Advertisement

Economic Botany

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 297–313 | Cite as

Historical overview on domesticated plants in China with special emphasis on the Cucurbitaceae

  • Terrence W. Walters
Article

Abstract

Cultivation of plants in northern China began at an early date. A number of domesticates were derived from native species, and others were introduced from southeastern Asia. Many vegetable species are included in myths and stories of ancient China. These traditional stories, as well as ancient agricultural and medicinal books, often mention cultivated members of the Cucurbitaceae. Twelve genera and 18 species of cucurbits are currently under cultivation in China. A number of them appear to be endemic to Indochina, while others were introduced from Western Asia and the New World. A recent trip to China and a survey of Chinese literature indicated that many cucurbits are consumed in the immature state as vegetables, some are eaten as fruits, and various species are used for medicine and a variety of other purposes.

Keywords

Melon Economic Botany Chinese Culture Mature Fruit Immature Fruit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Zusammenfassung

Resumen histórico de las plantas domésticas de la China con énfasis en las Cucurbitaceae. El cultivo de las plantas comenzó en una edad temprana en el norte de China. Varias plantas domésticas fueron derivadas de especies nativas, mientras que otras fueran introducidas desde el sudeste de Asia. Las historias y los mitos de la China antiqua cuentan de diversas especies vegetales. Estos relatos tradicionales, tanto como los viejos libros de las agricultura y medicina, frecuentemente mencionan los miembros cultivados de las Cucurbitaceae. Hoy en día se cultivan doce géneros y dieciocho especies de las familia en la China. Algunas Cucurbitaceae parecen ser endémicos de la Indochina, mientras que otras fueron introducidas desde el oeste de Asia y del Nuevo Mundo. Un viaje reciente a la China y un estudio de la literatura China indicaron que muchas Cucurbitaceae son consumidas en el estado inmaduro, algunas son comidas como frutas, y varias especies son utilizadas en medicina otros propósitos.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Aldwinckle, H. S., M. Iizuka, and D. H. VanSloten. 1986. Temperate fruit crop germplasm in China. FAO PI. Genet. Resources 68:35–41.Google Scholar
  2. Ames, O. 1939. Economic annuals and human cultures. Bot. Mus. Harvard University, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, E. N., and M. L. Anderson. 1977. Modern China: south. Pages 319–357in K. C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese culture: anthropological and historical perspectives. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  4. Blasdale, W. C. 1899. A description of some Chinese vegetable food materials. USDA Exp. Sta. Bull. 68.Google Scholar
  5. Burkill, J. H. 1935. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Crown Agents for the Colonies, London.Google Scholar
  6. Chang, K. C. 1968. The archaeology of ancient China. 2nd ed. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  7. —. 1970. The beginnings of agriculture in the Far East. Amer. Antiquity 35:175–184.Google Scholar
  8. —. 1977. Ancient China. Pages 25–52in K. C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese culture: anthropological and historical perspectives. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  9. Chen, C. S. 1970. The agricultural regions of China. Pages 2–17in M. Y. Nuttonson, ed., The agricultural regions of China. Amer. Inst. of Crop Ecol., Silver Spring, MD.Google Scholar
  10. Christie, A. 1968. Chinese mythology. Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited, London.Google Scholar
  11. Crook, F. W., and L. A. Bernstein. 1974. Agriculture in the United States and the People’s Republic of China, 1967–71. USDA Foreign Agric. Econ. Rep. 94.Google Scholar
  12. Dahlen, M., and K. Phillipps. 1983. A popular guide to Chinese vegetables. Crown Publ., New York.Google Scholar
  13. Decker-Walters, D. S., and T. W. Walters. 1988. 1987 germplasm collections of cultivated cucurbits from China and Hong Kong. Cucurbit Genet. Coop. Rep. 11:93–94.Google Scholar
  14. Degener, O. 1947. Flora Hawaiiensis. Book 5. Privately published, Honolulu.Google Scholar
  15. Girardot, N. J. 1983. Myth and meaning in early Taoism. Univ. California Press, Berkeley.Google Scholar
  16. Gorman, C. F. 1969. Hoabinhian: a pebble-tool complex with early plant associations in southeast Asia. Science 163:671–673.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. —. 1977. A priori models and Thai prehistory: a reconsideration of the beginnings of agriculture in southeastern Asia. Pages 321–355in C. A. Reed, ed., Origins of agriculture. Mouton Publ., Paris.Google Scholar
  18. Harlan, J. R. 1975. Crops and man. American Society of Agronomy; Crop Science Society of America, Madison, WI.Google Scholar
  19. Hedrick, U. P. 1972. Sturtevant’s edible plants of the world. Dover Publications, Inc., New York. Reprint of a work first published, asSturtevant’s notes on edible plants, by J. B. Lyon Co., Albany, in 1919.Google Scholar
  20. Heiser, C. B., {jrJr.} 1973. Variation in the bottle gourd. Pages 121–128in B. J. Meggers, E. S. Ayensu, and W. D. Duckworth, eds., Tropical forest ecosystems in Africa and South America: a comparative review. Smithsonian Inst. Press, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  21. —. 1979. The gourd book. Univ. Oklahoma Press, Norman.Google Scholar
  22. —. 1980. The species ofLuffa. The Gourd 10:6–7.Google Scholar
  23. Herklots, G. A. C. 1972. Vegetables in south-east Asia. George Allen and Unwin, London.Google Scholar
  24. Ho, P. T. 1955. The introduction of American food plants into China. Amer. Anthropol. 57:191–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. —. 1969. The loess and the origin of Chinese agriculture. Amer. Hist. Rev. 75:1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. —. 1975. The cradle of the east. Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  27. —. 1977. The indigenous origins of Chinese agriculture. Pages 413–484in C. A. Reed, ed., Origins of agriculture. Mouton Publ., Paris.Google Scholar
  28. Jeffrey, C. 1979. A new combination inThladiantha (Cucurbitaceae) for a Chinese medicinal plant. Kew Bull. 33:393–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. —. 1980. The Cucurbitaceae of eastern Asia. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England.Google Scholar
  30. Keng, H. 1974. Economic plants of ancient north China as mentioned in Shih Ching (Book of Poetry). Econ. Bot. 28:391–410.Google Scholar
  31. Kitamura, S. 1951. The origin of the cultivated plants of China. Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 14:81–86.Google Scholar
  32. Li, H. L. 1969. The vegetables of ancient China. Econ. Bot. 23:253–260.Google Scholar
  33. —. 1970. The origin of cultivated plants in southeast Asia. Econ. Bot. 24:3–19.Google Scholar
  34. Li, S. C. 1973. Chinese medicinal herbs. Georgetown Press, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  35. Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species plantarum. Impensis Laurentii Salvii, Holmiae.Google Scholar
  36. Mallick, M. F. R., and M. Masui. 1986. Origin, distribution and taxonomy of melons. Sci. Hort. 28:251–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Menninger, E. A. 1977. Edible nuts of the world. Horticultural Books, Stuart, FL.Google Scholar
  38. Merrill, E. D. 1935. A commentary on Loureiro’s “Flora Cochinchinensis.” Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc. 24:376–381.Google Scholar
  39. Morton, J. F. 1967. The balsam-pear: an edible, medicinal and toxic plant. Econ. Bot. 21:57–68.Google Scholar
  40. —. 1971. The wax gourd, a year round Florida vegetable with unusual keeping quality. Proc. Florida State Hort. Soc. 84:104–109.Google Scholar
  41. Mote, F. W. 1977. Yuan and Ming. Pages 193–258in K. C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese culture: anthropological and historical perspectives. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  42. National Academy of Sciences. 1975. Plant studies in the People’s Republic of China. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  43. National Geographic Society. 1982. Journey into China. National Geographic Society, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  44. Nelson, E. C. 1986. Notes on economic botany of China: Augustine Henry 1893. Boethius Press, Kilkenny, Ireland.Google Scholar
  45. Nuttonson, M. Y. 1963. The physical environment and agriculture of central and south China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan (Formosa). Amer. Inst. of Crop Ecol., Silver Spring, MD.Google Scholar
  46. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 1985. Agriculture in China: prospects for production and trade. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris.Google Scholar
  47. Organ, J. 1963. Gourds. Faber and Faber, London.Google Scholar
  48. Porterfield, W. M., {jrJr.} 1943. Luffas as they are used by the Chinese. J. New York Bot. Gard. 44: 134–138.Google Scholar
  49. —. 1951. The principal Chinese vegetable foods and food plants of Chinatown markets. Econ. Bot. 5:3–37.Google Scholar
  50. Purseglove, J. W. 1968. Tropical crops. Dicotyledons 1. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  51. Reed, C. A. 1977. Origins of agriculture: discussion and some conclusions. Pages 901–953in C. A. Reed, ed., Origins of agriculture. Mouton Publ., Paris.Google Scholar
  52. Samson, J. A. 1980. Tropical fruits. Longman Group Limited, New York.Google Scholar
  53. Sands, W. N. 1928. The bitter-cucumber of Paris. Malayan Agric. J. 16:32–39.Google Scholar
  54. Schafer, E. H. 1967. Ancient China. Time-Life Books, New York.Google Scholar
  55. —. 1977. T’ang. Pages 85–140in K. C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese culture: anthropological and historical perspectives. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  56. Shen, T. H. 1984. Agricultural resources of China. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  57. Shih, S. H. 1962. A preliminary survey of the book Ch’i Min Yao Shu: an agricultural encyclopedia of the 6th century. Science Press, Beijing.Google Scholar
  58. Spence, J. 1977. Ch’ing. Pages 259–294in K. C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese culture: anthropological and historical perspectives. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  59. Sprague, G. F. 1975. Agriculture in China. Science 188:549–555.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stover, L. E., and T. K. Stover. 1976. China: an anthropological perspective. Goodyear Publ. Co., Pacific Palisades, CA.Google Scholar
  61. Tregear, T. R. 1980. China: a geographical survey. John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  62. Walters, T. W., and D. S. Decker-Walters. 1988. Balsam-pear(Momordicachamntia,Cucurbitaceae). Econ. Bot. 42:286–288.Google Scholar
  63. Watson, W. 1969. Early cereal cultivation in China. Pages 397–402in P. J. Ucko and G. W. Dimbleby, eds., The domestication and exploitation of plants and animals. Gerald Duckworth and Co., London.Google Scholar
  64. Whitaker, T. W., and G. N. Davis. 1962. Cucurbits: botany, cultivation, and utilization. Interscience Publ., Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  65. Whitton, C. L. 1984. Agricultural statistics of the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1982. USDA Statist. Bull. 714.Google Scholar
  66. Yu, Y. S. 1977. Han. Pages 53–84in K. C. Chang, ed., Food in Chinese culture: anthropological and historical perspectives. Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, CT.Google Scholar
  67. Yuan, C. K. 1985. Index florae Yunnanensis. The People’s Publishing House, Yunnan.Google Scholar
  68. Zee, S. Y., and L. H. Hui. 1981. Hong Kong food plants. Urban Council, Hong Kong.Google Scholar
  69. Zeven, A. C, and J. M. J. deWet. 1982. Dictionary of cultivated plants and their regions of diversity. Centre for Agricultural Publishing and Documentation, Wageningen, Netherlands.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© New York Botanical Garden 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terrence W. Walters
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations