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Seeds of Trade

Civilisation is based on the cultivation of plants, but humans rely on plants for far more than simple foodstuffs. This virtual book, written by Henry Hobhouse, the author of Seeds of Change, and Museum botanist Sandra Knapp, is an introduction to the fascinating history of cultivation and some of its impacts on today's society.

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Explore the text by selecting a plant or plant product:



You can find out about the uses to which we put plants and their derivatives by choosing a category:



Selected highlights from the history of plant cultivation:

Timeline - click on a time period to explore highlights of the history of wheat, rye, rice, cassava, barley and apple cultivation.
Explore the stone age Explore the bronze age Explore the iron age Explore the roman period Explore the dark ages Explore the saxon period Explore the medieval times Explore modern times


Where do the plants we use come from? Explore the regions of the world where humans have cultivated plants:

World map - click on a region to find out where our cultivars come from
Americas Americas Eurasia Eurasia Africa Middle East South Asia Australia South East Asia