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Cuttings from earliest domesticated plants carried by migrants

Cuttings from the earliest domesticated plants were carried by migrants and traders west to Hawaii and other Pacific islands. The stamp collector finds evidence of this migration on many stamps including Tonga's famous banana shaped self-adhesives (fig. 10) and a stamp from the island legends series from Gilbert and Ellice Islands featuring Funafuti, "the banana island" as well as a 1976 issue from Tuvalu (fig. 11). It is possible that bananas travelled as far as western South America via this route.

They also travelled east around the rim of the Indian Ocean as far as Africa. Antonius Musa, the personal physician to Roman emperor Octavius Augustus, was credited for promoting the cultivation of the unusual African fruit from 63 to 14 B.C. Musa, the plant group which includes bananas and plantain may have been named after him although many other sources suggest the name is derived from the Arabic name for the fruit, mauz (fig. 12).

Portuguese sailors exploring the West African coast brought bananas to Europe in the early fifteenth century and, subsequently, to Brazil. The word "banana," first found in print in the seventeenth century, seems to have originated with the Guinean word banema. The banana was carried by sailors to the Canary Islands and then to the West Indies and Central America with Spanish missionary Tomas de Berlanga (fig. 13). The banana plant provided shade for other plantation crops as well as food for the slaves who tended those plantations. Bananas are now cultivated on every continent except Antarctica and eaten in many places where they cannot be grown.

Painted Stork Nests

Painted Stork Nests

Painted Stork Nests

Painted Stork Nests

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© Derrick Grose, 2021