Wild food plants of Remote Oceania

Will C. McClatchey

Abstract


Agricultural societies partly depend upon wild foods. Relationships between an agricultural society and its wild foods can be explored by examining how the society responds through colonization of new lands that have not been previously inhabited. The oldest clear example of this phenomenon took place about 5000 years ago in the tropical Western Pacific at the “boundary” interface between Near and Remote Oceania. An inventory of wild and domesticated food plants used by people living along “the remote side of ” that interface has been prepared from the literature. This was then assessed for the roles of plants at the time of original colonization of Remote Oceania. The majority of species are wild foods, and most of these are used as leafy vegetables and fruits. The wild food plants mostly serve as supplements to domesticated species, although there are a few that can be used as substitutes for traditional staples.

Keywords


Oceania; wild food plants; colonization; agriculture

Full Text:

PDF

References


Jackson F. The coevolutionary relationship of humans and domesticated plants. Am J Phys Anth. 1996;101(23 suppl):161–176. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1096-8644(1996)23+<161::AID-AJPA6>3.0.CO;2-8

Winter K, McClatchey W. The quantum co-evolution unit: an example of 'awa (kava-piper methysticum G. Foster) in Hawaiian culture. Econ Bot. 2009;63(4):353–362. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12231-009-9089-0

Fehr WR. Principles of cultivar development. Theory and technique. Ames IA: Macmillan; 1991. (vol 1).

Anderson E. Plants, man and life. Boston MA: Little, Brown; 1952.

Sauer CO. Agricultural origins and dispersals. New York NY: American Geographical Society; 1952.

Bettinger RL. Hunter-gatherers: archaeological and evolutionary theory. New York NY: Plenum Press; 1991.

Huss-Ashmore R, Johnston SL. Wild plants as cultural adaptations to food stress. In: Etkin N, editor. Eating on the wild side: the pharmacologic, ecologic and social implications of using noncultigens. Tucson AZ: University of Arizona Press; 1994. p. 62–82.

Henderson CP, R HI. A guide to the useful plants of Solomon Islands. Honiara: Ministry of Agriculture and Lands; 1988.

Cox PA. Wild plants as food and medicine in Polynesia. In: Etkin N, editor. Eating on the wild side: the pharmacologic, ecologic and social implications of using noncultigens. Tucson AZ: University of Arizona Press; 1994. p. 102–113.

Paull RE, Tang CS, Gross K, Uruu G. The nature of the taro acridity factor. Postharvest Biol Tec. 1999;16(1):71–78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0925-5214(98)00099-4

Abbott IA. La'au Hawai'i: traditional Hawaiian uses of plants. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press; 1992.

MacArthur RH, Wilson EO. The theory of island biogeography. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2001. (Monographs in Population Biology; vol 1).

Green RC. Near and remote Oceania: disestablishing “Melanesia” in culture history. In: Bulmer R, Pawley A, editors. Man and a half: essays in Pacific anthropology and ethnobiology in honour of Ralph Bulmer. Auckland: Polynesian Society; 1991. p. 491–502. (Memoirs of the Polynesian Society).

Kayser M. The human genetic history of Oceania: near and remote views of dispersal. Curr Biol. 2010;20(4):R194–R201. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.004

Oskarsson MCR, Klutsch CFC, Boonyaprakob U, Wilton A, Tanabe Y, Savolainen P. Mitochondrial DNA data indicate an introduction through Mainland Southeast Asia for Australian dingoes and Polynesian domestic dogs. Proc R Soc B. 2011;279(1730):967–974. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2011.1395

Harris DR, Bellwood P. The origins and spread of agriculture in the Indo-Pacific region: gradualism and diffusion or revolution and colonization. In: The origins and spread of agriculture and pastoralism in Eurasia. London: University College London Press; 1996. p. 465–498.

Blust RA. The Austronesian languages. Canberra: Australian National University Press; 2009.

Goff J, McFadgen BG, Chague-Goff C, Nichol SL. Palaeotsunamis and their influence on Polynesian settlement. Holocene. 2012;22(9):1067–1069. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683612437873

Wilmshurst JM, Hunt TL, Lipo CP, Anderson AJ. High-precision radiocarbon dating shows recent and rapid initial human colonization of East Polynesia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010;108(5):1815–1820. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1015876108

Gray RD, Drummond AJ, Greenhill SJ. Language phylogenies reveal expansion pulses and pauses in pacific settlement. Science. 2009;323(5913):479–483. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1166858

Matisoo-Smith E. Origins and dispersals of Pacific peoples: evidence from mtDNA phylogenies of the Pacific rat. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2004;101(24):9167–9172. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0403120101

McConkey KR, Meehan HJ, Drake DR. Seed dispersal by Pacific pigeons (Ducula pacifica) in Tonga, Western Polynesia. Emu. 2004;104(4):369–376. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU03060

Cox PA, Elmqvist T, Pierson ED, Rainey WE. Flying foxes as strong interactors in South Pacific island ecosystems: a conservation hypothesis. Conserv Biol. 1991;5(4):448–454. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.1991.tb00351.x

Bellwood P. A hypothesis for Austronesian origins. Asian Persp. 1988;26(1):107–117.

Oppenheimer S. The “express train from Taiwan to Polynesia”: on the congruence of proxy lines of evidence. World Archaeol. 2004;36(4):591–600. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0043824042000303773

Jennings JD. The prehistory of Polynesia. Canberra: Australian National University Press; 1979.

Vésteinsson O, McGovern TH, Keller C. Enduring impacts: social and environmental aspects of Viking age settlement in Iceland and Greenland. Arch Island. 2002;2:98–136.

Burley D, Weisler MI, Zhao JX. High precision U/Th dating of first polynesian settlement. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48769. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0048769

Yen DE. Polynesian cultigens and cultivars: the question of origin. In: Cox PA, Banack SA, editors. Plants, islands, and Polynesians: an introduction to Polynesian ethnobotany. Portland OR: Dioscorides Press; 1991. p. 67–96.

Kirch PV. A shark going inland is my chief: the island civilization of ancient Hawai'i. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2012.

Barrau J. Les plantes alimentaires de l'Océanie, origines, distribution et usages. An Musée Col Marseille. 1962;7:3–9.

Guppy HB. Observations of a naturalist in the Pacific between 1896 and 1899: plant-dispersal. London: Macmillan; 1906. (vol 2).

Yen DE. Subsistence to commerce in Pacific agriculture: some four thousand years of plant exchange. In: Predergast HDV, Etkin NL, Harris DR, Houghton PJ, editors. Plants for food and medicine. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens; 1998. p. 161–183.

Evans B. Ethnobotanical classification. In: Ross M, Pawley A, Osmond M, editors. The lexicon of Proto Oceanic: the culture and environment of ancestral Oceanic society. Plants. Canberra: Australian National University Press; 2010. p. 53–84. (vol 3).

Ross M, Pawley A, Osmond M, editors. The lexicon of Proto Oceanic: the culture and environment of ancestral Oceanic society. Plants. Canberra: Australian National University Press; 2010. (vol 3).

Jansen T, Sirikolo MQ. Petanigaki ta Siniqa ni Lauru. Honiara: Kastom Garden Association; 2010.

Pollock NJ. These roots remain: food habits in islands of the Central and Eastern Pacific since western contact. Laie: University of Hawaii Press; 1992.

Barrau J. Witnesses of the past: notes on some food plants of Oceania. Ethnology. 1965;4(3):282. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3772988

Ross M. Introducing Proto Oceanic plant names. In: Ross M, Pawley A, Osmond M, editors. The lexicon of Proto Oceanic: the culture and environment of ancestral Oceanic society. Plants. Canberra: Australian National University Press; 2010. p. 25–52. (vol 3).

McClatchey W. Ethnobiology – basic methods used to document dynamic relationships between peoples, biota and environments, and ways in which this knowledge is represented in languages. In: Thieberger N, editor. The Oxford handbook of linguistic fieldwork. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011. p. 281–297.

Winter K, McClatchey W. Quantifying evolution of cultural interactions with plants: implications for managing diversity for resilience in social-ecological systems. Func Ecosyst Commun. 2008;2(1 special issue):1–10.

Mcclatchey W, Thaman R, Vodonaivalu S. A preliminary checklist of the flora of Rotuma with Rotuman names. Pac Sci. 2000;54:345–363.

Verheij EWM, Coronel RE. Edible fruits and nuts. In: Faridah Hanum I, van der Maesen LJG, editors. PROSEA: plant resources of South-East Asia. Wageningen: Pudoc; 1991. (vol 2).

Whistler WA. Polynesian plant introductions. In: Cox PA, Banack SA, editors. Plants, islands, and Polynesians: an introduction to Polynesian ethnobotany. Portland OR: Dioscorides Press; 1991. p. 41–66.

Powell JM. Ethnobotany. In: Paijmans K, editor. New Guinea vegetation. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1976. p. 106–183.

Steele OC. Natural and anthropogenic biogeography of mangroves in the Southwest Pacific [PhD thesis]. Honolulu: University of Hawaii; 2006.

Fuller R. Fungi and Polynesia: New Zealand and Cook Island Maori ethnomycology [PhD thesis]. Honolulu: University of Hawaii; 2009.

Etkin N. Pharmacologic implications of “wild” plants in Hausa diet. In: Etkin N, editor. Eating on the wild side: the pharmacologic, ecologic and social implications of using noncultigens. Tucson AZ: University of Arizona Press; 1994. p. 85–101.

N'yeurt A, South G. Biodiversity and biogeography of benthic marine algae in the southwest Pacific, with specific reference to Rotuma and Fiji. Pac Sci. 1997;51(1):18–28.

Abbott IA. Polynesian uses of seaweed. In: Cox PA, Banack SA, editors. Plants, islands, and Polynesians: an introduction to Polynesian ethnobotany. Portland OR: Dioscorides Press; 1991. p. 135–146.

Conte E, Payri C. Present day consumption of edible algae in French Polynesia: a study of the survival of pre-European practices. J Polyn Soc. 2006;115(1):77.

Merlin M, Capelle A, Keene T, Juvik J, Maragos J. Keinikkam Im Melan Aelon Kein. Plants and environments of the Marshall Islands. Honolulu: East-West Center; 1994.

National Biodiversity Team of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Marshall Islands: living atolls amidst the living sea. Santa Clara: St. Hildegard Publisher; 2000.

Cuddihy LW, Stone CP. Alteration of native Hawaiian vegetation: effects of humans, their activities and introductions. Honolulu: University of Hawaii; 1990.

Handy ESC, Handy EG, Pukui MK. Native planters in old Hawaii: their life, lore, and environment. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press; 1972.

Crowe A. Native edible plants of New Zealand. Auckland: Hodder & Stoughton; 1990.

Vavilov NI. Origin and geography of cultivated plants. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 1994.