Plants and people change, evolve, together. We take advantage of them. We use them for their sweetness, their fibers, and their ability to fill our bellies. The tractability of domesticated plants has allowed mankind to cover the globe and to live in habitats to which we are not adapted. Wherever we go, if we can plant a few staple crops, we can survive, even thrive. Plants have put clothes on our backs and roofs over our heads. They may yet solve our energy crisis, even our CO2 producing habit. We have a sweet deal going on here.
And they take advantage of us. In mankind, many plants have found the best of nursemaids. We spread them far and wide, until a single species such as corn covers million and millions of hectares. With the help of man, no ocean is too vast to cross, no habitat exists that can’t be made more suitable. For our chosen favorites, nothing is too much to ask. If we colonize new planets, we will take them there too. Some plants take advantage of us without anything in exchange. We don’t even notice as we spread them around or accidentally make habitats more to their liking. They have a sweet deal going on here.
This co-dependence between mankind and many plant species permeates life, modern and ancient. The gradations between ‘us using them’ and ‘them using us’ is what this blog is about. Welcome to my ramblings on ethnobotany, domestication, invasive species, and evolutionary ecology.