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by: Ms. Dax Senger


Marketplace > University of Florida > Geography > GEO 3315 > GEOGRAPHY CROP PLANTS
Ms. Dax Senger
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Nigel Smith

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Date Created: 09/18/15
Geography of Crop Plants Geo 3315 Fall 2008 Lecture Notes Part 1 Nigel J H Smith Department of Geography University of Florida Gainesville FL 326117315 Tel 392 0494 The Plant Domestication Process Location Former idea of origin of agriculture in fertile crescent of TigrisEuphrates river basins some 10000 years ago This idea stems from a Temperate zone bias and the fact that the Middle East is better studied archeologically that most of the tropics Also the Middle East Southwest Asia is mostly dry thus preserving plant remains Agriculture is more likely to have occurred earlier in tropics The geographer Carl Sauer suggested that f1sherfolk living in coastal areas of the tropics with hills providing a gentle slope would have been a good setting for the fist agricultural peoples Hillsides that are lightly wooded can be more easily farmed than grasslands or oodplains at least until plows are developed and water control measures are enacted Very large trees can be ringed to kill them Smaller trees can be cut and burned the resulting ash providing fertilizer Forest soils are more friable that those in grasslands and therefore more easily worked The greater biodiversity of tropics offers a greater range of plants for experimenting with in terms of plant domestication Triggering Forces Common perception of population pressure triggering plant and animal domestication is probably incorrect The late Carl Sauer at Berkeley and Andrew Moore of Yale University suggest the process may have been more experimental conducted at a leisurely pace with an abundance of food and gathering resources to allow gradual domestication Types of Plants First Domesticated Earliest domesticated plants were probably supematuralmedicinals rather than food plants Earliest domesticated food plants may have been perennials fruit and nut trees such as peach palm and root crops rather than seed crops Seed crops less likely to be first domesticated because It takes several generations to improve the yield of seed crops once wild forms have been selected for domestication Seed crops are more vulnerable to storms and oods than root and tree crops Seed crops need to be harvested within a relatively narrow window of opportunity whereas root crops can be harvested over many months or even years in some cases Habitats Where domestication took place Refuse heaps Trails Temporary campsites Base camps even today dooryards or home gardens in the tropics serves as staging areas for new varieties and crops Timing of Domestication and Duration of Domestication Process Depends on de nition Agriculture involving the planting of crops on a large scale in elds did not rst occur until some 10000 years ago But plant domestication probably reaches back into the Paleolithic 20000 years or more a gradual process of eXperimentationenrichment The late Dan Lathrap an archaeologist suggested that antecedents of the Neolithic agricultural revolution go back at least 40000 years Taxonomy of Domestication Not all plants go through the same quotstagesquot Plant domestication is a nonlinear event some crops revert back to the wild when abandoned It is helpful to envisage plant domestication in terms of the degree of modi cation of habitat and reproduction of plant Another way to look at plant domestication is the level of investment by people in terms of time and labor they devote to a plant Several de nitions of agriculture and plant domestication can be found in the literature One of the simplest and most eXible is offered by Robert Bye a Harvardtrained ethnobotanist who studied under Richard Evans Schultes Gathering plants or plant products are simply collected in the wild Incipient domestication Minor tending to spontaneous plants Agricultural domestication Full blown farming with creation of elds selection of varieties Weeds as a Resource Weed is a cultural term Ralph Waldo Emerson an American philosophernaturalist of the 19th century wrote What is a weed A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered A weed to one culture may be an important resource to another Example Teosinte and maize in Mexico Some crops started out as weeds in fields of another crop and eventually they were domesticated in their own right Examples of this process include Rye was initially a weed in wheat and barley elds possibly tolerated and then domesticated Rice may have started as a weed in taro elds Weeds have long been a preoccupation of farmers Take for example the New Testament parable about weeds in a wheat eld The parable is spoken to illustrate the destiny of individuals after death The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his eld but while men were sleeping his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away So when the plants came up and bore grain then the weeds appeared also And the servants of the householder came and said to him Sir did you not sow good seed in your eld How then has it weeds He said to them An enemy has done this The servants said to him Then do you want us to go and gather them But he said No lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them Let both grow together until the harvest and at the harvest time I will tell the reapers Gather the weeds rst and bind them in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn Matthew 132430 Agrobiodiversity Agrobiodiversity is that subset of biodiversity that is concerned with agricultural production crop species and associated varieties as well as livestock species and associated breeds Three main types of crop varieties are grown by farmers openpollinated varieties hybrids and clones Openpollinated varieties Varieties that selfpollinate or receive pollen from neighboring plants of the same species without human intervention Many traditional varieties of cereal crops are grown in this manner In the case of open pollinated maize varieties traditional farmers maintain the integrity of their distinct varieties by separating them in space ie with a sizable barrier of other vegetation or higher up on a mountain or in time ie by pacing the planting times of each variety so that they produce pollen in different months and thus do not contaminate each other An example of openpollinated maize where such precautions are not taken is Indian corn often sold in stores in the Fall for decorative purposes Indian corn usually contains kernels of many colors each the result of pollen from distinct maize varieties Hybrids Hybrid varieties are developed by crossing two inbred lines The resulting increased yield potential is referred to as hybrid vigor or heterosis Hybrid varieties are therefore generally higher yielding than traditional open pollinated varieties However the farmers must purchase hybrid seed each planting season from a seed company or state seed production facility Only the F1 first generation hybrid seed produces a uniform high yield If you plant seed produced by F1 hybrids the progeny will be highly variable and yields will be lower Hybrids were first developed commercially with maize in the 1930s and are now found among a variety of crops especially vegetables and ornamental plants that are grown from seed Clones clones are cultivars that are propagated vegetatively Most root crops are planted in this way For example potatoes are planted with small seed tubers manioc is propagated by sticking stem cuttings in the ground while sweet potatoes are planted with sections of the vine Bananas are propagated by root shoots A clone is an exact genetic copy of its parent and thus is highly uniform Commercial fruit and nut tree varieties are also propagated vegetatively by grafting The same applies to many ornamental bushes such as roses and azaleas Plant Breeding Yields of most of the major crops have increased several fold in this century In previous centuries the rate of yield increase was much slower About half of the yield increase of major cereal crops in the 20th century is attributed to plant breeding ie the genetic manipulation of plants The other half of the yield increase is due to changes in agronomic practices such as increased use of fertilizers herbicides and pesticides Some of the objectives of plant breeders include Higher yield potential eg exceptional response to fertilization shorter stems so that more photosynthetic effort is put into seed production known as the harvest index A 50 harvest index means that half of the weight of the plant is the harvested portion usually the seeds fruit or tubers Disease resistance genetic protection against certain bacteria viruses and fungi Pest resistance genetic protection against insects and other arthropods such as mites Daylength insensitivity equatorial regions have consistent daylength and varieties developed for the long summer days of temperate areas may not develop seeds or fruits in the tropics Tolerance to poor soils eg saline alkaline acid toxic levels of al Tolerance to drought Tolerance to ooding eg rice breeders are interested in traditional rice varieties of oodplain areas in Thailand because they grow very long stems to avoid submergence Frost resistance Wind resistance stronger branches trunks andor root systems of interest to growers of carambola or starfruit among others Improved nutritional qualities eg less saturated fats higher levels of vitamins protein Example peanut breeders at the University of Florida developed a new variety called SunOleic 95R in 1995 that has a healthier kind of oil than regular peanuts it helps lower cholesterol levels in some women Furthermore it has a longer shelflife than other peanut varieties Higher sugar content Breeders of certain fruits such as orange cantaloupe blackberry and apple are developing new varieties that are sweeter in order to compete better with snack foods and candy For example Sunkist launched Cara Cara in 2004 a variety sweeter than regular oranges New sweeter varieties of apple developed recently include Jazz Pink Lady and Paci c Rose Improved agronomic characteristics e g shorter bushier kidney beans to facilitate mechanical harvesting in places such as Michigan Improved postharvest characteristics e g longer shelf life less damage during transportation Efforts to render agriculture more quotenvironmentfriendlyquot as pushing the breeding agenda ie greater emphasis on genetic resistance to pests rather than reliance on pesticides as well as the growing consumer demand for quotorganicquot or quotnaturalquot products Sales of quotnaturalquot products reached 12 billion in the US market by 1998 and are growing by 20 annually Hard to maXimize all qualities at once eg push to higher yield can mean less resistance to diseases lower nutritional qualities Dipping into Plant Genepools Three main genepools are recognized by plant breeders the primary secondary and tertiary genepools See Figure 12 on page 16 of the textbook 0 The primary genepool refers to plant material belonging to the same species 0 The secondary genepool is composed of plants in the same genus ie near relatives 0 The tertiary genepool is unrelated species such as an oak and a moss Plant breeders dip first into the primary genepool when looking for traits If they do not find want they want there then they turn to the secondary genepool Breeders are reluctant to do this because of breeding barriers between species The barriers to be overcome by breeders are even more difficult in the tertiary genepool but advances in biotechnology are likely to facilitate widecrossing in the secondary and tertiary genepools Primary Genepool The primary genepool can be divided into several categories 0 Breeders collections 0 Traditional varieties 0 Wild populations of the crop plant Each category can be envisaged as a line of defense Thus within the primary genepool the fist place to look for desirable traits is the breeders collections PowerPoint 1 Traditional Varieties of Crops Widecrossing using Genetic Engineering Advances in genetic engineering are allowing more foreign genes to be incorporated into crops In other words conventional barriers to breeding are coming down While this raises some legitimate concerns about impacts on human health and the environment it does provides more tools for the plant breeder s toolbox and underscores the importance of conserving as much biodiversity as possible The Issue of Intellectual Property Rights Seed Companies and Compensation The interdependence of nations on genetic resources has recently brought the issue of Intellectual Property Rights IPR to the forefront of debate in international relations The part of IPR that relates to genetic resources is Plant Breeders Rights PBR The placing of value on genetic resources is a doubleedged sword On the one hand anything of value is likely to be saved But on the other hand nations are now less willing to share genetic resources without some form of compensation The issue of how to compensate nations and farmers for genetic resources is a compleX issue that is still being debated Compensation would be difficult for many modern varieties of cereal crops that trace their genes to dozens of countries The issue of value and compensation for genetic resources of crops is being eXplored by the Undertaking on Genetic Resources under the aegis of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization FAO One idea emerging from the ongoing discussions about compensation for genetic resources is to find marketbased incentives for maintaining traditional varieties of crops rather than government subsidies At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development UNCED held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 the issue of plant genetic resources was discussed and the Convention on Biodiversity was an outgrowth of that meeting which was also known as the Earth Summit The United States has not signed that convention in part because of concern for the proprietary rights of seed companies with respect to parental lines for hybrids Although multinational seed companies such as Pioneer HiBred International and DeKalb are sometimes cast as the villains in the debate over compensation for crop genetic resources international seed sales account for a tiny fraction of their business In most cases seed companies simply do not sell seed in countries that do not enforce Plant Breeders Rights More and more countries are signing legislation that recognizes Plant Breeders Rights in part because of the decreased role of government in many of these economies and the emergence of privately owned seed companies in developing countries Tropical Forests and Indigenous Knowledge Threatened Resources Tropical forests are the most biologically diverse environments in the world and it is not surprising that they have been the source of so many crop plants Over 200 perennial species excluding medicinals and omamentals have been domesticated from tropical forest plants The forested area of temperate and cold climates particularly in northern Asia is larger than the forest zones of the tropics but they contain far fewer species and only a handful of crops such as pear apple cherry mulberry and some timber species are derived from them Tropical forests of the Americas have given us such crops as avocado cacao guava papaya passionfruit peach palm rubber soursop vanilla Tropical forests of Africa have given us such crops as arabica coffee robusta coffee oil palm Tropical forests of Asia have given us such crops as breadfruit jackfruit carambola star fruit clove citrus mango and nutmeg Forests throughout the tropics are under threat for a variety of proximate causes such as clearing for crops pasture timber and construction of reservoirs for generating hydroelectricity PowerPoint 2 Tropical Forests forces of destruction and indigenous knowledge Concomitant with the loss of tropical forests is the loss of indigenous or local knowledge as cultural groups become extinct or their lifeways change as they become increasingly integrated with markets Unusual crops or varieties are often lost as a group succumbs to disease or other external pressures or farmers adopt cash crops Implications Interdependence of nations on genetic resources The fate of wild populations of arabica coffee in dwindling tracts of forest in southwest Ethiopia is of major concern to the economies of dozens of countries in Latin America and Asia In situ conservation needs to be emphasized as a strategy for conserving agrobiodiversity and its associated indigenous knowledge Conserving Plants In Their Natural And Cultural Environments Crop genetic resources are conserved by two main means ex situ and in situ Off site in ex situ collections using frozen seed or whole plants growing in field genebanks Ex situ collections do not work well for many tropical perennials that do not produce orthodox seed ie seeds that can be dried and frozen and still remain viable In such cases accessions are kept in live field genebanks but such operations are costly and can only capture a small range of the genetic variation of most perennials crops In situ conservation in natural habitats both on farm and in the wild is therefore essential In situ Conservation In situ conservation can be used for wild populations and near relatives of crops and for traditional varieties Advantages of in situ conservation Allows plants to continue evolving in their natural settings Is usually less costly than genebanks In situ conservation of wild populations and near relatives includes National parks Biological or nature reserves Specialized gene parks National forests Indian reserves Extractive reserves Problems of in situ conservation of wild populations and near relatives 0 Parks and reserves are often not adequately protected from illegal activities 0 Some reservesparks are too small to maintain the integrity of ecosystems Many tropical forest species depend on insects birds and bats for pollination and mammals and birds for seed dispersal Removal of some trees from the delicate ecological web characteristic of tropical forests may destroy elaborate mechanisms for fertilization and dispersal 0 Many habitats and environments are not represented in parksreserves ll 0 Extractive reserves and national forests may suffer from overexploitation of natural resources even though they are supposed to have management plans In situ conservation of traditional varieties and crops of local importance Idea is for farmers to maintain varieties that they would otherwise abandon in their elds or home gardens This can be accomplished through Marketbased incentives ie nding specialty markets for varieties that would otherwise go out of production such as heirloom tomato varieties in demand from upscale restaurants and consumers interested in different avors and textures who are willing to pay more for them 2 Ecotourism with a focus on agrobiodiversity tours of farms growing heirloom varieties Provision of credit for farmers to grow traditional varieties as well as modern varieties such as hybrids The idea that farmers should be paid or subsidized to grow varieties that they are no longer interested in is fraught with problems of how to administer effectively such programs D In practice some farmers who adopt modern varieties also maintain at least some of their traditional varieties even if the area devoted to the latter is reduced because traditional varieties are appreciated for 1 Better taste 2 Their use in ritual 3 Superior stalks or other material for building purposes eg traditional wheats have superior stems for thatching buildings BASIC STAPLES Bananas plantains and breadfruit Bananas and Plantains Introduction Bananas are considered a dessert fruit in industrial nations but in many parts of the humid tropics bananas and plantains are an important source of calories In equatorial Africa for example bananas and plantains are a major staple Bananas are the No1 selling fruit in the US surpassing apples at No 2 Americans spend 34 billion a year on bananas bananas is clearly big business Per capita consumption of bananas in the United States has jumped 43 percent since 1970 Banana is now the No 1 fruit consumed in the US beating out apples at the number 2 spot In the mid1990s people in the US were spending about 34 billionyear on bananas Origins and Diffusion Edibility in Musa acuminata evolved several thousand years ago Parthenocarpy the ability to set fruit without pollination arose with M acuminata somewhere in its broad range stretching from the Malaysian archipelago to New Guinea Seedless bananas were spotted by farmers and suckers were eventually removed for planting The seedless trait was relatively easy to preserve since the crop is propagated vegetatively Prior to the evolution of parthenocarpy wild bananas were probably collected for snacks but their ballbearing sized seeds and small fruits evidently did not warrant domestication efforts Only when seedless fruits arose spontaneously did farmers take up banana planting Parthenocarpy may have developed at several places in M acuminata s extensive range and various cultural groups may have seized the opportunity to domesticate the sunloving plant As domesticated forms of Musa acuminata spread north into the range of M balbisiana opportunities for spontaneous widecrossing were created The distributions of both species overlap slightly along the interface between monsoonal and equatorial climates but contact zones between M acuminata and M balbisiana increased dramatically as the former species penetrated drier areas as a result of human agency Spontaneous crossing between the two species thus began or at least accelerated several thousand years ago The resulting hybrids were more vigorous and higher yielding than domesticated M acuminata so the latter soon began losing ground Plantains probably originated in southern India and are eaten boiled steamed or fried and are a basic staple in many parts of Africa and Latin America such as in Venezuela The Fe i bananas A separate evolutionary history Another line of banana domestication has led to the Fe i group Fe i bananas developed parthenocarpy and sterility independently of Musa maclayi A distinguishing characteristic of Fe i bananas is that the fruit stalks generally protrude upwards rather than hanging down Starchy Fe i bananas are boiled or baked before eating Fe i bananas originated in New Guinea and spread to the Philippines and the Paci c as those islands were colonized in prehistoric times Fe i bananas may have been a basic staple in New Guinea 9000 years ago Fe i bananas are an essential component of feasts and other special occasions in the Society Islands where they are considered a prestige food The rich orange colors of Fe i bananas attracted the attention of Paul Gauguin a French impressionist painter who visited Tahiti and the Marquesas both part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia in the late 19th century The diffusion of bananas and plantains Europeans brought bananas to the New World Portuguese voyagers brought banana from West Africa to the Canary Islands around 1500 The subtropical Canary Islands served as a staging ground for exchanging several crops between the Old and New Worlds Bananas were taken from the Canary Islands on Spanish galleons to Santo Domingo in 1516 Once in the Caribbean banana cultivation soon spread to other islands Also a few further introductions were made by colonial powers directly to Central and South America Cuisine Bananas are used for food in various ways in different regions In parts of Southeast Asia the terminal male ower is eaten as a delicacy In the Dominican Republic Puerto Rico and Cuba unripe plantains are fried to make tostones In Puerto Rico some upscale restaurants are featuring nueva cocina criolla which emphasizes traditional home cooking with some modern touches For example one dish called serenata includes various tropical tubers and green bananas Also in Dominican Republic very green unripe plantains are boiled mashed mixed with onions and eaten This dish is called mangu Mofongo is prepared in the Dominican Republic Puerto Rico and Cuba by boiling green plantains mashing them adding garlic and meat and then frying them Fried ripe plantains platanosfritos are popular in Venezuela In Cuba and Puerto Rico fried ripe plantains are diced and fried maduros 14 Plantains are homecooking items in many parts of tropical Latin America but are also found in some upscale restaurants especially those featuring nuevo cubano cuisine For example the Yuca Restaurant on south Miami Beach Florida offers the following dishes that contain plantain Pldtano maduro Marina Marina s sweet plantain Plantain stuffed with dried cured beef dressed in sour cream and salsa verde 9 Pastel de Pldtano y Y uca plantain and manioc pastry Stuffed with pork and piquant cachucha peppers 3 10 El Dorado original cubierto con Platam39tos triturados con F de Pldtano Plantaincoated dolphin f1sh Served with tartar and tamarind sauce 23 Embutido de Pldtano Maduro y Pato a la Parilla Grilled sweet plantain and duck sausage Served with penne pasta in A ejo Rum sauce with sundried tomatoes and Ricotta cheese 16 Fried plantain chips and sweeter fried banana chips are sold in supermarkets in the U S Nutritional and Medicinal Value In addition to providing signi cant amounts of carbohydrate bananas and plantains are also rich in potassium a nutrient important for the proper functioning of the heart In Central Africa bananas are used extensively to make homebrewed beer which contains vitamin B Recently scientists have identified the active ingredient in plantain that stimulates cell growth in the stomach lining a discovery that may help heal stomach ulcers This discovery underscores the importance of ethnobotany for identifying new medicines and other valuable traits NonFood Uses Banana fibers in some areas are used to make a quotnaturalquot looking paper for note pads envelopes and writing paper Banana Rainforest Note Pad for example is made by the Costa Rica Natural Paper Company quotA percentage of each sale goes towards a scholarship fund to support young leaders from Latin America to study sustainable agricultural development at Earth Collegequot in Costa Rica Farming Systems Bananas are ideal for small or largescale agroforestry schemes Indeed over 90 percent of global banana production comes from small holdings Bananas are also well suited to large uniform plantations Most of the export bananas are produced on large plantations Extensive commercial plantings of banana are found in Central America particularly Costa Rica Guatemala and Honduras The Caribbean especially the Windward Islands South America especially Ecuador and Colombia PowerPoint 3 Bananas amp Plantains PowerPoint 4 F e 39i bananas Trade and Foreign Exchange Earnings Bananas are an important source of foreign exchange for several exporting countries For example the Philippines Dominica Grenada St Lucia St Vincent Martinique and Guadeloupe derive close to half their export earnings from bananas Three multinational corporations all headquartered in the USA account for about 23 of the world trade in bananas Chiquita formerly United Fruit Dole formerly Standard Fruit and Del Monte Two points are worth emphasizing respect to the banana export trade and rural and urban poor in developing countries 0 The export trade provides substantial employment opportunities Banana production and processing are labor intensive requiring at least 1 person for every 2 ha of planting Pests and diseases that attack commercial plantings also damage many traditional banana and plantain varieties so resistance breeding can benefit smallholders as well as company and cooperative plantations Export bananas have been at the center of trade disputes between the US and Europe in the last decade or so In 1993 the European Union began protecting banana growers in former colonies particularly in the Caribbean parts of Africa and the Canary Islands by imposing quotas on imports of bananas from Latin America This measure has severely impacted US corporations involved in the production and marketing of bananas especially Chiquita Chiquita alone suffered an estimated 13 billion in lost sales in the European market from 19932000 In 1997 the WTO World Trade Organization ruled in favor of the US and in 1999 the WTO gave the green light for the US to retaliate by imposing restrictions on the importation of certain European foodstuffs especially cheese Traditional Cultivars As bananas diffused across various soil and climatic zones different cultures selected some of the new forms arising from spontaneous mutations About 500 recognized varieties of banana and plantain are grown worldwide The greatest diversity of traditional banana cultivars is found in tropical Asia where the crop has the longest history Filipinos relish over 75 banana cultivars tended on thousands of widely scattered islands Some traditional varieties contain traits of potential interest to breeders in Malaysia one banana variety has a stalk over two meters long that contains an average of 2000 fruits more than five times the number of fruits typically found on eXport varieties Genetic erosion of traditional varieties Decline of aboriginal populations has led to the loss of unique varieties of banana and other crops In Polynesia for example introduced diseases triggered a rapid decline of the human population on Tahiti from an estimated 140000 at time of contact with Europeans to fewer than 5000 within three generations Population thinning also occurred in some other parts of the Society Islands such as Moorea where forestcovered temple sites known locally as maraes attest to formerly dense farming communities in the interior valleys and along the coasts History of the Export Banana Business Carl B Frank started the first business dedicated to importing bananas to the US in 1866 Before that time bananas were rarely encountered in US markets and were mostly a curiosity item Mr Frank s business was located in New York and he imported bananas from Panama By 1899 however over 100 firms in the US were importing bananas One of the main quotplayersquot in the banana business has been the United Fruit Company now Chiquita brands which was founded in 1899 The United Fruit Company acquired land for banana production in the Dominican Republic Cuba Honduras Guatemala Panama Jamaica and Colombia The company also operated a eet of ships to take the bananas to the US and Europe In certain Central American countries especially Guatemala Honduras and Nicaragua banana corporations particularly United Fruit often dominated national politics in those countries Such countries have been referred to as Banana Republics Woody Allen starred in a film Bananas which pokes fun at such governments From the 1860s to 1900 bananas traveled as deck cargo on sail ships or by the 1870s as deck cargo on steamships Around 1900 steamships with refrigerator holds were introduced thereby reducing spoilage Modern Cultivars and Disease Vulnerability Only a handful of cultivars dominate the banana export trade There are many more commercial labels for bananas than there are commercial varieties Export varieties are relatively thickskinned are cut when still green and after being dunked in a chemical bath to retard browning caused by fungi and bacteria are placed in plasticlined cardboard boxes In the cargo hold of ships the bananas are chilled and kept ventilated in order to dispel ethylene gas that is given off by ripening fruits and promotes ripening The bananas arrive at their destination port still green Until the early 1960s the Gros Michel variety dominated the banana export industry Gros Michel known by various names in different regions originated in Southeast Asia and was introduced to Martinique in the early 1800s and Jamaica around 183 5 Gros Michel is now grown in limited quantities and then only for local use The demise of Gros Michel in the 1960s was triggered by Panama disease caused by at least four races of F usarium oxysporum f cubense Fungicide applications against this variable pathogen are ineffective The Cavendish group of bananas appeared to be the answer to Panama disease because they are resistant The Cavendish group also travels well and is high yielding Cavendish bananas are a closely related group of cultivars all derived from a tall parent Pisang masak hijau from Southeast Asia The principal commercial cultivars of the Cavendish group are Dwarf Cavendish and Giant Cavendish The narrow genetic base of export bananas renders them particularly susceptible to catastrophic outbreaks of disease Commercial banana plantations are also especially vulnerable to the rapid spread of diseases and pests because the plants are planted closely together usually between 1600 to 2000 banana plants per hectare although densities reach as high as 4400 plantshectare Breeding Programs and Challenges The rst banana breeding programs began in 1922 at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad and at the Banana Research Station in Jamaica The United Fruit Company launched a banana breeding project at La Lima Honduras in 1959 Wisely the company initiated the program by rst sponsoring a germplasm collecting trip to centers of banana diversity in Southeast Asia and the Paci c Today the banana industry appears to be on the eve of another major varietal turnover at least as dramatic as the demise of Gros Michel as a commercial variety because of the rapid spread of Panama disease in the late 19505 and early 19605 Black Si gatoka a devastating leaf disease caused by another fungus Mycosphaerella jiensis is the culprit this time Black Sigatoka was rst detected in the Sigatoka Valley of Fiji in 1963 and reached Zambia by 1973 and Gabon by 1979 and is now widespread in banana growing areas of Africa including Uganda where bananas are one of the basic staples The virulent new pathogen began damaging banana plantations in Honduras in 1972 and reached Costa Rica in 1980 By 1981 black Sigatoka had spread south to Colombia and Venezuela Gros Michel and the Cavendish group of bananas are highly susceptible to black Sigatoka Many traditional bananas and some plantains are also vulnerable to infestations of black Sigatoka For example black Sigatoka is drastically reducing the number of banana trees around Kampala Uganda an area known for its diversity of cultivars As might be eXpected the price of bananas is climbing in Uganda a worrisome trend considering the importance of bananas in the regional diet Chemical control for black Sigatoka is expensive In Central America and Colombia fungicides need to be applied up to 45 times a year to control the disease The steep rise in banana prices in the 19905 in US stores is partly a re ection of the increased spraying costs to control black Sigatoka To help combat the global threat of black Sigatoka scientists are busy screening Musa germplasm for resistance to the disease Some resistance found in wild species and some cooking bananas but they also have undesirable traits from an agronomic and marketing viewpoint A prototype banana variety has been genetically engineered to resist black sigatoka in a Belgian laboratory but countries are reluctant to plant it because of controversies surround GM foods The Wall Street Journal 26 December 2002 p One scientist Dr Philip Rowe is trying to nd a successor to the Cavendish banana and he feels he has at least a partial answer Gold nger Gold nger is a hybrid of bananas from Brazil and Southeast Asia WSJ 10 April 1995 p 1 Gold nger took years to develop because of dif culty of obtaining viable seed from crosspollinated bananas Dr Rowe used to work for the United Fruit Company now Chiquita but now works for a Honduran agricultural research foundation Gold nger is resistant to a number of diseases and pests but has met with resistance by the two main banana corporations exporting to North America Dole and Chiquita Reluctance to take on Gold nger stems from the judgement that it is not an acceptable dessert banana it is considered by the companies to be too acidic and too starchy The Search for Novelty Consumers are apparently willing to try new banana varieties and some farmers are responding to emerging market opportunities For example one family farm called Seaside Banana Gardens located 12 miles from Santa Barbara California has 50 varieties of banana planted on just 11 acres New York Times 5 April 1995 p B6 The varieties produced on this farm include such tempting selections as Cardaba with salmoncolored esh Ladyfinger with a hint of strawberry avor Jamaican Red goldred color and complex avor Blue Java creamy texture especially good for ice cream Ae Ae from Hawaii has green and white stripes Manzano has a crunchy texture and tastes like an apple when raw and pineapple when cooked Harry and David a mailorder catalogue company based in Medford Oregon tel 800 547 3033 offers Ruby Creme Bananas at 2195 for 2 lbs 12 oz net weight Summer 1998 catalogue considerably more than regular bananas in a supermarkets about 10 times more expensive The Ruby Cremes look a bit like Fe i bananas and are described in Harry and David s Summer 1998 catalogue thus quotOur Ruby Cremes have a complex character a delicate avor ad a certain je ne sais quoi you must experience rst hand We offer only 20 the pick of the crop tended by hand then rushed fresh and wonderful to anyone who appreciates the best life has to offerquot This farm is exploiting a niche market for novel bananas they sell for 3715 a pound much more than the standard issue Cavendish The farm ships mail orders and is located at 6823 Santa Barbara Avenue Ventura CA 93001 telephone is 805 643 4061 Another company selling unusual varieties of banana is Going Bananas going bananascom based in Homestead Florida it has 75 varieties that can be order online To cater to growers supplying niche markets for novelty bananas several companies sell a diverse array of banana plants online including Bananaplantscom This company sells such varieties as Ice Cream Banana Cardaba from the Philippines Pisang Raja Rajapuri Red Iholena African Rhinohom which produces 3 lb bananas Apple Banana Goldfinger French Horn Monkey Finger and the Rose Banana Breadfruit The starchy fruits usually weigh between 15 kilograms The cannon ballsized fruits are baked roasted boiled steamed or fried Breadfruit is an important food in parts of the tropical Pacific Some Polynesians preserve surplus fruits by burying them in pits Can be stored thus for a year a food security measure In pits the breadfruit ferments and the paste is baked before eating Breadfruit chips are now a common snack food in the Pacific The carbohydraterich fruits are contain significant amounts of thiamine ribo avin nicotinamide and vitamin C One indication of the importance of breadfruit to the robust inhabitants of the Society Islands is the impressive number of times the tree or its fruit appear in the sensuous paintings of Paul Gauguin Breadfruit is also featured on French Polynesia s twentyfranc coin 21 PowerPoint 5 Breadfruit Diffusion Originated in New Guinea As people moved out from New Guinea and Southeast Asia to colonize the Paci c between 2000 BC and 800 AD breadfruit went with them Polynesian voyagers took suckers from roots as well as seeds Important crop to take because only Pandanus screwpine and cocount available as signi cant plant food sources in Polynesia before the arrival of people Polynesians also took other vegetatively reproduced crops such as banana and taro In Polynesia perennial tree crops are the major sources of calories Breadfruit was the centerpiece in the infamous mutiny of the HMS Bounty In 1789 King George III dispatched Captain Bligh to Tahiti to secure breadfruit trees for British possessions in the Caribbean where the trees would serve as an abundant and cheap source of food for slaves But on the return voyage unrest grew among the deckhands in part because precious freshwater on board was being used to keep a thousand young breadfruit trees alive One of the rst acts the rebellious crew performed after taking control of the Bounty was to toss the breadfruit trees overboard The crew returned to Tahiti to pick up supplies and wives and then spent their eXile in Pitcairn a desolate island in the Paci c where the ship was set re and sunk Bligh survived several weeks in a longboat after being cast adrift in the Paci c He eventually returned to England In 1997 39 descendants of the mutineers were still living on Pitcairn Island and they were the subjects of a recent book Serpent in Paradise by Dea Birkett Anchor Books New York 1997 Three Hollywood lms made about this adventure 1 Mutiny on the Bounty 1935 in black and white starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable 2 Mutiny on the Bounty 1962 starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher the mutining rst of cer Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh and Richard Harris as one of the crew members Excellent lm with strong story line involving breadfruit After lming Marlon Brando marries the Tahitian Princess and has several children by her He buys an island in the Society Island chain near Tahiti The Bounty 1984 starring Anthony Hopkins as Captain Bligh Depicts the tossing of breadfruit seedlings overboard but does not otherwise mention breadfruit much nor the water rationing on board that contributed to mutiny U 22 Bligh s second attempt to bring breadfruit to the New World succeeded In 1792 young breadfruit trees were gathered on Tahiti and Timor and 333 of them planted in the St Vincent Botanic Garden the earliest botanic garden established by colonial powers in the New World A further 347 young breadfruit trees were unloaded at Port Royal Jamaica Film 1 Mutiny on the Bounty 1962 with Marlon Brando Trevor Howard and Richard Harris NonFood Uses of Breadfruit In the Society Islands breadfruit is used for a wide variety of medicinal purposes including treatments for coughs bronchitis asthma and ear problems In Polynesia and Micronesia the lateX is used for caulking boats and in some parts of breadfruit s range the white sap is used in the preparation of sticky mixtures to trap birds Breadfruit39s Origin and Near Relatives The origins of breadfruit are unclear but it probably arose by spontaneous hybridization among two or more wild species of Artocarpus possibly in New Guinea Breadfruit is found wild in swamp forests bordering rivers of New Guinea Wild breadfruit trees in the forests of New Guinea are often individually owned and cared for by villagers Traditional Selections and Variation Some varieties produce fruit for up to five months whereas others produce fruit all year round Selection has been strong for seedless forms and these are propagated by planting suckers cut from the extensive surface roots Seeded forms are propagated from seed or can be cloned by planting suckers The roasted seeds provide a nutritious snack Several hundred varieties of breadfruit are grown throughout the humid tropics with the greatest diversity occurring in the Pacific Competition from other crops and foodstuffs is prompting the decline of breadfruit in some parts of its range especially the increasing habit of eating bread made from imported wheat our J ackf ruit 23 Jackfruit Artocarpus heterophyllus is a near relative of breadfruit Artocarpus altilis Whereas breadfruit originated in New Guinea wild populations of jackfruit are found in the tropical forests of the Western Ghats in southwestern India These highland forests are highly endangered and have largely been cleared for agriculture Jackfruit has been introduced in many tropical regions for its fruit which typically is the size of a basketball Jackfruit bears starchy fruits on the trunk and large branches cauli ory rather than at the end of branches Fruits vary considerably in shape and external color brown to green because they are backyard trees grown from seeds rather than commercial clones and therefore are genetically diverse PowerPoint 6 Jackfruit Jackfruit is eaten in many forms Locally as fresh fruit The fruits do not travel well for long distances although growers in southern Florida are sending some fresh fruit to markets in New York by truck As chips eg Mit Say Kho Jack Fruit Chips from Vietnam sold in ethnic food stores in the USA As a trail miX Frieda s in Los Angeles also sells dried slices ofjackfruit for snacks As canned fruit in syrup In the 1990s some growers in Dade County in southern Florida started growing jackfruit for the US market Indian immigrants particularly have generated a niche market for this fruit in the US Commercial growers of jackfruit in southern Florida can places orders for planting stock with Garden of Delights in Davie Florida which sells jackfruit trees for commercial growers online gardenofdelightscom Fairchild Gardens Miami which stocks 20 jackfruit varieties BEVERAGES AND CANDY Coffee 24 Several species of the genus Co ea have been domesticated The two most important are arabica coffee and robusta coffee Arabica coffee Co ea arabica Provides the besttasting coffee Occurs wild in highland parts of SW Ethiopia Boma Plateau of SE Sudan and extreme northern Kenya It is found in forest in a relatively narrow altitudinal belt between l370l830 m Only about 400000 ha of forest containing wild coffee were left in Ethiopia in mid1980s and the habitat for wild arabica coffee continues to shrink Robusta coffee Co ea canephora Robusta coffee is not as good as arabica coffee in terms of quality but it is adapted to the lowland tropics and is used in blends Robusta coffee is found in cheaper coffees particularly instant freezedried or powdered coffee Occurs wild in Central Africa in the Congo River Basin History of coffee People in the area of origin of coffee did not drink coffee Rather they chewed the leaves for its stimulant properties caffeine a parallel to the situation in the Andes where indigenous peoples have chewed coca leaves for millennia People in the area of arabica coffee s native range also harvested the berries to make fresh juice or fermented the juice to make wine Arabs developed coffee into a hot beverage by roasting the beans This occurred around 1300 in Yemen Coffee was and still is esteemed for its ability to augment mental powers For thousands of years arabica coffee was gathered in the wild and from home gardens in its area of origin A few small commercial plantings of coffee were established in Yemen in the 14th and 15th centuries on terraces with irrigation but it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that coffee was planted extensively Ironically it was European settlers especially from Britain that established coffee as a commercial crop in its home continent Africa In fact the first commercial plantings of coffee in Africa were in central and southern Kenya just south of the natural range of coffee The drama of early pioneer life of European settlers who adopted coffee as their main cash crop has been captured in books and film 25 The trials and tribulations of English settlers planting coffee in Kenya in the early part of this century has been described in the book Flame Trees of T hika which has also been made into a film carried by PBS television in the US in the 1980s Film 2 Out of Africa 1985 with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford Emergence of Cafes Venetians brought coffee to Europe Romans began drinking coffee around 1600 previously they drank tea from herbs cider and fruitjuices No ea ee latte or espresso in Italy before 1625 Coffee houses or cafes in Europe were initially the gathering place for upper classes France s first coffee house was established in the port of Marseilles in 1671 which obtained its coffee bean shipments from Alexandria Egypt The first cafe in Paris was established in 1672 The Cafe Proeope in Paris has been operating continuously on the Rue de l Ancienne Comedie since 1686 Customers of Cafe Proeope have included Benjamin Franklin Voltaire Robespierre Marat Napoleon Bonaparte Hugo Rousseau Balzac In England a Lebanese entrepreneur opened the first coffee house in the country at the Angel Inn in OXford in 1650 and others soon followed in OXford Tillyard s coffee house OXford was instrumental in the formation of the Royal Society equivalent to the National Academy of Sciences in the US London s first coffee house established in 1652 Two coffee houses in Change Alley Comhill London gave birth to the Stock Exchange A handbill printed in London in 1652 proclaimed that coffee quotQuickens the spirits and makes the heart litesomeis good against sore eyesexcellent to prevent and cure the dropsy gout and scurvyquot The term tipping originated in a coffee house 26 At the Turks Head coffee house Westminster London a box was marked TIP To Insure Promptness British coffee houses frequented by such luminaries as Milton author of Paradise Lost Sir Joshua Reynolds Adam Smith political economist Religious communities in some regions were opposed to the emergence of coffee houses In Turkey for example Muslim leaders tried to suppress the opening of coffee house because they were thought to compete with attendance at Mosques In Italy some Catholics were opposed to the drink but Pope Clement VIII 1592 1605 tried and liked coffee and blessed it as a Christian drink The Pope argued that there was no reason to let coffee trade fall into the hands of the infidels Opposition in London came from tavern owners who did not like the competition In London some women became disturbed at the amount of time their husbands were spending in coffee houses In England women were excluded from coffee houses except as servers The petition drawn up by women in London in 1674 read as follows quotThe Women s Petition against coffee representing to public consideration the Grand inconveniences accruing to their sex from the excessive use of that drying enfeebling liquorquot The men s response in London in 1674 quotThe Mens Answer to the Womens Petition against coffee vindicating their own performances and the virtues of their liquor from the undeserved aspersions latest cast upon 27 them in their Scandalous Pamphletquot Powerpoint 7 Coffee Contemporary Coffee Drinking Scene In Syria coffee avored with cardamom a perennial herb native of India In MeXico coffee is often avored with cinnamon In Britain coffee bars not coffee houses revived after 1950 with the introduction of espresso machines mostly made by Gaggia in Italy Espresso machines force nearly boiling water through ground darkroasted coffee They also contain a small narrow pipe that conducts steam used in foaming milk Espresso coffee has been catching on in North America since the 1980s In the US espresso coffee bars have really taken off in the last twenty years Witness for example the emergence of Starbucks based in Seattle Washington a major corporation which has gone nationwide including Orlando airport and has recently opened up coffee bars abroad such as in London Minneapolisbased Caribou Co ee is the second largest coffeehouse chain in the US Caribou eo ee wwwcariboucoffeecom was founded in 1992 Caribou s sales pitch Life is short Stay awake for it Several bookstore chains such as Barnes and Nobles and Border now feature espresso coffee bars in their stores Main kind of coffees served in coffee bars 0 Espresso is very strong black coffee 0 Cappuccino is espresso coffee with frothy white with milk named after the white habits of Capuchin monks The frothy milk is produced by passing steam through milk Sometimes topped with powdered chocolate or cinnamon Ca e Latte is espresso coffee with warm milk Frappueeino cold coffee and milk avored with vanilla Starbucks sells a bottled version in food stores Varieties Below were some coffees for sale in 1996 at Swing s coffee house established in 1916 near the White House in Washington DC Variety Description lb Jamaican Blue Medium roast wonderful body world s nes 3500 Mountain Hawaiian Kona Medium roast liaht body striking character 1500 28 aromatic Ethiopian Medium roast very distinguished moderate body 770 Yergacheffe Ethiopian Mocha Medium roast fruity characteristics acidic tones 770 Harrar Kenya AA City roast very rich hearty complex and delicate 770 winey undertones Sumatra Mandheling City roast very developed long nish low acid 770 La Cuesta Nicaragua City roast exclusive light body distinguished 770 Costa Rican Tarrazu City roast well balanced with exceptional avor 690 Mexican Altura City roast boasts a rich and wellbalanced avor 690 clean nish Note City roast means a darker roast than medium Bamie s Florida mail order catalogue included the following coffees Variety Description lb Jamaican Blue Mountain Full body low acidity mellow 4999 Hawaiian Kona Liampht body medium acidity sweet 2499 Puerto Rican Yauco Selecto Full body medium acidity rich 1699 Ethiopian Yergacheffe Medium body spicy acidity sweet 1099 Costa Rican Tres Rios Bella Full body high acidity ne aroma 999 Vista Haitian Bleu Full body low acidity slightly sweet 999 Kenya AA Full body sharp acidity slightly sweet 999 Tanzanian Peaberry Medium body sharp acidity avorful 999 Brazilian South Minas Mocha Light body medium acidity light cup 999 Lavado Sumatra Mandheling Heavy body dry acidity intense avor 999 Java Kalistat Estate Full body low acidity creamy aftertaste 999 Papua New Guinea Full body medium acidity sweet 999 Mocha Java Full body nice balance of acidity amp aroma 999 Colombian Bucaraamanga Full body medium acidity mild avor 899 Note Body refers to quotthe strength and viscosity of the coffee in the mouth Body is described in such terms as heavy full medium or lightquot Acidity is quotthe coffee s burst of avor or its snap in the mouth mostly on the sides of the tongue Acidity is described in such terms as soft bright winey and inten sequot Aroma is quotthe enticing bouquet released by freshlyground and brewed coffee Aroma is described as sweet fragrant rich bold and mellowquot 29 Some of the premium coffees 0 Blue Mountain Jamaica limestone soils Pure Blue Mountain coffee sells for 50lb and is exported to only 6 countries Kona Hawaii volcanic soils Mocha named after a former port in Yemen This coffee is famous for the chocolate nuance to its avor Mocha was cut off from the Red Sea by a sandbar in early 1800s Mocha now known as Al Mukha Many companies are now selling roasted and ground beans online such as CoffeeAMcom Woodstock Georgia Coffee Bean Corral Phoenix Arizona Cupper s Coffee Company Salt Lake City EJavacom Auburn California FreshCoffeeNowcom Atlanta Gevaliacom Gavle Sweden Godiva Illy Naples Italy Peet s Coffee and Tea Berkeley California Starbucks Seattle Special Role of Botanic Gardens The Amsterdam Botanic Garden now part of the University of Amsterdam received just two coffee plants from Java in 1706 Some seedlings from the Amsterdam Botanic Garden were also sent to the Jardin des Plantes Paris in 1714 From the Jardin des Plantes in Paris coffee seedlings were sent to Martinique in 1720 but only 1 survived thejoumey That one seedling started the coffee industry on Martinique From Martinique progeny sent to Jamaica in 1730 leading to development of Blue Mountain coffee and Haiti then SaintDomingue about the same time Also from Martinique coffee seedlings sent to many tropical American countries From Amsterdam seedlings from those plants were sent to Dutch Guiana now Surinam around 1713 The Edinburgh Botanic Garden obtained coffee seedlings from Amsterdam and sent seedlings to Malawi then Nyasaland in 1878 Coffee Producing Areas Best growing areas for coffee are tropical mountains but not at high altitudes where hard frosts occur with fertile soils derived from volcanic ash or lava or from limestone Brazil is the biggest producer Brazil accounts for 30 of coffee traded on world market Most of the coffee in Brazil is grown in Sao Paulo State at an elevation of 1000 meters on rich alf1sols term roxa derived from weathered basalt Other main producing state in Brazil is Parana Much of the early wealth of Sao Paulo generated on large coffee estates fazendas starting in the late 1700s Santos is the main eXport port for coffee produced in Brazil Many of the coffee growing areas of Brazil are prone to frost damage Major freezes such as in 1974 can cause a jump in the world price of coffee because Brazil is such a large producer Coffee the single most important source of legal foreign exchange for Colombia El Salvador Uganda Burundi Rwanda Ethiopia The Growing Market for Sustainable Coffees Sustainable coffees is a trade name for organic shade and fair trade coffees 0 Organic means grown without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides o Shade means coffee grown under shade trees such as Gliricidia which in addition to enriching the soil with nitrogen because many of the shade trees are legumes and fix nitrogen through symbiotic Rhizobium bacteria provide habitat for some birds and other animals Shade coffee is thus regarded as biodiversityfriendly Traditionally much of the coffee grown in central America and Colombia has been under leguminous shade trees that help f1X nitrogen and thereby enrich the soils The trees have also provided habitat for wildlife including migrating birds from North American that spend the winter in tropical climates Now many coffee producers are moving to opensun coffee production because yields are higher especially when fertilizers are used Some specialty coffees now advertise themselves as Bird Friendly Coffee hoping to attract customers concerned with the environmental impacts of their consumption habits Fair trade means coffee grown by small farmers organized in cooperatives that are guaranteed a minimum contract price 31 Yields may be lower with sustainable coffees or the cost of production higher but they fetch a premium price in the market The market for sustainable coffees globally was worth about US500 million in 2001 but is growing Breeding Challenges and Genetic Resources Latin American coffee plantations are based on few introductions and Asian coffee plantations also rest on a narrow genetic base Coffee rust caused by a fungus Hemileia vastatrix is the no 1 disease problem Coffee rust wiped out commercial coffee production on Sri Lanka after it appeared in 1869 Coffee rust reached Brazil in 1970 Various theories as to how it got to Brazil 1 Inadvertently on a VARIG ight from Lagos to Rio de Janeiro Wind dispersal of spores Introduction on illegally introduced breeding material Plot to undercut Brazilian coffee production hWN By 1983 coffee rust had reached Colombia and Panama Sources of resistance to coffee rust Ethiopian coffee of particular interest But Ethiopia is not releasing coffee germplasm Illustrates the southsouth tug of war over genes rather than a NorthSouth con ict A major problem with resistance breeding for coffee rust is that at least 25 races identified by early 1970s and by 1986 33 races identified In SW Ethiopia the genepool of wild populations of arabica coffee are shrinking due to o Deforestation to create more space for crops a result of population pressure 0 Natural and escaped manmade f1res especially during El Ni o years when the climate is drier as in 1998 Globally coffee is a 55 billion a year business so a lot rests on the long term safety of coffee s genetic resources Checklist of place names for 1st map quiz Cities Amsterdam Paris Santos Brazil Islands Canary Islands Cuba Dominican Republic Fiji Jamaica Java Madagascar Martinique New Guinea Puerto Rico Tahiti Countries Brazil Burundi Colombia Costa Rica El Salvador Ethiopia Guatemala Honduras Jamaica Kenya Nicaragua Rwanda Uganda Venezuela Yemen Geography of Crop Plants Geo 3315 Fall 2008 Lecture Notes Part 3 Nigel J H Smith Department of Geography University of Florida Gainesville FL 326117315 Tel 392 0494 FRUITS OF THE FOREST Avocado Avocado was domesticated several thousand years ago in Central America Wild avocado occurs in tropical forest and ranges from Mexico to northwest Colombia As in the case of several crops whose progenitors have an extensive distribution avocado was probably domesticated in several parts of its ecologically diverse range The early emergence of three distinct races Mexican Guatemalan and West Indian of cultivated avocado supports the idea that avocado was brought into cultivation from genetically diverse and widely separated wild populations In Spanishspeaking Latin America avocado is generally known as aguacate except in Peru where it is called palta In Brazil avocado is known as abacate Botanical Races 0f Avocado Three botanical races of cultivated avocado are recognized l The Mexican race var drymifolia arose in highland Mexico and is characterized by small black or green fruits with thin shiny skins Avocados of the Mexican race are the richest in calories per gram of fruit with as much as 30 percent oil content Mexican avocados are also the most cold tolerant 2 The Guatemalan form var guatemalensis also arose in the highlands of Central America but further south and generally at a lower elevation than the Mexican race Guatemalan avocados have thick woody skins Guatemalan avocados are generally round like softballs or small cannonballs and their oil content is in the 815 range The larger West Indian form var americana occurs in lowland forests of Central America and northwestern Colombia A slender band of forest along the Paci c plain of Central America from Guatemala to Costa Rica is the likely center of origin for the West Indian avocado West Indian avocados are generally larger than the other races weighing up to 15 kilograms and have the lowest oil content of all avocados with only 310 oil The skins of West Indian avocados are smooth shiny green U PowerPoint 13 Avocado


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