Thursday, September 01, 2022

Canoe Plants

Polynesians brought along plants on their explorations, so that wherever they might land, they could produce the foods and tools and medicines they would need to survive, and perhaps travel onward from there. The link lists 24 plants taken to Hawaii, many of them serving multiple purposes. One plant might just be used to make rope, and another produce food, medicine, materials for clothing and for building.

Of the 24, 11 were used for food, 1 for an intoxicant, 12 for building materials and tools, 8 for clothing and beauty, 15 for medicine, and 3 had religious use as well.

They varied from tall trees to small garden plants. Some went wild as invasives, and others required careful cultivation and, in Hawaii, are almost gone.


Assistant Village Idiot said...

They had it down to a science over time, and likely brought animals on their outriggers as well as they moved east. They may not have waited until they were overcrowded at one locale, but set out when there was too much competition for high status, not just survival. This is a new fun area of study in anthro. I recommend Patrick Wyman's Tides of History on the topic.

james said...

I'll check it out. The competition for status bit rings true.