Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Apr 29;105(17):6232-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0711760105. Epub 2008 Apr 28.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) as a pre-Columbian domesticate in Mexico.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221, USA. david.lentz@uc.edu

Abstract

Mexico has long been recognized as one of the world's cradles of domestication with evidence for squash (Cucurbita pepo) cultivation appearing as early as 8,000 cal B.C. followed by many other plants, such as maize (Zea mays), peppers (Capsicum annuum), common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). We present archaeological, linguistic, ethnographic, and ethnohistoric data demonstrating that sunflower (Helianthus annuus) had entered the repertoire of Mexican domesticates by ca. 2600 cal B.C., that its cultivation was widespread in Mexico and extended as far south as El Salvador by the first millennium B.C., that it was well known to the Aztecs, and that it is still in use by traditional Mesoamerican cultures today. The sunflower's association with indigenous solar religion and warfare in Mexico may have led to its suppression after the Spanish Conquest. The discovery of ancient sunflower in Mexico refines our knowledge of domesticated Mesoamerican plants and adds complexity to our understanding of cultural evolution.

PMID:
18443289
PMCID:
PMC2359819
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.0711760105
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center