca Priéta, Peru. Cotton bolls from about 2500 BC in northern Peru show transitional forms between the wild [?] forms and the improved cultivar forms.” [Note that the actual radiocarbon date at Huaca Priéta for the plant layer is 2578—2470 BC, according to Yen (1963), which calibrates to 3200—3070 BC.]

Shady 1997, 18. Great amounts of cotton (considered G. barbadense) were grown at the site of Caral, 2700—2000 BC.

Langdon 1982,179. Hutchinson, Silow, and Stephens (1947) claimed that Marquesan and Society Island cotton was a variety of G. hirsutum. Langdon now points out that that is probably incorrect; the Pacific forms are from G. barbadense, whose center of distribution is Ecuador. Wild forms derived from that species are in the Galapagos Islands. [Hillebrand (1888, 51) referred to “G. religiosum, L., which grows on the islands of the Society group.” (Kew: religiosum, syn. barbadense). Kew also calls it “G. Tahitense, Parlat.” But that variety is not found in Hawaii.] [Kew: G. tatlense (Ins. Tahiti). I consider this spelling to be a scribal error for G. tahitense, perhaps from the days of handwritten records at Kew.] 183—7. Langdon explains why he concludes that “a wild form of a cultivated New World cotton was present in only two Pacific groups—the Marquesas and Society Islands—when European contact began in the 18th century. But there is some evidence that it might have been growing on Easter Island.” [This, Mellén B. denies.]

Stephens 1971, 406—8. Explains why the seeds of wild cottons could easily be dispersed by natural means, while the seeds of the cultivated forms would be far less likely to survive exposure to seawater because the seed fibers of the latter are aggregated into “compact locks” which greatly reduce their natural portability. Stephens felt that such portability was minimized to the point that only human carriage of cultivated cottons was feasible. But would birds carry cotton seeds? 181. Sauer reported that birds of the area he studied do not eat cotton seeds [that should be simple enough to determine for anywhere else, since there are few, if any, species of birds that fly the several thousand miles from the cotton-growing portion of the mainland to a Polynesian island.] Furthermore, cotton seeds of domesticated species stay buoyant for no more than about 1000 miles.

Wendel, Schnabel, and Seelanan 1995, 298—313. In another clade, G. barbadense (Bolivia, Peru) and G. darwinii (one of two species from Galapagos) are immediately related and both relate at further genetic distance to G. hirsutum (Mexico) and G. tomentosum (Hawaii).

Towle 1961, 64—5. The cotton used to make string, from pre-ceramic Huaca Priéta, is considered one of the earliest cultivated barbadense cottons. [Note that the actual radiocarbon date at Huaca Priéta for the plant layer is 2578—2470 BC, according to Yen (1963), which calibrates to 3200—3070 BC.)

Hillebrand (1888, 50—1) reports that besides G. tomentosum and G. drynarioides, “there are or have been in cultivation [in Hawaii] G. barbadense, L., with its smooth-seeded variety, the Sea-Island Cotton” and also G. peruvianum, Cav.” [Since Hillebrand worked less than a century after Capt. Cook’s discovery of the islands and was meticulous in attending to when plants arrived, it is questionable that he is referring unwittingly to the post-Cook-imported G. barbadense.]

Chopra et al. 1956, 127. Sanskrit: maghani (G. barbadense)

Torkelson 1999, 1745. Sanskrit: maghani (G. barbadense) [Note: This Sanskrit name, which is reported specific to G. barbadense would seem to indicate that the American tetraploid, G. barbadense, made the trip back across the Pacific to India. But this would have had to be while Sanskrit was an active language, no later than ca. AD 1000 and probably much earlier.]

See also material under under Gossypium spp. in general.

Gossypium brasiliense Macfadyen

Origin: South America

Summary: Were it not for Brown’s puzzling report (just below under sources), we would ignore G. brasiliense as being simply a subspecies of G. barbadense. But if Brown intended that this odd, distant, South American cotton species was transferred to the Marquesas Islands in pre-European times, it becomes of interest and possibly of some moment. We need to know more, of course.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Gossypium brasiliense

Brown 1935, 177. Re. Marquesas. [This species is]”Indigenous to Tropical America; widely cultivated in the Tropics; of late introduction in the Marquesas. The native name is uru in Nukuhiva.” [What is intended by his expression “late introduction?” His monograph typically discusses native fauna, not obvious imports of modern times.]

Burkill 1966, I, 1124. G. brasiliense, Macfad., was found in Brazil, both in a wild state and in cultivation, by the early European voyagers. Watt (Wild and Cultivated Cottons of the World, 1907, 296) gives quotes on this species, beginning with Jean de Léry, who went to Brazil with a French Huguenot colony in 1557, 1126). Some botanists claim that G. brasiliense should be classified under G. barbadense. (Fryxell 1973, 91—2). Fryxell gives, authoritatively, G. barbadense Linnaeus var. braziliense (Rafinesque) Fryxell.

See also material under Gossypium spp. in general.

Gossypium drynarioides

Origin: Hawaii

Summary: This species has not previously been connected with American cotton, but, given the presence in the Hawaiian Islands of G. tomentosum, with its tetraploid genetic structure, as well as other cottons of eastern Polynesia that are American-derived, we infer that the source for G. drynaroides is not likely to be anything but American, although it may refer to an episode of voyaging to Hawaii distinct from those involving other American cottons.

Obviously more information is needed, but the question of the source of G. drynarioides should not just be ignored.

Grade: incomplete

Source: Gossypium drynarioides—a cotton

Hillebrand (1888, 50—1) reports this as “truly indigenous,” along with G. tomentosum, in Hawaii. It was imperfectly described by Seeman from a specimen in the British Museum collected by Nelson, the companion of Capt. Cook. Hillebrand’s specimens of this came from R. Meyer, who discovered three trees of G. drynarioides (12—15 feet height) on the western end of Molokai. Native name: Kokio. Hillebrand found a variant of this species (two surviving trees only) on the eastern end of Oahu in cattle-grazing territory; fearing that they would be destroyed, he took other specimens on the big island of Hawaii.

Gossypium gossypioides

Origin: Mexico

Summary: This species, confined to a limited area in Oaxaca, Mexico, provides in its ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region “robust” evidence of phylogenetic placement of its ITS sequence as a member of the African clade of cottons. G. gossypioides may be implicated in the initial polyploidization of the A-genome and D-genome that was ancestral to American cultivated cottons. The notion that this presence of the African ITS sequence in Mexico was purely a result of natural means of transport of an African cotton which reached (only) remote Oaxaca we find utterly incredible. Its presence can be explained more economically by supposing that transoceanic voyagers brought the cotton that contained the D-genome. This agrees with significant cultural data supporting the proposition that a transfer of Old World elements to southern Mexico took place at some early historical moment.

Transfer: to Old World (Asia or Africa)

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Sources: Gossypium gossypioides—a cotton

Wendel, Schnabel, and Seelanan 1995, 298—313. The New World allopolyploid (AD-genome) cottons originated through hybridization of ancestral diploid species that presently have allopatric ranges in Africa and Asia (the A—genome) and the American tropics and subtropics (the D-genome). Phylogenetic analysis of sequence data from the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region . . . reveals two strongly supported clades, one corresponding to African species and the other containing all American D-genome species except Gossypium gossypioides. G. gossypioides is narrowly distributed in Oaxaca. 308. “The central observation of this study is the unexpected phylogenetic placement of the G. gossypioides ITS sequence as a member of the African clade” (this is a “robust result”). 309. Their favorite proposal to account for the data and relationships places the introgression (via hybridization and recombination with an A-genome ITS sequence) as having taken place in the American tropics, perhaps in the vicinity of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. 310. One might suggest that introgression took place as recently as during the last several thousand years, subsequent to the origin of domesticated G. hirsutum and its spread into Oaxaca, but they view this as unlikely. Alternatively, it could have happened prior to domestication. [But how then would the Africa-to-America transport—to Mexico, not, say, Brazil—be accounted for? Since the cotton that contained the original D-genome from which American tetraploids sprang probably had an African beginning, although perhaps shaped in Asia as G. herbaceum enroute, it might have been transported across the ocean either from Asia or Africa.]

Wendel et al. 1995, cont’d. 298, abstract: Probably the preferred explanation for their data “involves an ancient hybridization event whereby G. gossypioides experienced contact with an A-genome . . . as a consequence of hybridization with a New World allopolyploid and repeated backcrossing of the hybrid into the G. gossypioides lineage.” They suggest that this process may implicate G. gossypioides rather than G. raimondii as the closest living descendant of the ancestral D-genome parent of the allopolyploids. 306. Fig. 5 is a descent tree based on the three most-parsimonious trees from analysis of G. ITS sequences. Among relevant data shown in this manner: G. gossypioides is basally related to the clade including G. arboreum (Asia) and G. herbaceum (South Africa and India), but also G. mustelinum (northeast Brazil) is closely related to those two. In another clade, G. barbadense (Bolivia, Peru) and G. darwinii (one of two species from Galapagos) are immediately related and both relate at further genetic distance to G. hirsutum (Mexico) and G. tomentosum (Hawaii).

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 194. It crosses poorly with most of the species of the D genome. However, it is similar to the pattern of G. klotzschianum (a cotton from the Galapagos).

Foster 1992b. “. . . The Mixe-Zoque languages of southern Mexico (which includes the area where G. gossypioides grows) . . . are demonstrably closely related to, and probably descended from, ancient Egyptian.” “An . . . Egyptian influence in the New World is very probable . . . perhaps introduced through successive oceanic crossings.” (Cf. Foster 1992a, 1998).

Xu 1998, 2002. Gives specific inscriptional evidences that Chinese arrived by sea in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec area, near where G. gossypioides grows.

Gossypium hirsutum

Origin: Mexico

Summary: Stephens presents historical information demonstrating that this American tetraploid must have reached West Africa before Columbus in order to have shown up historically in the Cape Verde Islands by 1466.

Transfer: Americas to West Africa and the Cape Verde Islands

Time of transfer: no later than AD 1466

Grade: B plus

Sources: Gossypium hirsutum—a cotton

Johnson 1975, 340. Using 50 collectons of the commonly recognized tetraploid New World cotton species, G. barbadense, G. hirsutum, and G. tomentosum, from South and Central America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, they gave identical seed protein electrophoretic patterns. Among 44 collections of the Mexican tetraploid G. palmerii, included in G. hirsutum, 6 gave patterns like that of the recognized species, while 38 gave a uniform but different pattern. Other indigenous Mexican cultigens suggested that G. hirsutum may have originated from more than one primary amphiploid including G. palmeri. Transitional forms between indigenous cultigens and the cultivated G. hirsutum are abundant in southern Mexico, and intermediate forms between G. hirsutum and G. barbadense are widespread under cultivation. The data indicate that G. barbadense (AADbetaDbeta) originated in northern South America from G. herbaceum x G. raimondii and that the cultivated races of G. hirsutum represent various degrees of introgression involving G. barbadense and the Mexican hirsutum complex. 297. “Out of the Americas several tetraploid species have dispersed from time immemorial.” Noteworthy are the varieties G. hirsutum, which occur as far west as Madagascar. Their occurrence west of Polynesia before 1700 is suspected but not confirmed by existing evidence.

Pickersgill and Heiser 1978, 825. In the Tehuacán Valley from about 5000 BP [species assumed; it is nowhere specified in the source].

Brücher 1989, 151—2. Relative similarity of G. vitifolium and G. hirsutum Lam. leads him to treat them together. The two taxa can be distinguished by presence or absence of “fringed hairs” surrounding the floral nectary. G. vitifolium does not have them. 152. G. vitifolium is generally called G. barbadense by archaeologists. Var. darwinii of G. vitifolium, found on the Galapagos. 153. G. hirsutum had main range on eastern coast of South America, Caribbean islands, and Central America. Pickersgill et al. (1975) found a “wild cotton in Northeast Brazil,” raising again the old question whether G. mustelinum Miers and Watt, which had been collected in 1838 in the state of Ceara as a “wild species,” and 100+ years later was described as tetraploid G. cicoense, may be a real ancestor in the evolutionary history of the tetraploid cottons. It has an AADD-genome. Pickersgill et al. conclude it is perhaps genetically descended from both G. hirsutum and G. barbadense.

MacNeish, Nelken-Turner, and Johnson 1967, 191. Found this plant dated to before 5000 BC in the Tehuacán Valley of Mexico. (Some of the early dates from their studies have now been called into question; Long et al. 1989.)

Stephens 1971, 413—4. The Cape Verde Islands were discovered around 1460, at which time there were no signs of former habitations. By 1466 cottons from Guinea had been introduced and had already become semiferal. During the subsequent colonial period, cotton was collected in the wild and also grown under primitive cultivation for export. Modern botanists have found it growing feral in arid areas of most of the islands. It is a New World cotton, G. hirsutum, var. punctatum. If these feral cottons today are descended from the cottons introduced from Guinea between 1462 and 1466, then New World cotton must have been established in Africa approximately thirty years before Columbus’ first voyage. Of course we do not know where today’s feral cottons came from. [But] one would not expect the original, well-established feral form to have disappeared completely.

Chopra et al. 1956, 127. “Cultivated in India” (meaning only modern?)

See also the material under Gossypium spp. in general

Gossypium religiosum, Roxb.

Origin: of genetic affiliation from G. barbadense, i.e., American ancestry

Summary: Hillebrand reported G. religiosum in Hawaii, while Roys gives it for the Yucatec Maya (“Gossypium religiosum L Algodon sagrado {Standl.; Gaumer.}”). The specificity of these designations invites, or demands, more careful study of the facts behind them.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Gossypium religiosum—a cotton (Kew. syn. G. barbadense)

Hillebrand (1888, 51) seems to give this as equivalent of G. tomentosum, yet notes that “G. religiosum, L., which grows on the islands of the Society group,” differs in specified ways. “This form (G. Tahitense, Parlat.) has not, to my knowledge, been found on our group [Hawaii], although Mann (Enum. no. 43) enumerates it, besides G. tomentosum.” Referred to “G. religiosum, L., which grows on the islands of the Society group.” Kew also calls it “G. Tahitense, Parlat.,” which is not found in Hawaii.] [Incidentally, Kew. G. tatlense (Ins. Tahiti) we consider a scribal error for G. tahitense, probably from the days of handwritten records at Kew.]

Roys, 1931, 311. Mayan word “zooh. Gossypium religiosum L. Algodon sagrado. (Standl.; Gaumer.)” Reported from the suburbs of Merida. (“Millsp. I, 377.”)

Langdon 1982,179. Hutchinson, Silow, and Stephens (1947) claimed that Marquesan and Society Island cotton was a variety of G. hirsutum. Langdon now points out that that is probably incorrect, that the Pacific forms are G. barbadense, whose center of distribution is Ecuador. Wild (meaning feral—it is a tetraploid) forms of it are found in the Galapagos Islands.

Gossypium tomentosum

Origin: Hawaii

Summary: This species occurs only in Hawaii but is genetically grouped with American tetraploid cottons. It must be descended from G. hirsutum or from the original American tetraploid (now extinct), and its germ plasm must have been carried by voyagers; we consider transmission by purely natural means to such a small island target not to be credible (there is no credible evidence—only speculation—of oceanic drift from the Americas to any other Pacific islands).

Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Sources: Gossypium tomentosum

Johnson and Decker 1980, 250. “Unless data are incomplete, [forms connecting] Polynesian vavae to vavai are lacking in Melanesia and Micronesia.” Stephens (1963) and Fryxell (1965) both “pointed to the presence of indisputably wild and probably indigenous species scattered across the Pacific from the Galapagos to northern Australia and Saipan.” Johnson and Decker summarize three points from Stephens from which Stephens concluded that the wild Gossypium species were known to and effectively used by Polynesians before the arrival of Europeans. 251—2: Austroasiatic languages farther west in mainland Southeast Asia do provide proto-forms for vavae/vavai that are reflected in the languages of Ceram and Polynesia. (See their Table 2). 256ff. Section entitled, The Relationship between Austronesian, Austroasiatic, and Indo-European Words for “Cotton”: A Case for Affinity.

Johnson and Decker cont’d. 288. Amerindian Words for Cotton, ” . . . the semantic set for ‘cotton’ in ‘cloth,’ or ‘weaving,’ as of ‘cotton’ and hemp’ (maguey), the forms appear to be very similar to the South Indian bat-pat and Austroasiatic baç-paç (Crau; see Table 5) forms for ‘cloth’ that were particularly connected with ‘cotton’. (Table 35).” The table cites Amerindian forms for ‘cotton.’ From Goajiro (Arawak), Jicaques (Honduras), Arawak, Tlappanecan (Mexican), Inca, Kayuvava (Bolivia), Pochutla Oaxaca), Mexican [presumably Náhuatl], Timote (Paez), Maku (Brazil), and Arawak. Table 35 on p. 289 lists South American Indian Forms for ‘Cloth’ (but includes non-S. American Otomian, Xinca, Miskito as well as ‘Proto-Amerindian and Fox.’). Table 36 on p. 289: It lists American Indian Proto-Forms Connected with the Spinning of Thread (includes Chipaya of Bolivia, Uru-Chipaya, Chol, Yunga, and Proto-Mayan). “Inasmuch as we have previously argued a possible connection between ‘grass’ (i.e., as ‘cane,’ ‘reed,’ ‘bamboo’) in the fiber set for ‘cordage’ and also in tools for weaving, we encounter a remarkable similarity between the forms for ‘cotton’ in connection with ‘hay,” ‘grass,’ and ‘down,’ and those for ‘fire’ [because, as shown earlier, cotton was used for ‘wick’], “Particularly found in North American Indian languages” (see Table 38 on p. 290 {Dakota-Teton, Ponca, Osage, Pilox , Oto, Siouan, Arawakan). Also, on p. 290 is Table 37, Additional American Indian Forms for ‘Cloth’ and ‘Cotton’ (for Tzeltal, Paez, Proto-Amerindian, Proto-Arawak, Proto Piro-Apuriná, Culina, Proto-Tacanan, and Amahuaca). 291. Table 39, Forms for ‘Cane’ and ‘Loom Comb’ in South America (Proto-Aztecan, Zoque-Mixe, and languages from Honduras and Brazil/Uruguay). Table 40, American Indian Forms for ‘Cloth,’ ‘Thread,’ ‘Kindle’ (Quechua, Inca, Atakapa/Chitimacha, Mexico, Fox, Miskito, Coeur d’Alene, Shoshone).

Johnson and Decker, cont’d. 293. Wild hirsutum varieties that resemble their Central American and Caribbean relatives are known from the South Pacific part of Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, the Sulu Islands, south coastal New Guinea, northern Australia, and in the Indian Ocean as far west as Madagascar [not documented]. “The lexical evidence we have summarized suggests that knowledge of ‘cotton’ predates European influence in the Pacific islands cultures that did not spin or weave, and farther west, knowledge of ‘cotton’ predates introduction of cotton-weaving over 2,000 years ago.” 297. “Out of the Americas, several tetraploid species have dispersed from time immemorial. Noteworthy are the varieties G. hirsutum, which occur as far west as Madagascar. Their occurrence west of Polynesia before 1700 is suspected but not confirmed by existing evidence.”

Stephens 1963, 1—22. Wild G. hirsutum, scattered in southern Polynesia, was much more recent. It is difficult to account for its disjunct distribution (Caribbean, Central America, South Pacific) by ocean drift alone. Possible it was brought by Spanish expeditions some of which actually planted cotton.

Stephens 1947, 431—2. G. tomentosum in Hawaii is the only remaining proposed endemic cotton in Polynesia after eliminating those of the Marquesas, Fiji, and Galapagos. (Those three are actually American cottons, he notes.) A chance crossing by air or ocean currents is possible but seems unlikely over such immense distances as would be required. Cotton seed loses viability quickly in moist air. And Gossypium does not survive in the wild [meaning that domesticated hirsutum and barbadense do not?] The facts all suggest that American cottons may have been used by man at their outset and not independently developed from wild ancestral species.

Johnson 1975, 340. Using 50 collections of the commonly recognized tetraploid New World cotton species, G. barbadense, G. hirsutum, and G. tomentosum from South and Central America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, gave identical seed protein electrophoretic patterns. Among 44 collections of the Mexican tetraploid, G. palmeri, included in G. hirsutum, 6 gave patterns like those of the recognized species, while 38 gave a uniform but different pattern. Other indigenous Mexican cultigens suggested that G. hirsutum may have originated from more than one primary amphiploid, including G. palmeri. Transitional forms between indigenous cultigens and the cultivated G. hirsutum are abundant in southern Mexico, and intermediate forms between G. hirsutum and G. barbadense are widespread under cultivation. The data indicate that G. barbadense (AADbetaDbeta) originated in northern South America from G. herbaceum x G. raimondii and that the cultivated races of G. hirsutum represent various degrees of introgression involving G. barbadense and the Mexican hirsutum complex.

Johnson cont’d. 348—49. The proposed polyphyletic origin does not minimize the difficulty of accounting for the presence of G. tomentosum in the Hawaiian Islands. But, in the course of a tetraploid history of more than 4,000 years, it is not impossible for that species to have been transported from the Mexico/Central American area with the aid of man or ocean currents. Opponents of the concepts of an agricultural origin of the tetraploids point to the difficulty of explaining how Old World cotton could have been transported to the New World in prehistoric times, and to the illogic of assuming that man would have brought cotton but not his basic food plants (citing Purseglove 1968). [But these arguments are moot as of the year 2000.] This study sheds no light on these questions.

Wendel 1989, 4132. The tetraploids are highly heterogeneous inter se, including G. tomentosum (Hawaii), the Galapagos (G. darwinii), other specimens from other Pacific islands, Central America, tropical South America, and the Caribbean.

Newcomb 1963, 42—4. Based mainly on Hutchinson et al. researching at Empire Cotton Growing Corporation Cotton Research Station, Trinidad. Concerning Polynesian cottons: The Tahitian plant is G. barbadense. The Hawaiian is of Mexican, not South American, ancestry. It was formed by introduction of a hirsutum strain out of Mexico. This has bothered S.G. Stephens no end, for how are we to account for this distribution, he asks, by a Spanish vessel shipwrecked in Hawaii? Hutchinson is also puzzled by it. A stray Manila galleon? But a ship returning from Asia would be unlikely to have Mexican cotton aboard. Besides, Hawaii is far from the Manila route. Galapagos cotton is barbadense type but almost lintless.

Fosberg (1951, 204—206), contra Silow’s statement that G. tomentosum of Hawaii is closely related to cultivated cottons, Fosberg finds little similarity.

Langdon 1982, 189. G. tomentosum is a problem entirely unrelated to the cotton of the Marquesas. 186. Cotton spread in colonial times from the Society Group to Rarotonga and then to Samoa, Tonga, Niue, and then Futuna and Wallis Islands.

Heyerdahl 1964, 124. The American cottons, including the Polynesian, are the only tetraploids in the entire cotton genus. On genetic grounds, therefore, Hutchinson, Silow, and Stephens (1947) were forced to suggest that the linted cotton had necessarily reached Polynesia “since the establishment of civilization in Tropical America.” Sauer showed in 1950 that birds do not eat Gossypium seeds, while cotton is most unsuited to long dispersal by sea. In his last publication before his death, Merrill wrote: “That there were occasional and accidental associations between the peoples of Polynesia and America, and even occasional ones between the American Indians and the eastern Polynesian islands, actually must be accepted . . . ” (1954, 190). “We may admit . . . that natives of South America may have reached some of the Pacific islands on balsa rafts” (Merrill 1954, 242).

Silow 1949,112—8. This Hawaiian wild tetraploid can be explained only as derived from American cotton “which reached Hawaii only after the establishment of civilization in Tropical America” being “perhaps a degenerated escape from early attempts at cultivation [in Hawaii].”

Stephens 1963, 1—22. The earliest introduction was G. tomentosum, which came into the Hawaiian Islands, most likely by oceanic drift (perhaps on a ‘natural island’ of vegetation such as a mass of trees), where it became endemic. [Sorenson observes: Such “islands” could come only from the temperate American coast (northern California or farther north), where alone there was sufficient biomass to form a jetsam “island,” but no cotton grew there. The arid coast of most of western Mexico would not yield “a (floating) mass of trees” of the type hypothesized by Stephens.]

Hillebrand 1888, 50—1. Reports this cotton along the seacoast here and there on all the Hawaiian islands. Native names: mao and huluhulu. Occurs also in Fiji. “The species is unfit for cultivation on account of the short staple” (although it is a tetraploid).

Burkill 1976, I, 1120. In a way that is interesting phytogeographically, Pacific species are attached to the American group.

Helianthus annuus

Origin: Americas

Summary: Art of India represents the sunflower blossom in a context that signifies the sun’s cyclic, calendrical significance. This plant was mentioned in a Hindu text prior to AD 400 and also had a pair of Sanskrit names.

Transfer: India from Americas; thence elsewhere in Asia

Time of transfer: possibly by the beginning of our era or soon after

Grade: A

Sources: Helianthus annuus—sunflower

Lentz et al. 2001. Review of all known early American specimens of H. annuus shows that the earliest domestic sunflower was growing in Tabasco by around 2600 BC.

Patiño 1964,179. This involves the difficulties of constructing a history of plants using common names. Since girasol and heliotropo were plants known to the Europeans before the discovery, it is not possible to know, for example, to what species Oviedo might have referred when he mentions in the Indies “tornasol, girasol o helitoropia” (citing Oviedo 1851, I, 375).

Nadkarni 1914,177—8. Helianthus annuses (sic) (i.e., annuus). Sanskrit: suriya-mukhi.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 282. Sanskrit: adityabhakta, suryamukhi. Medicinal uses.

Aiyer 1956, 67. The sunflower, H. annuus, is mentioned in the Hindu Charaka Sahmita dated no later than the 4th century AD.

Torkelson 1999, 1749. Sanskrit: suriya-mukhi

Chopra et al. 1956, 131. Sanskrit: surya-mukhi. “A native of America.”

Johannessen and Wang Siming 1998, 14—6. Carvings of sunflowers are found on the same Indian temples where maize is shown in the sculpted decoration. The representation of sunflowers can be readily distinguished from those of the lotus flower. They also almost always relate to solar directions. For example, sunflowers are carved on the heads of statues of Nandi, the bull, which is Lord Shiva’s transport, or signature, at the entrance to the interior holy of holies in Shiva temples. The sunflowers are placed in a fashion such that the rising sun passes over the sunflower carving so as to illuminate the statue of Shiva beyond, within the inner sanctum, for a few minutes on solstitial, equinoctial, or half- or quarter-term dates. Sunflower carvings also exist at the feet of the gods and goddesses who hold maize ears. Moreover, a carving on a stone pillar of a temple shows a parrot perched on a sunflower seed head in a position as if it had just eaten the several seeds that are visibly missing from the edge of the seed head.

Addendum by Johannessen, 2004: At the Gaviganga Deschvara temple in Bangalore, Karnataka State, a sunflower symbol is etched on the back wall in the garden, where it is aligned at equinox sunset with another sunflower image carved into the door sill at the holy of holies of the temple.

Gupta 1996, 86. Sunflowers are native to Central and South [sic] America but have been cultivated in India “from very early times,” which is proved by a graphic depiction of the plant in flower in the Rani Gumpha cave, Udaigiri, dated to the 2nd century BC (see her plate 29). The panel shows a hunting scene. On the extreme right is a breadfruit tree, and a woman has climbed it out of fear. The sunflower plant with five large capitula can be seen on the right of the hunter. The variety of the sunflower floral heads depicted is the large type where the plant reaches a height of 5—6 metres and the capitula have a circumference up to 80 cms. In plate 104, the panel from Sanchi shows a bunch of sunflower capitula, or some other member of the same family, that resembles a sunflower present between two mythical animals. The capitula appear to be of Helianthus and the panel is purely decorative. One of the best depictions of the sunflower capitula is from Sanchi (her plate 222), showing a pastoral scene with parrots, buffalos, a mango tree, grapes, a kadamba tree, and on the extreme left are three large capitula of a sunflower.

Heyerdahl 1986, 2, 176. He found what he considers images of sunflowers and other sun symbols carved on pre-Islamic worked stones in the Maldives. They are situated precisely at the equator, which he considers significant.

Watt 1888, IV, 209. The genus has no species indigenous to India. Two, however, are much cultivated, and are very important economically. One is H. annuus, Linn. Names: Sanskrit: Suria-mukhi; Hind.: Surajmúkhí.

Balfour 1871—1873, II, 492. Sanskrit: suria mukhi is the sunflower.

Brücher 1989, 118. Soviet agrobiologists found so much variation in sunflowers in the USSR that they claimed a “secondary centre of variability” there. [Implies long presence of the plant.]

Johannessen, personal observation, 2003. The variation in DNA in sunflowers in Russia and Turkey has a distribution that is different by at least a standard deviation from the wild and cultivated sunflowers from the Americas. In China, the size of the seed is significantly larger than almost all commercial sunflowers of the U.S. Both these phenomena point to substantial age for adaptation since H. annuus was introduced into Asia.

Heliconia bihai

Origin: Americas

Summary: By the Age of Discovery this species was found spread to Pacific Islands.

Transfer: Pacific islands from the Americas

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Sources: Heliconia bihai—platonillo, balisier

Cook 1903, 490. H. bihai, the leaves of which are used for plaiting, is somewhat similar to banana but without an edible fruit; it reached the islands of the Pacific in prehistoric times and is now found, though no longer cultivated, in New Caledonia. This prehistoric transfer was recognized by Schumann and Lauterbach (1901, 224).

Newcomb 1963, 41. Used for flowers and shade leaves. A relative of the banana. Origin: the Americas. Also in the Pacific islands. Was it carried thence by Spaniards, who had no interest in it, to islands which they never saw?

Heyerdahl 1964, 127. Natives of the West Indies and into South America use the starchy rootstocks of this plant for food, and the leaves served for roof- and wall-thatch, as well as for making hats, mats, and baskets. Baker showed that this plant was native to Tropical America, and that the Pacific island Heliconia appeared to him to be only a cultivated form closely related to the Mexican and Peruvian species. Cook (1903, 490) supported Schumann, who inferred a prehistoric introduction of this American plant to the islands: “Though no longer cultivated by the Polynesians, it has become established in the mountains of Samoa and in many of the more western archipelagoes. In New Caledonia the tough leaves are still woven into hats, but the Pandanus, native in the Malay region, affords a better material for general purposes and has displaced Heliconia in cultivation among the Polynesians.”

Bailey 1935, II, 1450—1. There are perhaps 35 species in Tropical America. Many additional species are being described from Tropical Asia [as of 1935]. H. bihai, Linn. is called balisier, or ‘wild plantain.’ “It is naturalized in the Old World tropics and is the parent of many horticultural forms . . ..”

Hibiscus tiliaceus

Origin: China

Summary: A name in Sanskrit seems to place it in India perhaps two millennia ago. China is credited as its place of origin. Yet it was widespread in the Americas. It was also cultivated in pre-European Polynesia. Its uses are similar in both the Americas and Polynesia, and vernacular names are rather similar, enough so that we consider human transfer the preferred scenario.

Case 1: Transfer: Asia to the Americas (? or possibly vice versa)

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to Polynesia (? or possibly vice versa)

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Sources: Hibiscus tiliaceus—linden hibiscus, beach hibiscus

Heyerdahl 1963a, 482—5. Gives a rounded summary of the evidence in the literature, pro and con, regarding H. tiliaceus as a transfer between the Americas and Oceania.

Heyerdahl 1964, 129. H. tiliaceus has seeds adapted for natural dissemination by sea, yet it is discussed due to its deliberate cultivation in Polynesia, combined with data from linguistics. Cook and Cook (1918, 156) discussed it thus: “Though many botanists have written of the maho as a cosmopolitan seashore plant, its wide dissemination may be due largely to human agency, as with the coconut palm.” In Middle America, it is widespread, even a dominant species in many localities, [southward] to the banks of the Guayaquil River, where it was used by natives for bark-cloth manufacture, to make water-resistant cordage and strings, and for kindling fire. Both the special uses and names of this plant were much the same among the Polynesians. In Tropical America, the tree was known as maho, or mahagua, or something close to that, while in Polynesia it was known as mao, mau, vau, fau, hau, or au. Cook and Cook (169) say: “Though considered a native of America, the maho appears to have been distributed over the islands and shores of the Pacific and Indian oceans before the arrival of Europeans.” “The names of the maho afford almost as definite indications of human contacts as in the case of kumara [i.e. the sweet potato].” “The making of fire by friction of wood, and of cloth by beating the bark of trees with grooved mallets, are specialized arts which may have been carried with the maho from the Americas across the tropical regions of the Old World” [Cf. Tolstoy on the bark cloth/paper complex?]

Whistler 1991, 64—5. Because of its seawater-dispersed seeds, it is probably native over most of its range, but because of its great utility, the tree may have been introduced [by humans] to much of Polynesia (especially Hawaii).

Carter 1950, 164—5. Recapitulates Cook’s arguments for, and Merrill’s arguments against, the idea that this plant was human carried. Contra Merrill, Carter concludes that “man carried the name for the plant and quite possibly the usages across the . . . seas. It even seems probable that he carried the plant also.”

Cook and Cook 1918, 156. H. tiliaceus, while capable of natural dissemination by sea, had both particular uses and names in common between Polynesia and Middle and South America. (Merrill rejects the argument from names.)

Torkelson 1999, 1752. Sanskrit: bala

Chopra et al. 1956, 134. Sanskrit: bala.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 289. No Sanskrit names given.

MOBOT 2003. A native of China according to the Flora of China.

Hibiscus youngianus

Origin: Hawaii

Summary: This species is confined to Hawaii but is said to be closely related to the Middle and South American species, H. bifurcatus, from which it may be derived. More information is needed to clarify a possible transfer.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Hibiscus youngianus—a hibiscus (Kew. {apparently confined to} Hawaii)

Hillebrand (1888, 47, 49) says this plant occurs in marshes and abandoned taro patches here and there on all Hawaiian islands. Native name: akiohala. The plant “Is nearly [i.e., closely] related to the American H. bifurcatus, Cav.” Hillebrand considered it part of the pre-European flora. H. youngianus was commonly found in old planted areas on all the Hawaiian islands, suggesting that it was dependent on ecological disturbance owing to horticulture.

Miranda 1952—1953, Pt. I, 184. Hibiscus bifurcatus Cav. Found in the high tropical forest of Chiapas, Mexico.

MOBOT 2003. H. bifurcatus is distributed in Middle and South America.

Indigofera suffruticosa

Origin: Asia, ultimately (depending on synonymy, which apprears confused by some sources)

Summary: This case is of interest only if Indigofera anil is synonymous with I. tinctoria, which is not certain to us but might possibly be.

Grade: Incomplete

Sources: Indigofera suffruticosa (=I. anil) (Kew =anil=guatemalensi=tinctoria)—indigo

Townsend 1925. Indigofera anil is only a derivative from the Indian I. tinctoria introduced into the Americas some 2,000 or 3,000 years ago. The habits of the American form indicate that it is not native.

Towle 1961, 46. This plant is a source of the añil of commerce, obtained primarily from I. tinctoria of Asia and I. suffruticosa, a native of the American tropics. Wittmack (1888, 347) states that in pre-Columbian times, Peruvians used as a dye indigo obtained from a wild species ordinarily designated as I. anil.

Langdon 1988), 185. A 1767 visitor to the Marquesas reported the presence of cotton and also of the plant “indego.” Marquesan cotton turns out to be of American derivation (i.e. Gossypium barbadense).

McBryde 1945, 143. The origin of American indigo (both Indigofera suffruticosa and I. guatemalensis are used) is probably Mexican. An Old World species was later introduced (I. tinctoria) and is much used today.

Roys 1931, 238. “Choh (the first ‘h’ has a line through the upper stem=explosive ‘ch’). Indogofera anil. L.”

Jett 1998, 143. Indigo has been identified at Nazca, Peru, in the 7th century B.C. and at Paracas Necropolis, ca. 450—175 B.C. At least three other species are used to produce indigo dye: Fuchsia parviflora, Cybistax antisyphilitica, and Muehlenbakia hastiuta rupestris (mullaka) (citations given).

Indigofera tinctoria

Origin: Asia

Summary: Arnold presents a comprehensive case for the introduction of Indigofera on the west coast of Mexico two or three thousand years ago. However, he does not provide clear evidence on any area from which such a transfer might plausibly have come. He assumes that the introduced plant, I. tinctoria, gave rise to the New World I. Anil, but the evidence is not strong. In the case of the Marquesas, a slim case can be made that an Indigofera plant may have been transferred from the Americas.

Case 1: Transfer: Oceania or Asia to Americas

Time of transfer: two millennia ago?

Grade: C

Case 2. Transfer: Americas to the Marquesas Islands

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Indigofera tinctoria—indigo (Kew. syn. añil, syn. guatemalensis, syn.? tinctoria)

Townsend 1925. (American) Indigofera añil is only a derivative from the Indian I. tinctoria introduced into the Americas some 2,000 or 3,000 years ago. The habits of the American form indicate that it is not native. (Caution: Townsend reveals in his article considerable botanical naivete.)

Towle 1961, 46. This plant is a source of the añil of commerce, obtained primarily from I. tinctoria of Asia and I. suffruticosa, a native of the American tropics. Wittmack (1888, 347) states that in pre-Columbian times, Peruvians used it as an indigo dye obtained from a wild species ordinarily designated as I. añil.

Langdon 1988, 185. A 1767 visitor to the Marquesas reported the presence of cotton and also of a plant, “indego.” [Where did they come from? From the Americas is more plausible than from anywhere else, especially since Marquesan cotton proves to be genetically descended from American G. barbadense.]

Jett 1998, 143. Indigo has been identified at Nazca, Peru (7th century BC), and at Paracas Necropolis (ca. 450—175 BC).

Chopra et al. 1956, 141. Sanskrit: nilika. Widely cultivated in India.

Torkelson 1999, 1759. Sanskrit: nilika

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 567. Sanskrit: nili

Pullaiah 2002, II, 305. Sanskrit: nilini, nilika, comon indigo

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 174. Indigofera añil (syn. suffruticosa Mill.). Center of maximum gene diversity is in South America.

MOBOT 2003. I. tinctoria (syn. indica)

Arnold 1987, 53—84. Compares the morphology of the Indigofera plants in the Old and New World and finds great similarity between them. They have the same number of chromosomes, which suggests a common origin. The introduction of the genus Indigofera must have occurred in the zone where the largest number of species pertaining to this genus are found. Michoacán possesses 11 species and Guerrero 10, while Brazil and the U.S. have only 4 species. These data support the thesis of a marine introduction of indigo in the west of Mexico, someplace in Guerrero or Michoacán, several millennia ago. A voyage by sea between Asia and the American coasts, some 5,000 or 6,000 years ago, seems improbable given the developmental level of that period, but recent studies have found human inhabitation of Australia since at least 32,000 years ago, which makes the time of possible marine voyaging much earlier than had been thought.

See also the data from Heyerdahl (1996) below under Mangifera indica.

Ipomoea acetosaefolia

Origin: Tropical America

Summary: It was in Hawaii before European discovery of the island.

Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B minus

Source: Ipomoea acetosaefolia—(Kew. syn. carnosa)

Hillebrand 1888, 314. Native of West Indies, Guiana, or Brazil. Hillebrand considers this plant of pre-Cook age in Hawaii.

Ipomoea batatas

Origin: South America

Summary: In addition to archaeological evidence recapped here that shows that the sweet potato spread from the Americas to Polynesia, apparently two separate times; a variety of other evidence—linguistic and historical—confirms that position. Further, a document puts the plant in China in early AD times, and Sanskrit names are recorded confirming such a date for South Asia.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to Polynesia via Hawaii

Time of transfer: AD 400—700

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: South America to Polynesia via Easter Island

Time of transfer: early AD centuries

Grade: A minus

Case 3. Transfer: Americas to Asia

Time of transfer: early AD centuries

Grade: A

Sources: Ipomoea batatas—sweet potato

Brücher 1989, 5. The claim for a South American center of origin is supported more by archaeological and historical evidence than by botany. Fossil batatas from the cave, Puna de Chilca in Peru, have been dated by Engels at 10,000 BP. There are no wild-growing plants [known] in South America that could be ancestral. “The hypothesis of a Central American origin has a weak basis.” [No source or supporting evidence is cited for this statement.]

Patiño 1964, 62. Lengthy list with references to native South American names of sweet potato. Gives cumara, cjumara, cumal, comal, names used in certain sectors of the Peruvian and Ecuadorian Andes for one variety of sweet potato.

Langdon 1988, 326, 333. Reporting the first lengthy visit to Easter Island, in 1770. A lengthy survey of chroniclers’ references indicates I. batatas’ presence.

Shady 1997, 18. I. batatas remains have been excavated at two Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) sites on or near the coast of Peru.

Shady et al. 2001, 725. The phenomenal city of Caral in the Supe Valley of Peru, radiocarbon-dated between 2627 and 2020 BC (calibrated), yielded remains of Ipomoea batatas among other domesticated plants.

Bronson 1966, 262ff. McQuown and Kaufmann have reconstructed ten plant names apparently present in proto-Mayan in the 2nd millennium BC. Among them is sweet potato.

Rensch 1991, 108. Linguistic study of the names for sweet potato result in “the hypothesis that the sweet potato reached Polynesia at least twice: once via a northern route through Hawaii under the guise of *kuara/*kuala, and once via a southern route under the guise of *kumara, with Easter Island as its point of entry.” In both places, a great number of varieties of sweet potato is attested, “pointing to the antiquity of cultivation.”

Yen 1974. Tests three hypotheses for the distribution of the sweet potato in the Pacific. On the basis of his especially comprehensive investigation of sources for plant history, he concludes that the plant was probably transfered from South America to Polynesia between 400 and 700 AD.

Brand 1971, 343—65. An extensive review and critique of the literature. He maintains that mistaken identification of plants by early explorers in the Pacific makes unreliable the common conclusion that the sweet potato was present in Polynesia before Spanish transfer of the plant from South America. He also claims that the name kumara in Ecuador was known only in the highlands and that only if we had the name attested on “the coast” could he accept that name in relation to the Polynesian name [lexicons surviving for coastal tongues are almost nil; moreover the “highlands” are less than 60 miles from the coast].

Langdon and Tryon 1983, 40—1. Early explorers did not record existence of sweet potato in Western Polynesia. No evidence suggests that it had arrived in Western Polynesia in pre-European times, while certain evidence strongly suggests that it had not. For example, it has no place in traditional ceremonies in Tonga, and there are no local names for varieties of it.

Heyerdahl 1963, 29. It was cultivated under the aboriginal name of kumara in the Urubamba Valley of Peru, a Cuzco variety was known as cusi-kumara, and in various parts of early Peru the name of this plant has been recorded as kuymar, kumar, cumar, umar, and kumal. It was grown in highland Ecuador under the name of cumar, and in Colombia as umala and kuala, the latter name extending as far north as the Cuna language. Cites on this Markham, Seemann, Hillebrand, Middendorf, Cook, Imbelloni, Hornell, Merrill, and Bingham. (A majority of these were not cited by Brand.) Dried tubers have been excavated from early tombs in coastal Peru, including Paracas.

Johannessen and Wang Siming 1998, 27—8. Douglas Yen in a personal communication (1996) acknowledges that the sweet potato has the same name in Sanskrit as in northwestern South America.

Herbert Baker (1971) acknowledged the pre-Columbian presence of the sweet potato in Asia but thought it of limited consequence.

Murdock 1959, 217—18. In reconstructing the culture history of Madagascar, the author notes that the Malaysian food complex (rice, taro, bananas, yams, manioc, sugarcane, and sweet potato) is basic to agriculture in much of central Africa. Plants of American origin are also of much or considerable significance (manioc, maize, peanuts, haricot and lima beans, pumpkins, and tobacco). 222—3. Indonesian ancestors of the later Malagasy of Madagascar immediately preceding or following the time of Christ introduced the Malaysian plants on the Azanian coast—Kenya, Zanzibar. (The plants are referred to as being there in the document, The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, dated AD 60). They became basic to agriculture across Central Africa (“the Yam Belt”) all the way to the Guinea Coast.

Here, Murdock explodes a ‘bombshell’—he asserts that the sweet potato was part of this Malaysian food complex and quickly diffused across the continent to West Africa. Murdock knows about the American origin of the sweet potato. Furthermore, the distribution of the sweet potato in many parts of West Africa coincides in distribution with other American root crops, notably malanga (arrowroot) and manioc, so as to suggest that it arrived with those others (via the Portuguese or Spaniards). He is also aware of the controversy over the question of the spread of the sweet potato from South America into Polynesia and Melanesia “as far west as New Guinea, where it has long been established as the staple crop in the mountainous interior.” But most authorities have supposed it did not reach Indonesia or the Philippines until the beginning of the colonial period. If the sweet potato actually arrived in East Africa across the Indian Ocean along with bananas, sugarcane, taro, and yams, then ‘its transpacific spread must have taken place very much earlier than even the most uninhibited theorists have as yet dared to assume.” We are quite sure, on linguistic grounds, that the Indonesian source for the voyages to Malagasy, and the resulting terminology, was Borneo, where the sweet potato could have joined the Malaysian food complex. Murdock is reluctant to accept such an early date for the spread of sweet potato westward across the Pacific as this implies, but feels the evidence must be faced. He also notes that in societies in the area (Africa) who segregate their crops into groups with differential ritual associations, sweet potatoes receive the same ceremonial treatment as plants that were unquestionably introduced across the Indian Ocean and are differentiated in this ritual respect from other crops that were brought to Africa by Europeans. Incidentally, he further observes, among the Chaga, near Mt. Kilimanjaro, the only other American crop of consequence is maize, and this falls into the most recent grouping of crops in terms of ritual treatment.

Fage 1961, 299—309. In general, he believes that Murdock handles the sources of Africa inappropriately. He gently refers to Murdock’s dogmatism and lack of experience of Africa (309). 308. In regard to the date of the Indo-Malaysian crop complex arriving in East Africa, Murdock depends upon the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, but, Fage says, the Periplus is not an easy document to interpret. “It is not easy to be categorical about what crops were and were not cultivated in eastern Africa at this time.”

Newcomb 1963, 42. Murdock’s African hypothesis is off base in respect to this plant, C. Sauer feels.

Merrill 1954. The sweet potato must have been transmitted (from South America) consciously and with much care, in fact it would have been packed in soil in order to remain viable on a voyage to Polynesia from South America.

Mellén B. 1986, 131. Easter Island: kumára. At least 20 varieties existed according to Metraux. [This degree of differentiation either required a long period of cultivation on the island or else the importation of varieties from other islands.]

Darlington 1973, 147. While some species of Ipomoea are distributed by sea, the hexaploidy of I. batatas in both Peru and Polynesia makes its identification more certain and demonstrates “the spread of the sweet potato from Peru to Polynesia, a spread which proves the meeting of Old and New World Peoples . . ..”

Roys 1931, 249. “Iz. Ipomoea batatas, L. [Mayan] Camote.”

Evans 1998. In the process of sailing a replica Polynesian canoe from the Society Islands to New Zealand, the crew (following tradition) took with them several varieties of sweet potatoes which they presented ceremonially in the next group visited, and then received a new set of varieties when they set sail for the next destination.

Yen 1998, 168. In table: “Easter Island—early AD, burnt tubers,” citing Hather and Kirch 1991,169. They also present arguments for the sweet potato in the New Guinea highlands before European contacts. 170. On lexical grounds, Scaglion and Soto (1994) have questioned the acceptance of the supposed AD post-1500 introduction from the west into New Guinea. The presence of the word kumara and cognates in southeastern islands of New Guinea is treated as a separate set of terms for the plant, implying diffusion from Polynesia. 173—4. Quotes from Quiros, pilot on the 1595 Mendaña voyage from Peru to the Marquesas. He said they (Spaniards) sowed maize, beans, onions, cotton, and “all the most profitable seeds and vegetables.” [That is not how a Spaniard would have referred to the sweet potato in the 16th century. Besides, even if the sweet potato should have been among crops planted, would any of Mendaña’s transplants have survived without knowledgeable care until the late 1,700s when the Gonzalez expedition next reports their presence?]

Brown 1935, 238—9. Five varieties were once grown, “none of the varieties originating under cultivation in the Marquesas was of good quality . . . and it seems clear that, although the sweet potato was one of the earliest food plants to be cultivated in the Marquesas, it was poorly adapted to the soil, climate, topography, and related conditions.”

Barthel 1971, 1165—86. An Easter Island text deciphered by him refers to an ancient directional model of their world that included a “path of the sweet potato” (from the east) and a “path of the breadfruit tree” (from the west). These directions of course correspond to the directions of botanical origin of the plants.

Bretschneider (1882, 38) lists plants in the Chinese document Nan fang Ts’ao Mu Chang. The author was Ki Han, a Minister of State in the Tsin (Jin) Dynasty, AD 290—307, who had previously been a Governor of Canton. The 80-species list includes: Banana, Canna indica, Sweet-potato (Batatas), and Coconut. Bretschneider 1892, 418. Japanese source [Matsumura] gives (Chinese) characters for the name of the sweet potato [it might not be of pre-Europea date, however].

Chopra et al. 1956, 141. Hin. and Pun.: shakar kund

Aiyer 1956, 71. Sanskrit: “Valli (Ipomoea batates?)” The sweet potato was mentioned in the Hindu record known as Silappadikaram.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 307. Sanskrit: pindalah, raktaluh. Medicinal uses.

Sauer 1993, 39—41. Purseglove (1968) suggests the introduction of I. batatas to Polynesia came by natural dispersal: seeds are viable for more than 20 years and impervious to salt water; the seeds are not buoyant but the capsule is. “I doubt that the seedlings could survive in the drift zone on an ocean beach, but conceivably capsules could have been picked up by some Polynesian beachcomber or seeds might have germinated along the banks of a tidal estuary.” [Is there any field evidence in support of this speculative notion?]

Kelley 1998, 73. A name for sweet potato among Chibchan speakers of Colombia or Panama precisely matches the Hawaiian spelling of the name.

Lagenaria siceraria

Origin: Hemisphere of origin uncertain

Summary: The bottle gourd is apparently in evidence in both hemispheres; from early in the Holocene, i.e., probably in the pre-agricultural era (13,000 BP in Peru, 9,000 or 10,000 BP in Mexico, 10,000 BP in Thailand), so perhaps the fruit drifted one way or the other across the ocean. However, it is now clear that the species did not occur in western Polynesia, although in eastern Polynesia the bottle gourd was abundant. This distribution makes sense only if human-aided transfer took place into eastern Polynesia from the Americas.

Transfer: South America to eastern Polynesia

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B plus

Sources: Lagenaria siceraria (syn. vulgaris)—bottle gourd

Whistler 1990, 1991. He reinvestigated the identification of supposed bottle gourds in western Polynesia at the time of first European contact and found that the species was actually absent from those islands, although in eastern Polynesia it is common. This absence of specimens from western Polynesia of course casts doubt on a drift hypothesis (eastward from Asia via Oceania to the Americas) to account for L. siceraria in the New World. In his judgment, “The most likely hypothesis is that it was introduced [by voyagers] to eastern Polynesia from South America.”

Whitaker and Carter 1954, 697—700. L. Experimentation by Whitaker demonstrates that the gourd could possibly have been distributed to the New World without the aid of man, but there is no proof that this happened. [This experiment to assess the duration of viability was carried out in a tank that probably lacked the ocean boring-worms and other potential sources of damage that would be found in the open sea.]

Nadkarni 1914, 213. Lagenaria vulgaris. Sanskrit: alâbu. Eng.: bottlegourd. Found wild and cultivated nearly all over India.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 323. Sanskrit: kutukumbi. Medicinal uses.

Nayar and Singh 1998, 3. Lagenaria siceraria dates to earlier than 10,000 BP in both Peru and Thailand.

Yarnell 1970a, 225. L. siceraria dated to 5000 BP in Peru; 7500 in Southern Mexico; 9000 in Northern Mexico.

Camp 1954. Summarizes the results of experimental studies of the viability of drift specimens of bottle gourd. The possibility of a gourd remaining viable after extended floating at sea remains inconclusive. He believes that while there is some possibility that a gourd might have crossed from Africa and might have sprouted on shore in the Americas, there would still be no satisfactory explanation for how the offspring could become established in the plant’s normal habitat inland.

Sauer 1993, 51—2. (Syn. leucantha, biconurta). The species was taken eastward from India bearing a Sanskrit name into Malaya and the East Indies. It was in China by AD 100. “Comparative studies show that New World bottle gourd cultivars are derived from the African subspecies, not from asiatica. The puzzle of how L. siceraria arrived in the New World was solved long ago by Whitaker and Carter, Sauer asserts, citing their 1954 publication. Suspecting that the species had been introduced by ancient seafarers, they experimented with flotation of gourds in seawater to see if the possibility of natural dispersal could be excluded. Unexpectedly, they found the gourds could float and retain viable seed for many months, no limits being established, time enough for westward drift from Africa to Tropical America, or eastward drift in high latitudes to the Pacific coast of South America. [This is an inaccurate summary of their actual findings, as Carter (1953) makes clear.] . . . The likeliest hypothesis [though purely speculative] is that drift gourds were found by ancient beachcombers, carried inland out of curiosity, and that volunteer seedlings came up in kitchen middens and other artificial habitats.” The species was taken eastward bearing a Sanskrit name into Malaysia and the East Indies. It was in New Guinea by 350 B.C. and China by 100A.D. Use and cultivation of Lagenaria spread prehistorically through the Pacific islands all the way to Hawaii.” [Western Polynesia is left without specific reference.]

Carter 1953, 62—71. The bottle gourd could have floated to South America from Africa, but it would progressively have lost fertility under attack by boring worms and microorganisms, making sprouting on the strand unlikely.

Patiño 1964, 244. Lagenaria siceraria is one of three plants (the others are the coconut and cotton) which surely were present in the inter-tropical area of the world, on more than one continent, at the European discovery of the Americas. Some have suggested sea transport of the seeds from Africa; however, the gourd was unknown in the Antilles or in eastern South America, but did appear on the Pacific side. [The plant’s absence from the Antilles casts doubt on even the supposition of viable drift seeding from the mainland to those Middle American islands.]

Garíí­a-Bárcena 2000, 14. L. siceraria dates in Tamaulipas and Oaxaca from 7000 BC.

Langdon and Tryon 1983, 37. Almost invariably in Eastern Polynesia the name for gourd is húe. But in 1770, Easter Island had geracona, gourd. [This suggests a separate introduction to Easter Island?]

Lathrap 1977, 713—51. Proposes that West African fishermen were swept out to sea from Africa to Brazil by 16,000 years ago, bringing the gourd and other features. [There is no evidence of the cultivation of gourds, or any other plant, nor of fishing boats, anywhere near that date in Africa.]

Towle 1952,171—84. Her study of seeds from two sites with a review of the literature on the archaeological occurrence of the gourd in Peru leads her to conclude that it is likely the gourd crossed the ocean by drift.

Roys 1931, 245. Mayan: “Homa. Probably a large variety of Lagenaria siceraria” (Molina). “The large homa is used to store food, such as tortillas and atole . . ..” 61. “Lec. Probably Lagenaria siceraria (Molina).”

Mellén Blanco 1986,133. For Easter Island. This plant, called húe, is, without doubt, one of the two plants reported in the manuscripts as “calabaza blanca y colorada.” Fuentes (1913) identified one variety as L. vulgaris (syn. siceraria) and noted that they had other cucurbitaceae not yet classified.

Brücher 1989, 265—6. “Biologists suppose that the fruits floated on the oceans and maintained the viability of their seeds for many months.” Finds in Ocampo Caves, Mexico, at 9000 BP and the Tehuacán Valley 7500 BP is an “astonishingly early time for a cultivated plant in America.” “Even if it is not very convincing that ‘boat-people’ from Africa brought the bottle gourd to the Western Hemisphere,” he observes, “we must ask why it did not arrive before the Pleistocene if the natural dispersal of floating fruits was so easy? [And] if Lagenaria had in one or another way come from Africa, the puzzling question remains how it crossed the whole [South] American continent and appeared so early on the Pacific side?” Lathrap cited the caves of Pikimachay in the Ayacucho Basin (13,000 BP?) as the earliest find. [The date of 13,000 BP in Peru and 10,000 BP in Thailand (see above) would seem to place the earliest transoceanic transfer as probably too early for human intervention. Or we must extend the time of sailing by people on the oceans.]

Also, Brücher notes “the peculiar ritual importance of Lagenaria fruits as penis sheaths, selected for this purpose independently [sic] in Africa, South America, and New Guinea” (citing Heiser 1973).

Addendum: Too late to enter in detail: Carter 2002, 261-3.

Lonchocarpus sericeus

Origin: Old World

Summary: Distribution on either side of the South Atlantic of a tree that can serve as fish poison raises a question of whether transfer across to the Americas was human-aided. Only further study may answer that question.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Lonchocarpus sericeus (Poir.) H.B.K. (Kew. syn. palmeri)

Two plants found on both shores of the South Atlantic are Lonchocarpus sericeus (Poir.) H.B.K. and Serjania pinna L. The former is listed by some authorities as an African native and by others as South American. Some writers list it as a piscicide but how it might have been transferred across the ocean remains a puzzle. Similarly ,Paullinia pinnata, L. requires explanation. This is used as a piscicide in South America but not in Africa, possibly because it was replaced by more toxic species. Chevalier’s conclusion is that human groups use similar plants for similar purposes on both sides of the Atlantic due to “a truly marvelous genius of intuition.” “But it would require much more than that to produce the same species of plant on both sides of the ocean.” That must have been by floating or else by human agency. And the human agency cannot be the Portuguese or Negro slaves. (521.) (Fish poisoning had been outlawed by the Spanish king by 1453 and for the Portuguese in 1565.)

Luffa acutangula

Origin: in dispute; Old World more likely

Summary: This gourd has long been cultivated and used in both hemispheres. That there must have been a transfer is clear, and that it might have been by purely natural means is unlikely to account for the places where it is and is not grown; hence, intentional human transport is the only logical remaining explanation. (Since L. cylindrica definitely was transported anciently between the hemispheres by human beings, it is not unreasonable that the two closely-related species traveled together.)

Grade: B

Sources: Luffa acutangula—ribbed gourd

Torkelson 1999, 1776. Sanskrit: koshataki

Chopra et al. 1956, 156. Sanskrit: rajakoshataki

Heiser et al. 1989, 14—5. There are two American species: L. acutangula and L. cylindrica (the latter syn. with L. aegyptiaca Mill). However, Brücher (1989, 267) calls both species Old World, but in any case both have been cultivated since ancient times in the Americas as well as in Asia.

MOBOT 2003. Distribution North and Middle America and also India.

Chopra et al. 1958, 354—5. There are ten Sanskrit names, including those given by Torkelson and Chopra et al. 1956. The gourds are cultivated in most parts of India and are found growing wild in northwest India, Sikkim, Assam, and East Bengal. Seeds have medicinal value. 677. One more Sanskrit name is given.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 323. Sanskrit: kosataki, jalini. Medicinal uses.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 72. L cylindrica was domesticated probably in tropical Asia, possibly in India, and it gave rise to L. acutangula.

See also the information under L. cylindrica.

Luffa cylindrica

Origin: Asia (others say Americas)

Summary: Extensive use in East and South Asia can be compared with a 1200 BC occurrence in an archaeological site on the coast of Guatemala that suggests transfer across the Pacific from Asia (probably coincident with other plant transfers demonstrated in the present report), without excluding possible movement in the opposite direction. Sanskrit names testify to its early presence in India at least. The apparent absence of this plant at such an early date in many other parts of both Old and New World increases the likelihood of intentional human transmission from Asia to Mesoamerica.

Transfer: Asia to Mesoamerica

Time of transfer: before 1200 BC

Grade: A minus

Sources: Luffa cylindrica (syn. aegyptiaca)—loofah, vegetable sponge, sponge gourd

Torkelson 1999, 1776. Sanskrit: dhamargava, rajakoshataki

Chopra et al. 1956, 157. Luffa cylindrica. Sanskrit: rajakoshataki

Aiyer 1956, 55. The flower (whose color was compared to that of gold) and fruit are mentioned in several Tamil sources (cited) of pre-modern age.

Watson 1868, 273. Sanskrit: kereleh. Hindi: kerula. Persian: Luffa amara.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 338—9. Sanskrit: mahakosataki, vegetable sponge. Medicinal.

Heiser (1985, chap. 2) discusses species of Luffa from both the Old and New Worlds, leaving a possibility open for human transmission between the two areas.

Newcomb 1963, 50. This is pretty close to being a naturalized species in the American tropics. It is a plant of the field margin, that is, it thrives in land disturbed by cultivation. It is used in its youthful form as a green vegetable, and when mature, as a cheap substitute for the bath sponge or scouring pad. How and when was this plant introduced in the Americas?

Nayar and Singh 1998, 14—5. Long cultivated in South and Southeast Asia. In Japan and China it has several medicinal uses. In Guyana it is used as a poultice, while in India it has a number of uses in Ayurvedic medicine.

Heiser et al. 1989, 14—5. There are two American species: L. acutangula and L. cylindrica (syn. L. aegyptiiaca Mill). (Brücher assigns the origin of both these to the Old World.) Vernacular names in English are sponge gourd, loofah, or vegetable sponge. Cultivated in America since ancient times. Also long cultivated in South and Southeast Asia. In Japan, an extract of the stem is used to treat respiratory ailments. There were other medicinal uses in China.

Watt 1888—1893, V, 96. L. aegyptiaca is a native of India and naturalized in most hot countries of the world. 94. Luffa “comprises ten species, natives of the warmer regions of the Old World, and one indigenous in America.”

Bretschneider 1892,196—8. T’ien kua (sweet kua), nowadays the common name for melons, is also known as kan kua. Li Shizhen suggested that the kua mentioned in the passage from the Li ki [see I, 82] was a melon. He seems to be right. But as to the other quotations, we are left in doubt whether the kua there mentioned were melons or were what we call pumpkins, gourds, squashes, i.e., species of the genus Cucurbita. 197. “All the cucurbitaceous plants now cultivated for food in China are probably indigenous to the country, with the exception of the cucumber and watermelon, which, as their Chinese names indicate, were introduced from the West.” He gives Chinese characters for C. moschata and Luffa cylindrica, among others.

Kosakowsky et al. 2000, 199. In an Early Preclassic archaeological site of Pacific coastal Guatemala, pottery from the earliest levels (1200 BC) bears a secondary decoration of loofah (sponge) impressions and other impressions on the storage jars. (“Other impressions” on the pots include rocker stamping, a ceramic decoration feature shared with early East Asia.)

Brücher 1989, 267. Luffa spp., sponge gourd, luffa. The genus includes 6 to 10 taxa that are mostly of Old World origin, but one species, L. operculata, is native to the neotropics (i.e., North America). Its main application is as sponges, etc. “Due to the habitual similarity of the different species which now have worldwide distribution, it is not easy to separate the different taxa.” The Old World species are L. acutangula (L.) Roxb. and L. cylindrica (L.) Roem. The latter is often designated as L. aegyptiaca Mill.

Hernandez 1942—1946 [by 1580], I, 159. Náhuatl: tzonayotli.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 72. Domesticated probably in tropical Asia, possibly in India. This plant gave rise to L. acutangula. Maximum gene diversity is probably in India.

Lupinus cruickshanksii

Origin: Peru

Summary: The similarities between European lupines and this species of Peru invite closer investigation of their taxonomic relationship.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Lupinus cruickshanksii—lupine, field lupine (Kew. cruckshanksii [sic] Peru, Chile) (syn. mutabilis.)

Johannessen and Wang Siming 1998, 25. Safford (see next entry) claimed that cultivated Lupinus plants in the New and Old Worlds are so similar that they must have been derived from the same wild species.

Safford 1917, 16. Lupinus cruickshanksii found in Peru bears close resemblance to L. albus of southern France, and another lupine from Peru is also related. “The presence of these lupines in South America, so distinct from the endemic species of that continent and so very similar to those used for food in the Old World, is of great interest to the ethnologist.”

Brücher 1989, 80—81. Lupinus mutabilis Sweet., syn. L. cruickshanksii Hooker, syn. L. tauris Hooker. Peru: tarhui, chocho, ullu. Leguminosae are worldwide, with a strong background in the New World, where 200 taxa have been established. From the Old World, only a dozen species are known, the most important being L. luteus and L. albus. Cytogenetic barriers exist between the Euro-Asiatic group with 1n=50 and 52 chromosomes and the American lupines, which in general have 2n=48 chromosomes. The latter are depicted in Peruvian ceramics.

Patiño 1964, 191. Cites Lupinus spp. and says in the Peruvian Andes a certain people are said in a Relación of 1586 to eat the leaves. 178—9. Lupinus mutabilis (Kew syn. cruckshanski) or Lupinus sp., called tarwi, or tarui, in Quechua and chocho, or altramuz, in Spanish, “because of its similitude with the European Lupinus.” Various species of Lupinus are endemic in the Andean cordillera, from 1800—4000 meters. “Cobo considered the altramuz, or tarui, common to both continents.”

Yacovleff and Herrera 1934—1935, 305. Chochos is the common name, for which Garcilaso gives tarvi;Cobo, tarui; and Holguín, tarhui. Yacovleff and Herrera identify it as Lupinus tauris Benth. Garcilaso says, “They have chochos, like those of Spain . . ..” Cobo: “There are to be found a great abundance of wild lupines in the countryside, that the Indians call tar-ui.” In a footnote, Yacovleff and Herrera say: “The tarwi collected by Cook at Ollantaytambo, which is very similar to Lupinus albus L. in Europe, Safford mentions with the name L. cruckshanskii (sic).”

Lycium carolinianum

Origin: Americas

Summary: On Heyerdahl’s authority, this plant’s occurrence on Easter Island implies transfer from South America, along with a dozen other useful species. Given the evidence from Dumont and Skottsberg of American species having reached Easter Island, we see the presence of this species on the island as unsurprising, another transplant by voyaging.

Transfer: South America to Easter Island

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Source: Lycium caroliniamum

Heyerdahl 1963, 28. It is the only wild Easter Island shrub, yet it is an American plant.

Lycopersicon esculentum

Origin: Americas

Summary: There are some suggestive indications that the tomato was in pre-Columbian Asia, but concrete evidence remains questionable or absent. The topic is worth further investigation, particularly in China.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Lycopersicon esculentum—tomato (Kew. syn. cerasiforme)

Langdon 1988, 329. Thompson in 1886 found the tomato (tomatillo) growing wild on Easter Island. Langdon takes this as indication of pre-European cultivation. (This was probably {?} Physalis peruvianum, Langdon observes.)

McBryde 1945, 140. Both potato and tomato were domesticated from poisonous nightshades. Apparently, those (at least in Guatemala) were little developed, being only half-wild, before white men came.

Roys 1931, 217. Mayan: “Beyan-chan. Lycopersicum esculentum, Mill.” 272. “Ppac. Lycopersicum esculentum, Mill. Tomate grande.” 315. Culub [backwards C=tz]-ppac. Lycopersicum esculentum, Mill. Small-fruited wild form. Tomate chico.”

Bretschneider 1892, 364. List of Solanaceae mentioned in Matsumura (Japanese) includes Lycopersicum esculentum, Mill. and gives Chinese characters for a name (but the source does not make clear whether the name is of pre-Columbian date in China or Japan).

Johannessen, personal communication. He was told while visiting China of tomato seeds that had been found in a coffin in a Chinese tomb and later germinated. But seeds from the purported specimens cannot now be recovered for examination. Without reliable archaeological documentation, it remains possibe, Johannessen observes, that the seeds were an intrusion after the tomb/coffin was opened.

Brücher 1989, 277. Despite the fact that it is highly probable that the tomato descended from a gene pool of wild species in South America, “remains of the tomato plant have never been found [in Peru] nor do any reproductions exist on ancient potteries in the Andean region . . ..” Apparently, it was domesticated in the Mexico/Guatemala area, which is completely devoid of autochthonous wild-growing L. species. L. cerasiforme is the now-cosmopolitan ‘weed tomato’ that is a direct ancestor of our tomato by some theories, in spite of some morpho-genetic contradictions. L. cerasiforme has very small fruits, no bigger than a cherry; native to a narrow west coastal region of Peru. 279. There is a set of wild species from the coastal region and low Andean valleys of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and N. Chile, all with green fruits when ripe. They are separated genetically from the red-fruited Eu-lycopersicon group, with which they do not cross. They are grown in the “Lomas,” where vegetation is limited to misty months of August to November. Another wild tomato was discovered on the Galapagos Islands, called L. cheesmanii. The Eu-lycopersicon (red) group includes L. cerasiforme and the cultivated L. esculentum.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 339. Sanskrit: raktamachi. (Two local names are tamatur and tamata.) [It might be speculated that raktamachi could have been derived from modern ‘tomato’ in recent centuries and then was somehow accepted as a Sanskrit term.]

Macroptilium lathyroides

Origin: Americas

Summary: Found as specimens in several early archaeological sites in India, these ‘beans’ can only be accounted for by human transport across the Pacific, along with other species of Phaseolus (see below).

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: before 1600 BC

Grade: A

Sources: Macroptilium lathyroides (syn. Phaseolus lathyroides)—phasey bean, phasemy bean

Smartt 1969, 452. Macroptilium is a distinct group within the genus Phaseolus, consisting of very small seeded American forms.

Pokharia and Saraswat 1999, 99. Phaseolus “. . . beans of American origin have been encountered from proto-historic sites in peninsular India.” P. vulgaris is recorded from pre-Prabhas and Prabhas cultures at Prabhas Patan, Junagadh Dist., Gujarat, dated from 1800 BC to AD 600 (endnote 153). Also, these come from the Chalcolithic site of Inamgaon (about 1600 BC), and another site in Pune Dist., Maharashtra (endnote 54), and from Neolithic Tekkalkota (C14: 1620±108 BC), Bellary Dist., Karnataka (endnote 155). P. vulgaris, P. lunatus, and Phasey bean (P. lathyroides, syn. M. lathyroides) have also been recorded by Vishnu-Mittre, Sharma, and Chanchala (endnote 156) from deposits of Malwa and Jorwe cultures (1600—1000 BC) at Diamabad in Ahmednagar Dist., Maharashtra.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 66. They give the name as “Phasemy bean.”

Mangifera indica

Origin: Southeast Asia

Summary: This fruit was widely and early used in India and Southeast Asia. Landa apparently reports it from 16th century Yucatan, judging by the description of the fruit: yellow, soft, and sweet, “which when eaten leaves the stone like a soft hedgehog . . ..” Tozzer notes the fit, but cannot imagine that Spaniards could have imported the tree at that early date (the only possible origin he considered). Pending more information, we consider this fruit he spoke of as likely the mango.

Case 1: Transfer: Southeast Asia to Mesoamerica

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Case 2: Transfer: Mesoamerica to Polynesia

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Mangifera indica—mango

Tozzer 1941, 199. “Another tree [in Yucatan] bears another fruit also yellow and not as large as the other and soft[er] and sweeter than it, which when eaten leaves the stone like a soft hedgehog . . ..” Note 1086 says, “PM suggests Couopia dodecandra, (DC.) Hemsl., in Maya uzpib. There is an Asiatic species, Mangifera indica L. It is evident that a foreign importation would not have been cited by Landa at the time he wrote” [sic]. [The description of the fruit fits M. indica so exactly, it is difficult to imagine the Yucatan fruit being of any other species. Had the plant resulted from Spanish importation {they do not mention any such introduction from Asia}, there would not have been time for the imported tree to have grown and multiplied sufficiently to be noticeable as a fruiting tree by Landa.]

Bailey 1935, II, 1984. The Malay Archipelago is home to nearly the entire genus. M. indica has been in cultivation since such a remote period that its exact origin is somewhat doubtful, but it has been considered by the best authorities to be indigenous to the Himalayan foothills of eastern India, extending possibly through Burma into the Malayan region. The genus has about 30 species, natives of tropical Asia. Allied distantly to the hog plum, cashew, and pistachio. M. indica; Mango. Northern India, Burma, and possibly Malaya, as noted above.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 346. Sanskrit: amrah, chutah. Medicinal uses.

Dastur n.d., 152—4. Local names: am, amba, and ambi. The leaves, bark, gum resin, fruit, and seed are used medicinally.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 71. The center of maximum diversity is said to be Assam and the Chittagong Hills of India.

Heyerdahl 1996, 149—57. In the Marquesas (Hivaoa), Von den Steinen, Linton, and Heyerdahl discovered and then rediscovered large, non-Polynesian stone carvings showing long-tailed quadrupeds that could represent only some form of felid and whose nearest analogues were on the monuments of San Agustín, Colombia. He connects these representations (radiocarbon-dated by charcoal taken from under the statues at ca. AD 1300) with several plant species of American origin that have been identified in remote locations in the Marquesas. They can only be accounted for by the arrival of voyagers. 78. Among these species was the mango.

Sauer 1993, 17—20. Evidently domesticated in the northeastern India/Burma region. It was probably being planted in India by 2000 BC and is prominently recorded in ancient Sanskrit writings. It came to figure symbolically in Hindu and Buddhist mythology and ceremonies. Not widespread in the East Indies until after the European incursion. Earliest known introduction of M. indica to the New World was to Bahia in Brazil about 1700, with seed from West Africa. In 1742, it was successfully introduced to Barbados. A quite separate introduction had taken place across the Pacific from the Philippines to Mexico. Mangoes were not grown around Manila until over a century after trade with Mexico began.

Manihot sp.

Origin: South America

Summary: Manioc was observed by the earliest Europeans to examine Easter Island, and there is evidence that it may have been in use also in the Marquesas. The report of two Sanskrit names from India sheds a new and puzzling light on the plant’s ancient distribution.

Transfer: South America to eastern Polynesia

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Sources: Manihot sp.—manioc, cassava

McBryde 1945, 139. Both varieties (“sweet” and “bitter”) were used in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica.

Sauer 1993, 57. “The crop is always propagated by cuttings of the woody stems, not by seed.” 59. “The first records of establishment of manioc planting in the Old World were in West Africa in the mid-17th century.”

Langdon 1988, 326—8. Called yuca in various native languages of Peru and other Central and South American countries. Apparently, the name was derived from mandioca. Citing Purseglove, there is one center of speciation in Brazil and another in southern Mexico and Guatemala. It was seen in “beds” on “small plots of ground” on Easter Island in 1770 by Hervé.

Mellén Blanco 1986, 132. Hervé’s yuca, or mandioca, is surely Manihot utilissima. Introduced into Tahiti only in the mid-19th century.

Shady 1997, 18. Remains of this plant have been excavated at the Late Archaic (3000—1500 BC) site of Los Gavilanes in the Huarmey Valley of Peru.

Ugent, Pozorski, and Pozorski 1985, 81—2. Manioc, a Brazilian word, was called rumu in ancient Peru, while Aztecs called it guacamote. Based on C14 assays, they now report specimens of the plant from the Casma Valley of Peru ranging in age from 1800 BC (uncalibrated) to AD 1532.

Martí­nez M. 1978, 111—3. Miranda (1952-1953, II, 277) reports five species for Chiapas, one being M. esculenta. It is eaten cooked or prepared in the form of bread. Heavy yield: 12—15 tons per hectare. He found at his site in Chiapas (1st century AD or BC) two carbonized seeds (species not known) and lots of pollen, these being the only evidence from archaeology of the use of mandioca in Chiapas. Lowe supposed its use anciently, based on finds of what he presumed to be obsidian grater chips.

Yarnell 1970, 225. Earliest archaeological remains: Peru, 2700 BP; Southern Mexico, 2100 BP.

Towle 1961, 132. Associated with Early, Middle, and Late Nazca ceramics (1st to 9th century AD). 61. Found in remains of Cupisnique Period (BC) on the north coast, and there was a root of yuca in a burial at Ancón (BC date) and another in a Paracas (also BC) grave. Many representations can be seen on effigy pots and textiles.

Bronson 1966, 262ff. Named in the proto-Mayan language of the 2nd or 3rd millennium BC. Among them is manioc, or yucca, Manihot esculenta, and M. dulcis, sweet yuca, yuca dulce, or mandioca.

Roys 1931, 225. “Cici-cin [‘c’ of second word pronounced ‘tz’]. Manihot aipi, Pohl. Yuca dulce.” 314. “Tzin. Yuca brava.” Motul dictionary: “The yucca [sic] from which they make cassave.” Or sweet yucca.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 346—7. M. esculenta. Sanskrit: darnkandah, kalpakandah.. Medicinal uses.

Maranta arundinacea

Origin: Americas

Summary: M. arundinacea is an old crop in Central and South America. It was growing wild on Easter Island at the time of European discovery. It was also present in India, where it bore a Sanskrit name and was referred to in Tamil (southern India) texts long before European commerce with India began.

Case 1: Transfer: to Easter Island

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian.

Grade: B

Case 2: Transfer: to India

Time of transfer: while Sanskrit was still active

Grade: A

Sources: Maranta arundinacea—arrowroot

Piperno 1999, 126. Phytolith spectra from pre-7000 BP archaeological strata in Panama are revealing the presence of M. arundinacea. 127. Evidence is reprised supporting the hypothesis that arrowroot and other native plants, such as Dioscorea spp., were cultivated here before the introduction of maize.

Heyerdahl 1964, 126. This is one of the American plants present in deserted locations on Easter Island when the flora were first recorded by Europeans.

Aiyer 1956, 44. Sanskrit: kuvai. M. arundinacea, arrowroot, is mentioned in the Tamil source Malaipadukadam, as well as in the Mathuraikanji (also Tamil), long preceding Portuguese arrival.

Chopra et al. 1956, 162. There are names in Hin., Ben., Tam., etc. “Native of Tropical America.”

Pullaiah 2002, II, 348. Sanskrit: tavakshiri, tugaksiri. Medicinal uses.

Patiño 1964, 22—23. Sagíº is the name of M. arundinacea in various parts of South America. This name was originally that of a palm of the genus Metroxylon, native of Southeast Asia and the Polynesian archipelago. How it came to be applied to this tuberous plant of Venezuela and adjacent areas is not known.

Mimosa pudica

Origin: Tropical America

Summary: Known in India in time to receive at least three Sanskrit names, and also grown in the Marquesas Islands, apparently before those islands’ discovery by Europeans.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: probably two millennia ago

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: to Marquesas from Americas

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: B

Sources: Mimosa pudica——sensitive plant, humble plant

Brown 1935. Approximately 250 species, centering in Topical America. A native of Brazil. “Of early introduction in the Marquesas, where it has escaped from cultivation.”

Bailey 1935, II, 2053. Probably 300 species of Mimosas, chiefly of Tropical America. Cultivated as an annual (at least nowadays). Brazil is the possible origin, but it is widely naturalized in warm countries.

Roys 1931. 267. [Mayan] x-mutz. Sensitiva.

Watt (1892, V, 248) calls it the “sensitive plant.” Probably introduced from Tropical America; it is naturalized over most of tropical and sub-tropical India.

Pandey 2000, 271. M. pudica, from Brazil, is one species “naturalized throughout India.”

Torkelson 1999, 1785. Sanskrit: anjalikarika, lajja

Chopra et al. 1956. Sanskrit: lajja. Probably a native of Tropical America; naturalized more or less throughout India.

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 569. Sanskrit: lajja

Nadkarni 1914, 233. Mimosa pudica. Sanskrit: ajàlikalika, namaskâri. Eng.: sensitive plant. A native of Brazil, has long been naturalized in India and is plentiful (as a forage crop) in the hotter regions.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 358—9. Sanskrit: lajjalu, namaskari. Medicinal uses.

Mirabilis jalapa

Origin: South America

Summary: At least four Sanskrit names for this flower combine with wide distribution in India to witness the fact of transfer from the Americas long ago.

Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: probably at least two thousand years ago

Grade: B plus

Sources: Mirabilis jalapa—four o’clock (flower)

Roys 1931. 291. Maravilla, Four-o’clock. Tzutzuy-xiu. Its showy and fragrant flowers are closed during midday.

Hernandez 1942 [before 1580}, I, 194—5. He identifies two varieties. Very common on the Mexican Mesa Central.

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 177. South America is the center of gene diversity for this species.

Nadkarni 1914, 235. Mirabilis jalappa [sic]. Sanskrit: sandhya-rága. Eng.: four-o’clock flower. Found in gardens.

Torkelson 1999, 1786. Sanskrit: krishnakeli

Chopra et al. 1956, 168. Sanskrit: krishnakeli. Cultivated in the greater part of India.

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 569. Sanskrit: krishnakeli.

Pullaiah 2002, II. Ttrisandhi, krsnakeli [sic], sandhya-raga. Medicinal uses.

Balfour 1871—1873, III, 282. Cultivated as an ornament in gardens. Not directly useful. English name is ‘Marvel of Peru.’ For Sanskrit he gives two names: bahu-bumi, and sundia-ragum. (So also Watson 1868.)

Mollugo verticillata

Origin: uncertain

Summary: Archaeological specimens provide positive evidence for ancient presence of this weed in both hemispheres.

Transfer: from one hemisphere to the other (uncertain in which direction)

Time of transfer: before Roman times at least

Grade: A

Source: Mollugo verticillata—carpetweed

MOBOT 2003. This plant is native to China according to Flora of China. Specimens in the herbarium are from North, South, and Middle America.

Chapman et al. 1974, 411—12. Archaeological evidence is adduced to show the presence of this weed in the eastern United States on the order of 3000 years BP. They also reprise some of the literature on its millennia-old presence in Europe. They suppose that its presence in the Americas must be connected with the agriculture of the American Indians, for the weed is garden-dependent.

Monstera deliciosa

Origin: Middle America

Summary: Temple sculptures of India establish this climbing vine from Mesoamerica as a significant element in medieval Indian art.

Transfer: India from Mesoamerica

Time of transfer: by the 11th century

Grade: A

Sources: Monstera deliciosa Liebm. (syn. Philodendron pertusum Kunth.)—ceriman

Zeven and de Wet 1982,187. Mexico and Guatemala are the center of gene diversity.

Lundell 1937, 35. Monstera sp. Probably the most conspicuous epiphytes of the humid shaded zone are the giant root-climbing aroids, species of Monstera philodendron. They completely surround tree trunks and extend from the tree bases to the crotches. Some of their leaves may reach a length of a meter or more. 54. He lists two different species found at Uaxactun, each given as only “Monstera sp.”

Burkill 1966, II, 1515. M. deliciosa, Liebm. A native of Mexico, where it is wild on the western slopes of the mountains in the southern parts of the country, and is also cultivated for the sake of its delicious fruit. It has the flavor of a pineapple. Brought to Singapore (from the Americas) only in 1877.

Bailey 1935, II, s.v. Monstera. From Tropical America. Called ceriman.

Gupta 1996, 108—9. This is a large evergreen climber, native of Central America, but it is cultivated throughout India for its foliage and edible fruit. The artisans had to be familiar with the plant in order to sculpt it. Sculpted on various Hindu and Jain temples in Gujarat and Rajasthan; sculpted mainly behind the heads of various deities dating from the 11th to the 13th century AD. The Mandor statue of Vishnu near Jodhpur has not only the Monstera leaves but even the stalks of the leaves sculpted. One of two dwarf-like figures shown with Vishnu is holding a Monstera fruit on a plate in his left hand. Other temple sculptures are cited. Plates 136 and 137 show two, while on page 108 is a picture of the living plant.

Morus sp.

Origin: Old World

Summary: A highly important genus in Asian civilizations (for manufacturing paper and bark cloth), two species were known also from Middle America, where they were apparently used in a similar manner. A detailed analysis of parallels in the technological complex of bark-paper/cloth processing has shown that quite certainly that complex passed from Southeast Asia to Mesoamerica, including a particular type of bark-beater found anciently in Mexico.

Case l: Transfer: M. alba: Asia to Middle America

Time of transfer: first part of the 1st millennium BC, following Tolstoy

Grade: A minus

Case 2: Transfer: M. rubra: Middle America (according to Brücher) to Asia

Time of transfer: possibly the 3rd millennium BC

Grade: incomplete (origin needs more definitive determination)

Sources: Morus sp.—mulberry tree, moral

Pandey 2000, 281. M. alba, white mulberry, was introduced to India from China.

Chopra et al. 1956, 170. Sanskrit: tula

Pandey 2000, 288. M. nigra, from Asia, probably Persia, was introduced to India in 1795.

Watt 1888—1893, V, 280. The antiquity of its culture in China and Japan and the number of varieties (there) led De Candolle to believe the original area extended eastward as far as Japan. Others believe it extended from Northwestern India into Asia Minor and Persia. Watt considers his M. indica equivalent to M. alba. 283. Bark in China was used for paper from very early times.

Bretschneider 1892, 128. The Chinese mulberry is Morus Alba, L. . . . many varieties are cultivated. 203. The Lu shi [Sung Dynasty] relates a tradition according to which the Emperor Shen Nung [“28th century BC,” but now known to be much later] first taught the people to cultivate the . . . mulberry tree, for making . . . silken cloth.” (328—9) This tree is cultivated in all the provinces of China. Silk is raised wherever the tree grows. This pattern can be traced back to the remotest time of Chinese civilization. According to an ancient tradition related in Huai Nan Wang’s treatise on the rearing of silk-worms [1st century BC], it was Siling, Empress of Huang Ti [“2697 BC”] who first taught the people the art. She was consequently deified and worshipped. The mulberry trees cultivated in China for the breeding of silk-worms are all varieties of Morus alba, L., as also are the trees grown in Western Asia and Southern Europe for the same purposes. The name, M. alba, was given to the silk-worm mulberry by C. Bauhin on account of its white fruit. But in China (at Peking at least, Bretschneider observes), the fruit of M. alba is generally of a red color. “I have seldom seen white berries there.” [The rearing of silk-worms in Japan, according to the Japanese annals, dates from the 3rd and 4th century.]

Burkill 1966, II, 1522. M. indica and M. alba are the mulberries grown for feeding the silk-worm. The Malays know it as tut, an Arabic name widely used in northern India. 1523. M. alba has many varieties and intergrades with M. indica, which some have reduced [taxonomically] to it. [See Bretschneider (1892) under M. alba.] M. nigra is the mulberry cultivated for its fruits in Europe and elsewhere. It is not found in Malaya, but is in the hills of Java.

Balfour 1871—1873, III, 357—9. M. alba is from all southern Asia. 359. M. alba is cultivated in Europe, and in all south and east Asia the leaves of it are fed to the silkworm. M. indica, found in southern India, is cultivated in Bengal to feed silkworms.

Von Hagen 1944, 37. Hernández (arrived 1570) discovered many species of wild fig in use in Mexico. 51. “Primitive paper or bark-cloth, wherever it is found, whether on the African coast, or in Java, the Fiji Islands, or the Tonga Islands, Sumatra, the Celebes, or Hawaii, is always made from the mulberry or its close relative, the Fig.” 53. When Maoris migrated to New Zealand they brought their mulberry plant with them, but it did not grow well. 58—9. Kinds of plants used for paper-making by the Otomí (Central Mexico) were the mulberry (Spanish: moral) “which has been identified as Morus celtifolia, a paper-mulberry similar to the plant used by many Asiatic papermakers.” 60. The Aztecs (a living remnant tribe) use almost the same papermaking plants as the Otomís, including the mulberry. 67. After naming nine species of Ficus used for paper, he says in a footnote: “Three well-known species of mulberry found in this area may also have been paper-trees: Morus alba; M. nigra; M. rubra.

Brücher 1989, 239. Morus rubra L. “This fruit tree deserves a short mention, because it is said to be of American origin, whilst other Morus species are Old World species. It extends from the southern States of the USA to Central America.”

Tozzer 1941, 195. In Yucatan, “there are two kinds of mulberry plant, very fresh and fine.” Note 1040. Lundell notes this was “probably a Morus.” However, no species of the genus has been collected in this region.

Las Casas 1875—1876, IV, 379—80. Reported abundant mulberries growing in the Antilles.

Bretschneider 1892, 128. M. nigra is a native of Western Asia, where it was much cultivated for its excellent dark red fruit, but it is not fit for rearing silk worms.

Torkelson 1999, 1788. Sanskrit: tula

MacNeish et al. 1967, 85. They excavated a type of stone bark beater in the Tehuacán Valley of Mexico which they consider “remarkably similar” to some in Java and Celebes; they find it “extremely difficult” to believe in the beater’s independent invention because the degree of similarity is so great.

Tolstoy 1963. A detailed and systematic analysis of parallels in the bark-cloth manufacturing industries of Southeast Asia and Mesoamerica provides evidence that he considers to be unequivocally indicative of historical relationship between the two areas. He thinks the technology was introduced to Mesoamerica in the early part of the 1st millennium BC.

Mucuna pruriens

Origin: Americas

Summary: Widespread distribution in Asia and unmistakable characteristics combine with multiple Sanskrit names to ensure the presence of this species (or two species, if pruriens is distinguished from prurita) in both hemispheres. Importation to Polynesia directly from the Americas is more plausible than a tortuous route from Southeast Asia for which there is no evidence.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to India

Time of transfer: at least as early as the first centuries AD

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to Hawaii

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian.

Grade: B

Sources: Mucuna pruriens (syn. prurita)—cowhage (Kew. syn. urens, Am., Austr.; syn. Prurita; syn. imbricata) [Synonymies inconsistent]

Burkill (1966, 1528) says M. urens is not the same: “The plant [M. pruriens, DC, cowitch) was taken to the West Indies some centuries ago and occurs there alongside a very similar species—M. urens, DC.” Boiled seeds of M. pruriens have been used in India from Sanskritic times as an aphrodisiac and its roots as a tonic.

Cook (1901, 292) says this plant, of American origin, was in Polynesia and the Malay region in prehistoric times.

Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary says: “cowhage, also cowage. From Hindi: kavac. A tropical leguminous woody vine (Mucuna pruritum) with crooked pods covered with barbed hairs that cause severe itching; also these hairs sometimes are used as a vermifuge.” The same information and more can be found in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Roys 1931, 235. Mayan: “Chiican. Mucuna pruriens (L.)” Picapica. “This is the English cow-itch.”

Watt 1888—1893, V, 286. Mucuna pruriens. Cowhage. “It occurs commonly throughout the tropical regions of the Americas, Africa, and India.” Seeds in India are considered a strong aphrodisiac.”

Chopra et al. 1958, 515. In the Punjab plains, from the base of the Himalayas to Ceylon and Burma. Many medicinal uses.

Nicolson et al. 1988, 1238. Called nai-corana in Hortus Malabaricus. Still known throughout Kerala as naikurana.

Hillebrand 1888, I, 1012. “M. urens.” Found on Maui, Hawaii. “A native of Tropical America from the West Indies to Brazil and Peru, well known as the Cow-itch plant.” He considers it of pre-Cook age in Hawaii.

Balfour 1871—1873, III, 394—5. Cowage, or cowitch, has medicinal uses. Found in East and West Indies and elsewhere in the American tropics (M. urens and M. pruriens). Sanskrit: atmagupta in general; M. prurita, Hook, W. & A.; Sanskrit: copikachuand atmagapta (sic). “Sir W. Hooker has distinguished the East India plant, M. prurita from M. pruriens, which is indigenous in the West Indies.” Same, vol. I, 389. The species are found in hedges, thickets, on the banks of rivers, and about watercourses, in the East and West Indies, and in the Americas within the tropics. Mucuna urens and M. pruriens usually furnish the substance (i.e. the hair).

Nadkarni 1914, 242—3. Mucuna prurians (sic). Sanskrit: atmaguptä, kapikachchhu. Eng.: cowhage. An annual climbing shrub wild in Bengal and common in the forests throughout the plains. Cultivated in some parts for its velvety legumes, which are eaten as a vegetable.

Torkelson 1999, 1788. Sanskrit: atmagupta, kapikachchha

Chopra et al. 1956, 171. Sanskrit: atmagupta

Int. Lib. Assoc. 1996, 569. Sanskrit: atmagupta

Pullaiah 2002, II, 369—70. Sanskrit: atmagupta, vanari. Described in the texts in the tradition of Ayurvedic medicine.

Musa x paradisaca

Origin: South Asia

Summary: Musa x paradisiaca is descended from two genomes which now include ‘banana’ (most varieties) as well as the ‘plantain.’ Historical and linguistic evidence in abundance demonstrates that the traditional view among plant historians that the Spaniards introduced this plant to the New World is in error. Archaeological finds from Peru seem to confirm the occurrence. In any case ethno-historic accounts credit several Mesoamerican peoples with growing this cultivar before Columbus’ arrival, and linguistic and historical documents confirm heavy pre-Columbian use for tropical South American peoples also.

Transfer: Widespread distribution in the American tropics seems to rule out a mere transfer to the hemisphere via Polynesia as too late to account for the Western Hemisphere spread. There must have been (also?) an earlier advent, either via the Pacific or from Africa. We take one transfer as a minimum; two or more as possible.

Time of transfer: Supposing the Peruvian tomb finds were legitimate, then perhaps as early as the first BC centuries, or at least on historical and linguistic evidence in South America, one millennium before the Spanish Conquest.

Grade: A

Sources: Musa sp.—banana, plantain

Nicolson et al. 1988, 297. Musa x paradisiaca. In Malabar, vazha is still used (cf. Rheede ‘bala,’ which is the general term for all bananas and plaintains as plants). “Modern nomenclature for cultivated Musa is based on genome analysis. Moor “pointed out that M. x paradisiaca is correctly applied only to cultivars with parental genomes of M. acuminata (‘A’) and M. balbisiana (‘B’). Thus, the genome of the cultivar Mysore is expressed as [AAB], showing it is a triplid with two complements of M. acuminata and one of M. balbisiana.”

Berry 1925, 531—2. Illustrates and discusses seeds of “Musa enseteformis Berry, n. sp.” These fossils were collected from coal beds by “an experienced naturalist” (Dr. M.A. Rollot, aka Bro. Aristé) of the Instituto de La Salle of Bogotá. Most modern bananas do not bear seeds, but of those which do, the closest to these are those of the African species Musa ensete Gmelin which have inedible fruits and very large seeds. 533—4. All Musaceae have been considered to be natives of the Old World except the large and exclusively American genus Heliconia and one species of the ditypic genus Ravenala found in northern South America, the other species of which is confined to Madagascar. The peculiar distribution of Ravenala and the disputed occurrence of Musa in the New World before the arrival of the Spanish explorers might well have discouraged dogmatism regarding the latter. 534—5. Cook says the banana was originally a root crop, and even at the present time the root and heart are eaten in some countries. Most authors (Cook the most vocal exception) have assumed an Indo-Malayan region origin. Humboldt questioned this view (Nouvelle Espagne, first ed., vol. 2, 360, 1911). He quotes a number of early authors who asserted that it was cultivated in the Americas before the Conquest and mentions its cultivation on the Orinoco and Beni rivers in regions far removed from foreign influence. Garcilaso de la Vega says the banana was one of the staple foods in Peru at the time of discovery and accurately describes several cultivated varieties. Montesinos said the same. Of supposed banana leaves from Peruvian graves, “of course leaves of Musa (the banana) are not distinguishable from those of the exclusively American genus Heliconia, so that no reliance can be placed on the leaves . . ..” 530. Berry: “The great similarity of the fossils to the seeds of the existing Musa ensete of Africa caused me to have some doubt as to their authenticity. They are, however, undoubtedly fossil and not recent . . ..” “It would seem that the presence of characteristic remains of Musa in the Tertiary of northern South America effectually disposes of the Old World origin of the genus, and although it does not prove that the New World was the actual place of origin, it disposes one to a more ready acceptance of the arguments for such an origin. It seems further to visualize the independent cultivation of the banana by the natives of the Americas long before the advent of the Europeans, thus validating the opinion of Humboldt and the statements of Garcilaso and Prescott.”

De Prez 1935, 59, Fig. 15. Bananas are shown at Borobudur (India) ca. AD 700—900.

Newcomb 1963, 50—2. “It is time to face up to the Banana.” This genus has three sections which are differentiated on the basis of chromosome characteristics. (The Musaceae Family is divided into four genera, Strelitzia, Ravenala, Heliconia, and Musa.) Darlington in his Chromosome Atlas subdivides the Musa into three groups according to haploid numbers, which are 10, 11, and 12. The African Musa (Ethiopia) is cultivated not for fruit but for its stem which is boiled or baked for food. The Abaca species, Musa textilis, has fruit. It might have appeared in the New World “later,” but this is not yet proved (see Miranda, on Chiapas). Also, the Pacific Island fehi, or fe’i, bananas are distinct. And finally, seed bananas in the New World: where do these fit? (At this seminar, Simmonds had never heard of them until told by C. Sauer.) At Ancón, Peru, investigators turned up some banana seeds. This collection was studied twice, by Wittmack and by a French botanist [Rochebrune?] Some bananas are grown there in that area now. Wittmack thought the seeds in the site could have been contaminants.

Newcomb, cont’d. Cheesman pretty well established that plantains are from Southeast Asia, specifically from the eastern side of the Bay of Bengal; the wild parentage is there. The Berlanga myth (that this Dominican priest brought the first banana rootstock to the West Indies from the Canaries) couldn’t explain the tremendous number of New World forms developed in so short a time. Experience shows that banana rootstock is durable and could survive lengthy sea voyaging. African bananas were imported from Asia, not domesticated locally.

Latcham 1936. For Pacific coastal South America, he reports the practice of planting bananas in moist beds above the water level but below ground level.

Moseley 1969, 485—7. South American mahames, or sunken garden plots, were a supplement to canal irrigation along the arid coast because ground water kept the plants moist.

Skottsberg 1920, 13. Easter Island. Describes use of small, cultivated plots dug below ground level and used particularly to grow bananas below the prevailing winds.

Dagodag and Klee, 1973,10—5. A distributional study that maps the widely spread uses of this (mahamaes) form of cultivation, in Oceania, Peru, and Chile. [This cultural parallel supports the supposition of a transfer of the plant also from Eastern Polynesia to South America, or vice versa.]

Mellén Blanco 1986. 130—1. Easter Island. “Plátanos guineos” in early explorers’ documents has to refer to one of the varieties of Musa sapientum, (reported in tradition) brought to the island by the first settlers. Called maika. Grown in pits (manavái) sometimes to protect from the wind. Hervé reported a banana plantation a fourth of a league long and almost half that wide, in addition to smaller plantings.

Heyerdahl 1964, 123. Stevenson, Wittmack, and Harms had pointed out that plantain [meaning generic Musa?] leaves had been frequently identified in aboriginal Peruvian graves and Rochebrune found a fruit of cultivated Musa paradisiaca in a prehistoric tomb at Ancón. Chroniclers Garcilaso de la Vega, Acosta, Montesinos, and Guaman Poma unanimously stated that the plantain was grown before the Conquest in Peru. Further, when Orellana descended the east side of the Andes and crossed South America (1540—41, the first European to do so), he found plantains growing all along the reaches of the upper Amazon. [This report is circulated in the literature, but his original account does not say anything of the kind.] In the light of this, Merrill finally granted that “We may reasonably admit that one, or a few of the numerous Polynesian plantain varieties may have” reached the Americas.

Towle 1961, 97. Leaves of the banana are said to have been found in Peruvian graves (Rochebrune, 1879, 348, 352; Pickering 1879, 663). Rochebrune, 352, also speaks of specimens of the seedless, berry-like fruits having been recovered. However, this Old World species was brought to the Americas only after the European discovery [sic, Towle]. Since the specimens are not available for study, it is not possible to determine their correct identifications.

Jeffreys 1963a, 196—7. The historical claim circulates (originally from Oviedo) that Fr. Thomas de Berlanga brought the banana and plantain from the Great Canaries in 1516. Jeffreys, formerly a banana planter in Cameroon, observes that the shoots brought by Berlanga to Santo Domingo in 1516 would not have been available for planting out until the end of 1517 or beginning of 1518; yet before 1525 Oviedo published that by then there were huge plantations in the islands and on the mainland. Only those who have had nothing to do with running banana plantations may be able to swallow Oviedo’s assertion about the banana’s origin via Berlanga. Among these is Professor Merrill (1954). 202. Cites De Candolle (1884, 304) to the effect that Garcilaso de la Vega “says distinctly that at the time of the Incas, maize, quinoa, the potato, and, in the warm temperate regions, bananas, formed the staple food of the natives. He describes the Musa of the valleys of the Andes; he even distinguishes the rare species [variety?] with a small fruit and sweet aromatic flavor, the dominico, from the common banana, or arton.”

Cook 1901, 258. “The evidence of the banana in prehistoric America is equal, if not superior, to that presented here for the coconut.” American bananas have mistakenly been attributed to importation via the Manila galleons, but Oviedo describes them in the New World 40 years before that route was even discovered, and Philippine varieties of bananas are still not found in Mexico.

Harms 1922, 166. Literature is cited showing their presence in Peruvian graves.

McBryde 1945, 36. Bananas are mentioned in the tradition, Annals of the Cakchiquels (in Guatemala), and some varieties seem to have grown in the Americas prior to the Conquest.

Scholes and Warren 1965, 965. Bananas were being grown before the Spanish Conquest in southern Mexico.

Sapper 1934, 119ff. Gives names for the banana from many languages, from which he concludes that this plant had to have been present well before the Conquest and probably in the 1st millennium AD.

Smole 1980, 47—50. His ecological and ethnographic studies among the Yanoama Indians in Brazil/Venezuela provide convincing basis that their current heavy dependence on plantain cultivation is an old, conservative feature. Cultivated plantains relate to a variety of wild Musa forms in the vicinity. He also considers Berry (1925) as presenting “credible evidence” for Tertiary-age bananas in Colombia. Upon his reexamining the Spanish chroniclers, he finds their statements support the indigenous view rather than that Spaniards exclusively introduced bananas. The evidence overall is not incontrovertible but does support the hypothesis.

Wittmack 1890, 325—49. Lengthy review of chroniclers and archaeology concludes that the banana was pre-Columbian in Peru.

Merrill 1954,165—385. One or more plantain varieties may have been carried by the Polynesians to South America, where they reached the Amazon basin.

Roys 1931, 304. Musa sapientum. Platano blanco. (No indigenous Mayan name.) The Maya text prescribes a medicinal use for the leaf.

Spores 1965, 971—2. In the hot mountain valleys to the west of Tehuantepec, [pre-Columbian] inhabitants grew bananas among other crops.

Addenda: Too late to enter in detail: Smole 2002; Jett 2002c.

Musa coccinea

Origin: China

Summary: Find of this anomalous species (only?) in such a remote spot in the Amazon basin is impossible to explain as a post-Columbian import. It seems highly probable to have been aboriginal.

Transfer: Asia, apparently, to South America

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C plus

Sources: Musa coccinea—Chinese banana (Kew. {China}).

MOBOT 2003. Native to China according to the Flora of China.

Newcomb 1963, 50—2. H. Bassler, a U.S. geologist working in the Amazon in the 1920s, wrote a description of seed-bearing bananas in the Upper Amazon (published in the Journal of the N.Y Botanical Garden). He compared it to the Chinese Musa coccinea. The fruit head in this specimen stands up rather than hangs down. He speculated it might have been an early Chinese introduction, carried on into Amazon country. 52ff. The Evidence Pro and Con Regarding the Pre-Columbian Occurrence of the Banana in the New World.” Tessman found that simple cultures had the seed bananas. Guaraní-related Indians, more advanced, lacked the seeded type. A fairly promising case exists that these seed-bearing bananas were indeed fehi bananas, for they had seeds, and the fruit-bearing stems were not pendent but upright. No one has followed this up. (H.J. Bruman, in the C. Sauer seminar that Newcomb reports, reported meeting Tessmann in 1956 to examine the wild Amazon bananas grown in Paraná. Bruman confirmed the characteristics attributed by Tessman. These plants grew at a low elevation and in conjunction with domesticated bananas as associates.)

MOBOT 2003. “Native” to China.

Myrica gale

Origin: probably Old World

Summary: Distribution on both sides of the Atlantic, combined with pollen on intervening Greenland and Iceland dated to the times of Norse sagas, make likely that those voyagers were responsible for the transfer.

Transfer: Northern Europe to Iceland, Greenland, and North America

Time of transfer: AD 1000

Grade: B

Sources: Myrica gale—bog myrtle

Thorarinsson 1942, 46. M. gale is spread on both sides of the North Atlantic, although it is now absent from Iceland and Greenland. Yet its pollen is found in Icelandic excavation layers from saga times, and possibly also in Greenland as well. The Norse sometimes used this plant instead of hops to brew beer. He finds it tempting to ask the question whether this plant could have been brought to North America by the Norse. His implied answer is that they could and apparently did, since no other scenario for the plant’s distribution in North America recommends itself.

Sauer (1969) raises a question about how it appeared in both hemispheres.

Nelumbo sp.

Origin: Old World

Summary: See the summary for Nymphaea sp.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Nelumbo sp.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 377. Nelumbo nucifera (syn. Nymphaea nelumbo). Four Sanskrit names are given. Trade name: East Indian lotus, sacred lotus.

See also the material under Nymphaea sp.

Nicotiana rustica

Origin: Americas

Summary: This ‘wild’ tobacco is found widely in India. It is unlikely to have been introduced after N. tabacum was available, for tabacum is far more desirable, but it may have been brought in at the same time (inadvertently?). More information is needed to determine its significance, if any.

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Nicotiana rustica (syn. rusticum)—Turkish tobacco, wild tobacco

Chopra et al. 1956, 176. Hin. and Ben.: vilayeti tamaku. Cultivated in West Punjab, Baluchistan, Bengal, and other parts of India.

Gupta 1971, 70—1. “The tobacco plant of commercial importance was introduced into India as late as the 15th century AD by the Portuguese, and that is perhaps why there are no Hindu myths connected with the plant, nor is it considered to be sacred by them. But a large number of tribal myths connected with the plant are current, though very likely they refer to the wild varieties of the plant.” (Citing V. Elwyn, Myths of Middle India, 324.)

Chopra et al. 1958, 679. Cultivated in many parts of India. N. rustica, Turkish tobacco, is also cultivated in some parts of northern India. Does not list any Sanskrit name, but gives Arab.: tanbak; and Pers.: tanbaku.

Watt 1888, V, 352. N. rusticum. “Turkish or East Indian tobacco.” (Not named in Sanskrit, he says.) Widely cultivated throughout much of India. “The vernacular names given to it would indicate its introduction into Northern India from opposite directions.” (354. Rusticum was never naturalized.)

See also material under N. tabacum.

Nicotiana tabacum

Origin: Americas

Summary: Use of the plant by living Egyptians and others in the Old World has been demonstrated definitively by study of mummies and desiccated corpses dating from at least 1100 BC. Use of the water-cooled hooka smoking device is shown in pre-Columbian art in India, along with medicinal references to tobacco in traditional forms of medical practice. Names point to the pre-Columbian presence of tobacco in Asia and perhaps in Tibet. Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian names are recorded. Found wild on Easter Island, while tradition says it was introduced by the earliest settlers.

Case 1: Transfer: Americas to Egypt, at least

Time of transfer: no later than 1100 BC

Grade: A

Case 2: Transfer: Americas to Eurasia (Cases 1 and 2 may prove to be combined.)

Time of transfer: Sanskritic times, surely by AD 1000

Grade: A minus

Case 3: Transfer: Americas to Easter Island

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: C

Sources: Nicotiana tabacum—common tobacco

Zeven and de Wet 1982, 181. It has been shown that tobacco is a natural amphitetraploid of the New World. N. sylvestri and N. tomentosiformis. The occasional wild plants are escapees of cultivation.

Balfour 1871—1873, IV,104. N. tabacum. He gives the names for Sanskrit as sahastrapatra and dhumrapatra. (But Hindi: tamakhu or tambaku.) “Mr. Royle mentions on the authority of the Persian works on Materia Medica, that it was introduced into India in AD 1605 . . . though Royle quotes the authority of Pallas, Loureiro, and Rumphius, who think tobacco was used in China at a period anterior to the discovery of the New World.”

Pullaiah 2002, II, 380. Sanskrit: tamakhu.

Heyerdahl 1964,126. This (in a wild, or feral, state) was one of a number of plants found when Europeans first recorded the flora of Easter Island. Thomson before 1891 collected traditions that say that this plant was brought by the first ancestral settlers. Its name, avaava [cf. Rarotonga: kavakava, acc. to J. Sorenson, personal knowledge] indicates, he says, that it was chewed, not smoked (another word is applied to the latter, odmoodmo). This is another “reasonable suspect” to have been introduced in pre-European times.

Martínez M, 1978, 124—5. Miranda found only N. tabacum (growing wild?) in Chiapas. Its preparation requires much care (drying or curing by air or fire). Quotes Thompson (1970, 110) on uses—offering to gods, divination, worn as an amulet, and in burials. It was chewed with lime or smoked. Thompson (p. 118) says in Mesoamerica tobacco was considered almost a panacea for illnesses. They applied the juice on insect bites. 129. Some seeds found by flotation date to the Chiapas Proto-Classic [ca. the 1st century AD).

Yarnell 1970, 225. Earliest remains, Northern Mexico, 1600 BP.

Ashraf 1985, 91—101. It is universally accepted that tobacco began in the New World and was carried to India after its introduction into Europe by Europeans, especially the Portuguese. 92. Tobacco in Tibb-e-Unani (Greco-Arab medicine). Hikmat, or Tibb-e-Unani, along with Ayurveda, were the two dominant schools of medicine before the advent of modern medicine. It was practiced all over India. In that system, tobacco was one of the important plants used as a cure for a number of diseases. One of the earliest mentions of tanbaku, or tobacco, as a medicinal plant is found in a collection of prescriptions titled Majmua-e-Ziai, penned by the court-physician of Muhannad-bin-Tughlaq of the Delhi Sultanate. It is dated 737 AH (AD 1329). This ms. mentions use of tobacco as a component of a compound preparation, nás, used for a number of diseases. (93) Name: tanbaku falls in the category of names identical in Persian and Sanskrit. Hence, we suspect the tobacco tradition goes much further back than the 14th century. That is confirmed by another medieval source, a Persian translation of a Sanskrit classic of Ayurvedic medicine, completed AD 1512. “We find mention of tobacco in traditional Indian medicine of a period almost a millennium before the discovery of the New World and the introduction of tobacco into Europe.” Not only Indian but European practitioners of Greco-Arab medicine who were residing in India and were familiar with Indian traditions of both medicine and culture, considered tobacco to be native to India and not an introduction. More details.

Ashraf cont’d. 95—96. The issue rests with identity of the substance labeled by the noun, e, then documents continuity of the smoking tradition in India (which used the huqqa, or water pipe). It was present almost unchanged since the 14th century and mentioned in texts very possibly earlier. A temple in Himachal Pradesh dated to AD 1422—1424 shows archaeologically the use of the huqqa at that time. Photographic documentation of this depiction is also had for other temples through the Archaeological Survey of India. 96—97. Argues that prohibition of tobacco smoking in Sikh religion supports the argument so far, for there would be no prohibition without the practice being common.

Chopra et al. 1956, 176. Sanskrit; tamakhu. Hin. and Bom.: tambaku. Cultivated throughout India.

Torkelson 1999, 1793. Sanskrit: tamakkhu. Arabic: tanbak. Pers.: tanbaku

Marszewski 1975—1978, 255. Pointed out on the basis of plant names a possibility of pre-Columbian cultivation of tobacco in India and Southeast Asia.

Bucaille 1990, 187—8. Fragments of American tobacco and a coleopterous parasite of tobacco were found in the abdominal cavity of the mummy of Ramses II. He reproves any speculation about possible ancient American contact with Egypt on the basis of this tobacco. The abdominal cavity was open for years while the mummy was in various locations over the past century. “This accounts for my surprise upon hearing the Museum of Anthropology [in Cairo] declare that the discovery of morsels of tobacco in the mummy’s abdomen was proof that the ancient Egyptians were familiar with the plant.”

Christian 1897, 138. He gives Samoan, sai, meaning a bundle of tobacco, in possible relationship to Quechuan (Peruvian) sairi, tobacco.

Dixon 1921, 19—50. Name study shows tobacco is American only; this follows upon his devastating review of Leo Wiener’s book the previous year. [But in the light of additional findings in this paper, some material in Wiener’s book needs to be re-examined.]

Feinhandler, Fleming, and Monahon 1979, 213—26. Comprehensive on the diffusion of tobacco. The conventional view of exclusive New World origin followed by diffusion by the Spaniards is probably false and needs to be modified. Maps given of the pre-Columbian distribution in Australia, New Guinea, Melanesia, and Polynesia. Some of what Lewis (see below) claimed appears right. Goodspeed gave the definitive taxonomy of Nicotiana and argued that one sub-genus had spread from South America to Australia long before any possible human residence in the Pacific [sic].

Balabanova et al. 1992a, 358. Nine Egyptian mummies, dated from approximately 1070 BC to AD 395 were examined by radioimmuno-assay and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Cocaine and hashish were found in all nine, and nicotine from tobacco in eight mummies in hair, soft tissue, and bones.

Balabanova et al. 1992b. Showed hashish along with cocaine and nicotine in Peruvian mummies. Balabanova, Boyuan Wei, and Krámer (1995, 68) say that 1992b demonstrated “the presence of cocaine, nicotine, and hashish in hair and soft tissue of pre-Columbian mummies,” so this was not an inadvertent statement.

Balabavanova, Boyuan Wei, and M. Krámer 1995, 74. More than 60 kinds of wild tobacco plant forms are known (in the world). It “seems possible” that in past centuries nicotine was used in medicine. Or nicotine may have entered the picture as a secondary alkaloid in some other plants. Thus, e.g., in Withania somnifera, family nightshade, in the levels (sic) of Prunus ceresus, family Rosaceae, in the Narcisse, family amaryllidaceae, etc. Use of these plants [not demonstrated, of course] “may” be followed by accumulation of nicotine in the body. Also, possibly imported. E.g., Withania somnifera is the best-known drug in ancient India. “In conclusion, our results showed the presence of nicotine in ancient population (sic) of southern China, and consequently, the presence and use of the alkaloid, as principal or secondary alkaloid in native Chinese or imported plants.”

Langdon 1988, 329. Thomson found tobacco growing wild in secluded spots on Easter Island in 1886, a century after Cook’s visit. Langdon infers that this probably meant pre-European cultivation of toabcco.

Zeven and De Wet (1982, 181) say the plant does not grow “wild” but only as an escape.

Brücher 1989, 180—1. The species N. tabacum does not exist in free nature, nor does N. rustica. Both are allo-polyploids with hybrid origin. American wild (predecessor) forms are identified here. They are found on the western slopes of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Laufer 1931, 138—40. He had written about the spread of American tobacco into Asia, Europe, and Africa after European discovery, but Melanesia and Australia are different. He supports Lewis (1931). There are native tobaccos in New Guinea, he is assured, and the method of smoking them there is unique and likely very old.

Lewis 1931, 134—8. He claims pre-European presence of tobacco in New Guinea while others suppose it only came via the Spaniards. He argues for independent domestication and use in New Guinea.

Jeffreys 1976, 9—28. Tobacco is one of the plants he finds present in Africa before the influence of Iberian impacts. Its presence there may be due to the Arabs.

Wiener 1924, 305—314. A summary of his three-volume work (1920—22), which was badly handled by critics. At this point, he claims that forms of the word tubaq are found in Semitic and Sanskrit, and the Náhuatl and Tarascan words for tobacco and pipe, he claims, are from Arabic. [Requires more critical examination.]

Watt (1888, V, 352ff.). 353. N. tabacum. “American or Virginian tobacco.” Hindi: tamáku, tumálk, támbáka, támbáku.” Persian: tanbaku. Arabic: tanbák. Malayalam: pokala, puka yila, etc. Widely naturalized. An abundant weed. 361. The tobacco plant was introduced to India by the Portuguese about 1605.

Burkill 1966, II, 1577. N. tabacum often maintains itself in a wild state in the tropics, but not in the sub-tropics, whereas the reverse is the case with N. rustica. N. tabacum is the tobacco plant of chief interest in the Malay Peninsula.

Nadkarni 1914, 257. Nicotiana tabacum. Sanskrit: támrakúta. Eng.: tobacco. Hind., Pers., and Mah.: tambâku. Arab: tanbak.

England 1992, 161. There was a word for tobacco in reconstructed Proto-Mayan, before 1000 BC.

Balabanova, Wei, and Krämer 1995, 68, 70, 73—74. Significant nicotine and cotinine (a metabolized product of nicotine) residues were identified in five of eight naturally preserved cadavers from Guangxi state in Southern China, dating some 3750 BC—thus, significantly earlier than the oldest Egyptian mummies. The cotinine indicated ante-mortem use of the source of the alkaloid, not external contamination. Nicotiana is known to have been used medicinally in China during the last few centuries.

Balabanova 1994. She surveys comprehensively literature from biologists, historians, archaeologists, in re. pipes, etc., to demonstrate that a tobacco plant was cultivated and consumed in Europe long before Columbus. (Compare Benoit 1962, 1963.)

Addendum: too late to enter in detail: Jett 2002a.

Nymphaea spp.

Origin: Old World

Summary: Some observers say that Eurasian and Middle American water lilies (‘lotuses’) differ by very little; botanists may consider such differences of considerable significance. To non-specialists, those pictured in the Americas look essentially ‘the same’ as some flowers in the Old. (Within the Old World, species, and even genera, differences exist also but are overlooked for iconographic purposes.) But the treatment of the motif in art and myth has such notable parallels, that one supposes the natural differences may have been overlooked by the ancient Americans who could have considered the lily they had (Nymphaea sp.) the ‘lotus’ in the same manner that horticulturists treat both Nymphaea and Nelumbo species as ‘lotus.’ It is impossible to know at this time whether there is an exact species equivalence between the Mesoamerican lotus and that of the Old World, where the two genera were considered equivalent for some purposes. It is a subject worth further study.

Transfer: Old World to Middle America

Time of transfer: pre-Columbian

Grade: incomplete

Sources: Nymphaea sp.—lotus, white water lily, blue water lily

Aguilar 2003, 80. Maya shamans had within their pharmacopeia the white lotus flower (Nymphaea ampla, also known as the white water lily, or nenúfar). In Egypt, the mandragora, or blue lotus flower (N. caerulea), was employed, along with datura and henbane (as psychotropics).

Lundell 1937, 191, 198. Nymphaea ampla Salisb. Mayan, nohoch naab, nape. A very common aquatic plant with large floating leaves and attractive white flowers.

Pullaiah 2002, II, 377. Nelumbo nucifera (syn. Nymphaea nelumbo). The East Indian lotus. Four Sanskrit names.

Gupta, 1996. 117—120. Nelumbo nucifera, lotus. Held sacred by Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists, is the most common floral depiction on temples. “Practically every god or goddess is sitting or standing on a lotus flower. This could be because lotus is a symbol of beauty, fertility, and purity.” In Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, the lotus flower arises and unfolds from the formless, endless Ocean of Creation and represents the Universe. The regents of the eight directions are its eight opened petals. Lakshmi, the goddess of fertility, beauty, and prosperity (basically a goddess of fortune), is associated with the lotus plant and is known as Padma, the lotus Goddess.

Naudou 1962, 340—7. The lotus panels from Chichen Itza are compared in some detail with those of India and Southeast Asia.

Heine-Geldern 1966, 284. A lotus motif was important in the art of India in the period from 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. It shows not only the flowers and leaves but the whole plant, including the rhizome. In Maya art, the lotus motif appears in Classic times, but at Chichen Itza of the later Toltec period [post AD 750] motifs correspond most closely to Indian designs, particularly to those of Amaravati in south India (2nd century AD). At Uxmal, a similar motif dates to about the 7th century.

Heine-Geldern and Ekholm 1949, 306—8. Associations of the lotus are discussed, all of which are shared between the two areas.

Rands, 1953, 75—153. He grants that there are “truly remarkable parallels” in representations of the water lily at Chichen Itza and Palenque, and at Amaravati, India. But a naturalistic convergent explanation for the parallels cannot be ruled out.

Fuchs, 1951, 61—2. Motifs shared by Hindu/Buddhist art of southern India (style of Amaravati) and of Southeast Asia, with Mexico and the Maya region are now an established fact. Among the motifs is the lotus.

Dí­az 2003, 81. The white water lily plant employed as a hallucinogenic (called nenúfar, or white lotus flower), became a symbol of a lineage often depicted in the headdresses of Maya rulers. The white water lily flower was also seen as a link in the chain of fertility: the flowers fed fish, which subsequently fertilized the soil to permit the cultivation of corn. The nenúfar also symbolized death. In the Codex Dresden, the god Chac pulls this precious white flower from the water.

Newcomb 1963, 59—60. Carl Sauer observes: Lotuses occur in bayous of the Magdalena River in Colombia as well as in Cuba and possibly Mexico. Only one botanical distinction exists between the New World lotus and those of the Old World, which is a matter of flower coloration. [But see below.] Old World lotus has yellow blossoms, those in the Americas white or pink. Old World distribution is also disjunct, not explainable by reason of birds or transport via drainage systems. This suggests that man is responsible. There are records of lotuses being carried to Europe from the Orient. Lotus roots are starchy; the seeds are nutty like the piñon, and the flowers are edible. Flowers are also an important art motif. And how are lotus and water lily related? The former is genus Nelumbo, whose leaves stand well above the surface of the water. Equating Nelumbo spp. and the term lotus is the usage of U.S. horticulturists. The water lily is the genus Nymphaea, or true water lily, whose leaves float on the surface of the water. These species represent the true African or Egyptian water lilies. However, the common nomenclature for lotus and lily is quite confused.

K.T. Harper, personal communication, 2004. The Old World lotus (Nelumbo) has white, pink, or blue flowers. The Nelumbo species also has a different leaf (peltate). The Nuphars and Nymphaea species have a very different leaf. The flower of Nelumbo is elevated three or four feet above the water; the Nymphaea flower opens at, or close to, the water surface.

Wilkinson, 1879, II, 407. Plants from Pliny: “Nymphaea Lotus. Arab.: beshnín. Footnote 2: This Nymphaea Lotus grows in ponds and small channels in the Delta during the inundation . . . but it is not found in the Nile itself. It is nearly the same as our white waterlily. Its Arabic name is nufár, or nilófer, or beshnín; the last being the ancient pi-sshnn, or pi-shneen, of the hieroglyphics. There are two varieties—the white, and that with a bluish tinge, or the Nymphaea caerulea. The Buddhists of Tibet and others call it nenuphar. Though the favourite flower of Egypt, there is no evidence of its having been sacred; but the god Nefer-Atum bore it on his head, and the name nufar is probably related to nofar, ‘good,’ and connected with his title.”

Roys 1931, 267. White water lily, found in shallow ponds near Merida and elsewhere.

Rands 1953, 117. The water lily in both the Maya area (Nymphaea ampla) and the Hindu lotus (Nelumbo sp.) are members of a single family, the Nymphaeceae. The stalks of both rise prominently above the water. This being the case, a certain degree of resemblance in the depictions of the two related plants might well be expected. A number of conventionalizations strikingly similar to Maya floral forms must be admitted to exist in Southeastern Asiatic depictions of the lotus. 118. “The Type C flower which occurs at Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Chinkultic . . . is closely paralleled in certain representations of the lotus.” He continues with additional, fine details relying on Coomaraswamy (1931) for the India comparisons. 119. “Maya associations of the water lily having correspondences in Indian art appear to be quite numerous.” (Details given.)

Go on to part 3 of “Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages to and from the Americas”