'Lost crops' could have fed as many as maize

I guess I’m not really sure what your assertion is. Could you clarify?

I’m just commenting on the discussion.

I’ve been harvesting Stinging Nettles in the spring and trying them. Put them in my coffee maker with tea, dried mushrooms, coffee and chicory root for years. Scrambled eggs with spinach and reconstituted mushrooms. Can’t get enough of mushrooms!

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I think the idea is that there are too many food forests throughout the amazon for the indigenous peoples not to have helped make them and that there definitely used to be a large civilization that lived on the amazon basin. Recent lidar shows immense buildings geometrically designed and laid out irrigation areas. Almost all the trees near these are fruit / medicinal trees.
Its amazing how much we grow that is edible that we have no idea about.


Although the Lidar analysis is from the past decade, much of the reconnaissance took place 20-30 years ago and the data is now public.

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The original Native Americans in my family thought in terms of generation and in hundreds and thousands of years. The buffalo were native americans version of cattle but not used in my family as far as i know, the trees were used for food eg. Pawpaw, persimmon, acorns, walnuts, butternut, etc…Deer, rabbit, etc. were extra meat and hides. Some natives ate deer etc only when the buffalo were roaming elsewhere. Family members have never sprayed anything and still harvest wild greens etc. Every year. In my family most of us still grow gardens and frequently we plant wild plants we want to harvest some years down the road. My aunts and uncles still eat from my grandfathers trees. My grandfather was eating nuts, berries etc. From the native americans plantings. Never let anyone convince you it was an accident! You are now living in a neglected garden. Kansas had no trees because the native americans burned it off for their livestock the buffalo to have grass to eat. The three sisters were grown together always beans, squash , and corn. Did they work 8-5? Did they use chemical? Did they need modern medicine? Did they have an erosion problem? Was anything polluted? There were no taxes. They lived just as long as we do in my family without anything we have. They had no large standing armies which is why they were taken over. Fish flourished in the streams but many natives would not eat them they did however use them for corn fertilizer. The natives frequently did suffer great hardships when there were crop failures. The buffalo were killed to a point of being nearly extinct to conquer the natives. Diseases such as small pox were brought as gifts in terms of blankets to kill them. Many of my family were married to whites and never went to a reservation but the ones who were members of full tribal council in oklahoma im sure are still there today. Im whiter than most everyone now but still 1/16th native. Many skills have now been lost but they passed on what they could to those who wanted to know. Im a leftover of what was passed down from hundreds or thousands of years. I grew a pumpkin as a child that grew wild with no fertilizer or tending that insects would not bother. The pumpkin that looked much like connecticut field pumpkin was lost and like the people in my family will not come back and the world is a worse place for the loss. My grandparents did pass many unique plants to me i still grow to this day Blackberries by the gallons. A chief from another tribe talked to me many years ago about the cherokee and why we grew blackberries always but i could not answer most of his questions. His tribe used the blackberries when they named their children but unfortunately his people could not speak his language and lost all their crops through time. My grand father told me before he died i was the last person in the family with his knowledge and it will die with me. Ive shared what i could with others so i believe some of it will continue to be around after me. Many neighbors told me strange varities of blackberries and other plants began appearing on their properties around 25 years ago odly about the time i arrived. Wild bee populations also returned and many wild greens. The blackberries i grow spread quickly by seed through birds genetically slightly different each time. Some would say a person such as me has an agenda to help those ancient heirloom berries survive but the truth is its a mutual relationship my family has helped them through the last hundred or so years and they have helped us. Both plants and people are better off for the relationship. Many neighboring families commented to me wild blackberries showed up which they harvest every year. I think to myself my family must be proud because i passed on exactly what i intended to and will pass on everything else i have a chance to. Permaculture natural food forests are always my goal Non traditional Orchard methods. All relationships in nature are symbiotic Plant symbiotic relationships. Many who grow my families blackberries quickly realize 15 feet tall + blackberries are very hard to control as @39thparallel has witnessed Blackberries by the gallons - #52 by 39thparallel. There is more to it than blackberries Fungi Friend or Foe? or fungi or grass Cover crop and mulch recommendations . Many relationships of crops, fungi, bacteria etc. Are not widely understood and its unlikely they will be at least anytime soon Anyone finding fall mushrooms?. Some fragile and mysterious natural relationships once disrupted can take 20-100 years or longer to correct if possible at all.
Many of these relationships are not widely understood but we can observe some things Morels will be popping soon. There is always a way to correct soil and other things but it takes time Conserving valuable resources for late season plants. Its true some crops have been lost to time but we have also gained others equally as valuable https://growingfruit.org/t/carmine-jewell-cherry-yields-increasing-with-age


I’ve said it elsewhere but will say it again when european people got off the boats they believed they were looking at untouched wilderness. Think they were actually standing in the biggest garden they ever saw. Not understanding what they were seeing they began to plan their own gardens. Naturally conflicts occurred the same as if someone was removing strawberry plants and planting radishes in your strawberry garden. Imagine how you would feel when they ate your cow thats how natives felt about buffalo or deer. Some crops like corn started here they were and are an important food. There are many lost types of corn that were at one time grown by natives.


in the area where I grew up you could see it. old trees bent to mark paths to hickory stands and wild fruit patches. and the remains of even older trees that had been similarly bent. hickory stands that looked like an orchard but so far back in the woods nobody had cut or built there in living memory times two.

here you can also see it, the scrub is edged by rivers, by places of larger stands of edible trees and plants, it looks like planned areas but it’s untouched basically.

I lived in the siuslaw forest for a long while and there the river had been obviously built to enable fish traps, redirected to areas with edible trees and fruit, it looks “untouched” only until you realize how there’s been places cut to facilitate elk and deer hunting, fishing, crawdadding, food sources. after being there a while you get the feeling you’re in someone else’s garden, definitely


The residue of Amerindian presence can be found in the diversity of species of trees producing edible foods. There is a place on the Alabama river near Minter Alabama where 5 different species of hickory can be found growing. I found Nutmeg, Mockernut, Bitternut, Pignut, and Shagbark hickories in a mixed stand with a few other tree species. The only way this could happen is for humans to transport the nuts and get them started growing together. One of the ways to find old Indian camps is to look at the trees growing there today.


And there still were approximately 70 million natives in the Americas includingn the Caribbean…


The Northern Amazonian Arawaks, soon to become the Taino, transported manioc, tobacco, pineapple and various other fruits and plants all the way up to Cuba. Meanwhile, the Amerindian trade routes brought domesticated Maya/Aztec corn to the Andes and cherry tomatoes from the Andean foothills to be domesticated by the Aztecs, their tomatl, etc…


We have read that the land where we live between two of the Finger Lakes was once abundant with basswood (Tilia americana), also known as American linden. It was a very utilitarian tree. One of its names was bee-tree, for its fragrant blossoms. A paste made from the seeds and flowers was used as a sweetener. The blossoms were also dried for tea. Tea from the bark was also used for medicinal purposes. Its fruit was small, but edible, if of faint flavor. Its leaves are also edible. It was mostly used for its soft, lightweight wood. It could be carved into cups, bowls, and toys. The inner bark was collected and made into bast fiber for weaving into many important useful things: twine, rope, and thread; baskets and cradles; belts and other clothing; building material; and fishnets.


Ethnobotany, gotta love it!
Thanks for sharing:)


I think you all would lik the book “1491: the americas before columbus”. they covered some of how the “indians” managed the forests to produce food.


theres a youtube vid with the same title. very interesting.

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There is proof Yaupon leaves that contain caffeine were traded all the way from the south to Near central IL. (by saint Louis MO about 10 miles East) (at bottom of this post see image of Illex vomitica / I. cassine )


-Chemical analyses of organic residues in fragments of pottery from the large site of Cahokia and surrounding smaller sites in Illinois reveal theobromine, caffeine, and ursolic acid, biomarkers for species of Ilex (holly) used to prepare the ritually important Black Drink. As recorded during the historic period, men consumed Black Drink in portions of the American Southeast for ritual purification. This first demonstrated discovery of biomarkers for Ilex occurs in beaker vessels dating between A.D. 1050 and 1250 from Cahokia, located far north of the known range of the holly species used to prepare Black Drink during historic times. The association of Ilex and beaker vessels indicates a sustained ritual consumption of a caffeine-laced drink made from the leaves of plants grown in the southern United States.

There are a few replies I disagree with here
One being the prairies needed to be managed with fire
The native Americans did practice fire suppression ,
but if Buffalo roamed the prairies that will prevent tree’s from being established …
(it happens in Africa’s prairies with large Herbivores )

I am only replying quickly , but interesting enough long ago (BC) corn was breed for the sugar content more so then the grain.
I did see that one on the T.V,
but now at least I’ve learned how to read off the USDA about old articles on native Americans even some documented by Native Americans (you just have to type in the code given)

Richard, and others thanks for the link I haven’t read it yet just posting quickly
will express my thoughts later.
(not much here about Cahokia mounds , but here are some pictures
These Mounds also follow a Moon cycle
(and video)


Very interesting. One of my favorite books in Spanish, Naufragio, documents the 3rd unsuccessful Spanish attempt to colonize Tampa and Alvaro’s trek from Tampa bay to the Mexican western sierra madre mountains. This book documents his experience as a captive, and witness to the native North American pharmacotheon. From (1)Taino paraphernalia used in divining rituals in Florida, through his (2) thornapple initiation by peoples of the south east, to the people in the SouthWest collecting (3)“deer hearts” for their cultural sustenance. In the last location, Alvaro, as a good Catholic, was prosthelitizing about his savior and most powerful god. The people agreed, there was one all powerful being, and his name is Jaguar. This is the 1st reference of the term jaguar, and it is of the Nahuatl language, 1542. Any ideas as to the 3 plants?


Hey good link I am glad they brought up using lime to prepare corn
other places you will see you get Pellagra (from a vitamin B deficiency)

Not if preparing corn with lime it unlocks the vitamin B

(I quote about them speculating about preparing rock hard native knot weed seeds)

" Another possibility is that the seeds were soaked in lime before being turned into a hominy-style porridge. Ancient Americans used lime—the chemical, not the fruit—to soften the hulls of maize before cooking it, in a technique called nixtamalization "

They also brought up Cahokia Mounds (in IL )
(in my post #42 about trading yaupon leaves from the south)
There is also Mounds in Wisconsin as well

All this stuff about Plants keep in mind Suet or Animal fat mixed with fruits nuts, and other dried plant matter was also a food source for winter storage , and travel even Inner tree pulp of certain species can be used as a starch source for bread making or porridge.

I want to get some huauzontle Chenopodium nuttalliae
(related to lambs quarters like broccoli )
I am modifying my statement actually on 3rd link (also has Amaranth )
(saw it looking for a tobacco link on pc history
see solanum seed site see # 4 plenty of seeds here as well)

Kind of late in the season, but here are some wild relatives of corn teosinte
and some to buy already prepared


Here are some different Tobacco seeds

Aztec tobacco Nicotiana rustica .
It has the highest levels of nicotine of any tobacco species, potentially containing up to twenty times more then nicotiana tabacum, the species used in commercial cigarettes.-- Tobaccos | World Seed Supply

I do read the Christian bible, but do find the other cultures in interesting as well see comment on Mayan bible (another topic.)

Not sure as I am not wanting to take the time (see below in bold)
(zz top /collective soul concert later
I didn’t plan on it just found out, and need sleep that I’m not going to get )

the word for Jaguar is ocelotl
I didn’t see anything here listed other then the animal
I may check USDA (codes)

Indians/Native Americans | National Archives -


DOES it have something to do with


– macehuales subsist on pinon nuts eat a seed called
acicintli (= water lily
cornlike kernel called cincocopi. (ancient form of maize )

Or variation

— From his hair springs cotton;
from his ears, several plants; from his nose, chia;
from his fingers, sweet potato;
from his nails, a variety of maize;
from the rest of his body, many other food plants.]

I have not looked into it, but have read part of the Mayan Bible years ago The Popol Vuh
(I have it in my emails also it’s at the Newberry Chicago Library apparently )

All this is a little off topic I actually have open lost plants from a while ago
I decided not to post it is a lot to take in all at once
But hey at least I did ALSO did find that Nursery with the tobacco , and posted …
(I’ll forward you the lost plants for now)

All in all do not forget Insects it is short)
(site has some interesting animals listed)

I’d bet that the deer hearts were prickly pear
optunias. I read an account of the experiences of a Spaniard (Coronado?) Who lived with native people’s along the gulf coast. They would migrate with the seasons. Following the food. In Summer they would eat optunias.

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