Download Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany by Robert C. Clarke, Mark D. Merlin PDF

By Robert C. Clarke, Mark D. Merlin

Hashish: Evolution and Ethnobotany is a finished, interdisciplinary exploration of the ordinary origins and early evolution of this recognized plant, highlighting its old position within the improvement of human societies. hashish has lengthy been prized for the powerful and sturdy fiber in its stalks, its fit to be eaten and oil-rich seeds, and the psychoactive and medicinal compounds produced via its girl plants. The culturally important and sometimes irreplaceable items derived from hashish deeply motivated the economic, scientific, ritual, and spiritual practices of cultures in the course of the a while, and human wish for those commodities directed the evolution of the plant towards its modern forms. As curiosity in hashish grows and public debate over its many makes use of rises, this ebook can assist us comprehend why humanity maintains to depend upon this plant and adapts it to fit our wishes.

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Example text

Conversely, because a plant maintains its spontaneous growth in an area does not necessarily mean that it is indigenous to that region; as an introduced species, it might, in fact, have found a niche favorable for its continued proliferation and become naturalized and even invasive. For example, Cannabis sativa or narrow-leaf hemp (NLH) is found today growing as a weed along streams, drainage ditches, and in farm fields across temperate continental areas of North America where it was introduced from Europe in the seventeenth century.

Its utilization, however, was especially extensive in the Altai Mountains, and he surmised that it was there that wild hemp could have been a likely candidate for cultivation near settled populations. Vavilov observed what may have been a vestige of ancient hunter-­gatherer (by then pastoralist) use of Cannabis, collecting wild hemp fiber in the mountains at the beginning of autumn before moving into lower valleys to avoid the cold winter. Similarly, the Nu, an ethnic minority of part-­time pastoralists living in Yunnan province, China, will sow hemp seeds along ridges in early summer while grazing their livestock and leave the crop unattended until they return in autumn to collect winter fodder, when they thresh the hemp seeds; strip off the bark; and haul it back to town for processing, spinning, and weaving (Clarke 1996, personal observations).

What are the environmental conditions in which it grows naturally without human help? Can we realistically understand how Cannabis evolved? And if so, where and how did it evolve? To answer these questions we must investigate the basic life cycle and ecological requirements of Cannabis. After understanding the botany and ecology of Cannabis, including an identification of its closest botanical relatives, an analysis of the processes through which it reproduces, and an application of these parameters to ancient vegetation and climate reconstructions, then we can begin to comprehend its geographical and evolutionary origins (see Chapter 12 for discussions of climate reconstruction, refugia, and species formation).

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