Useful Plants Plants Adapted For the Food of Man

Jan 27, 2013 by

Useful Plants Plants Adapted For the Food of Man by Thomas Nelson & Sons was first published in 1870 and is a clear window into what was known (and unknown) about plan foods in the late 19th century.

Here are a few paragraphs for your pleasure:

“Frederick asks me whether wheat, and barley, and oats, grow all over the world. No, I answer ; some countries are unsuited for the growth of these cereal grasses, which will only endure a certain degree of heat or cold. For instance, they will not flourish on the frost- bound shores of the Polar Sea, nor on the banks of the steaming rivers that wind their way through Tropical forests. But consider now the mercy and the wisdom of God : In some form or other corn grows everywhere. From the bleak and barren wastes of Lapland to the sun-scorched plains of Central India, from the great rolling grassy prairies of North America to the muddy swamps of China, from the green valleys of England and the open straths of Scotland to the hills and glens of the West Indian Islands, from the lofty table-lands of the mighty Himalaya to the sunny levels of the shore of the Atlantic, corn, in some form or other, may be successfully cultivated.

The Scotch or English emigrant has carried with him across the seas the seeds of wheat and barley and oats ; and now in Canada, and Australia, and New Zealand leagues upon leagues of fertile land are enriched with smiling harvests. But in those hot Tropical countries where the sun has a power unknown in our colder lands, and where periods of excessive heat, which scorch and wither every green thing, are followed by weeks of heavy rain, we find another cereal flourishing, rice, which, for the largest proportion of mankind, forms the principal article of food. In that grand New World which was made known to Europe by the genius of Columbus, acereal called maize, or Indian corn, blooms over its wide plains and in its pleasant valleys.”

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