I’ve always been curious about the origins of plants & how they’ve developed from their wild ancestors; this curiosity developed whilst studying biology & botany at school but I really became enthusiastic during the 1980s when I was teaching apprentices in Jarrow, south Tyneside. I took a group of mechanical engineers (MECS2!) to visit Jarrow Priory, the place where the Venerable Bede had lived & where he died. Excavations were just beginning on the site & there had been finds of seeds in what had been the Priory vegetable garden. The seed found in greatest quantities was the Pea – & the seed had been successfully germinated. I was fascinated by the idea of seeds as time capsules & it also caught the imagination of the lads I’d taken along – young Geordie lads not given to enthusiasm about things like seeds or old stones, at least not in front of their mates. The visit cropped up in conversations with some of them for almost the whole year I worked with them, & a couple of them even took their families along to visit – perhaps our visit may have spurred one or two of them to grow things, take an interest in local history, think about their lives differently. You can never know, but you can always encourage.
In that spirit I offer whatever I conjure up about plant origins & history – do write back with further links or suggestions; ideas & knowledge should be shared.