Exploring the origins of the apple

This seems to fit with GAE.


@Patrick, I’ve often wondered at what point in the history of fruit and roses did humans realize that they could have even more control over plant features by grafting instead of relying solely on the next generation of seeds.

One wonders how the very first such innovator decided to do such a strange “operation” on a woody stem.

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Great paper, Patrick. I found this interesting:

The domestication of woody species that do not root easily from cuttings,
such as apples, pears and plums, did not come until the discovery of
grafting, at least several thousand years later, about the beginning of the
first millennium BCE. Thus, grafting is a pivotal technology in the
history of temperate fruits and probably influenced their movement
from Central Asia to Europe (Juniper and Maberly 2006). However,
when and where detached scion grafting, which made possible the
domestication of a new range of fruit trees, was invented is not clear.

I wonder what makes fruit tree twig cuttings less able to take root. My first guess would be a lower level necessary plant auxins for stimulating root growth—but I’m not a botanist and I could be entirely wrong about this.

I would love to know what was going on in the brain of the person who first experimented with grafting some three thousand years ago. [And it is interesting that even horticulturalists in an academic paper use the BCE standard in their discussion.] I wonder what material (if any) that ancient innovator used to help protect the grafting junction from moisture/sap loss. I have limited experience with grafting but I’ll take a wild guess and speculate that he or she used some kind of cloth with a waxy substance dabbed on it. Perhaps I’ll find a description of likely methodologies as I read further in the article.

Speaking of propagation by cuttings, various missionary friends have told me about native peoples in their communities creating fences for their animals by simply cutting a bunch of branches/twigs from the rain forest and “stabbing” them into the ground where they need a dense fence of woody growth. Their soils tend to remain moist (for some if not all of the year) and that is enough to stimulate the cuttings to take root and quickly create a thick barrier. In some areas they can do this with thorny species, which after a year or so make a formidable barrier which even discourages humans from encroaching.

[In ancient times I experimented with plant auxins as my entry in my elementary school science fair. I used a pressure cooker and my clunky homemade centrifuge to extract the plant auxin Indole-3-acetic acid from coconut milk. Whenever the topic of plant auxins arises, that science project is still the first thought which comes to mind.]

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