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item Forsline, Philip

Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2005
Publication Date: 3/16/2005
Citation: Forsline, P.L. 2005. Plant exploration for new fruits: past, present, and future. Acta Horticulture Proceedings. 40:975.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Since the dawn of time, humanity has survived by utilizing plants. Incorporation of new and diverse plant materials, including fruit, has driven the development of civilization. Wise leaders have observed that plant exploration is a cornerstone to culture, trade, and economic stability. Queen Hatschepsut, of ancient Egypt, saw the benefit of obtaining plant materials and fruits uncommon in her region. Christopher Columbus initiated New World-Old World plant exchange in his encounter with the Americas. Sir Joseph Banks, Naturalist on Captain Cook's trip to the southern hemisphere, lead the Royal Society to a new age of recognition of botany and excitement in plant hunting. With N. I. Vavilov's description of the centers of origins of economic crops, the U.S. Bureau of Plant Industry team of plant scientists recognized that the strength of agriculture would be based on the diversity of plant germplasm available for breeding. Their foresighted activities initiated the opportunities for broad successes in agricultural development which have since occurred. Recent fruit collectors have taken advantage of the opening of former soviet and Asian countries to obtain previously unavailable species. Trips have obtained new fruit resources from Pakistan, Kazakstan, Kyrgystan, Turkmenistan, Siberia, and China. New challenges face future explorers. Horticultural production and exchange have become global; regional identification is being lost. Fruit cultivars are being grown and marketed around the world. The plant species extinction pace exceeds the identification rate. Intellectual property rights dictate that plants are the sovereign property of the country where they grow, and a priori, bilateral country agreements are required. Although these political and legal requirements may obstruct some collection, new technology will revolutionize the explorer's ability to find and obtain plants, and label and record information. Plant exploration for fruits will remain an integral part of human advancement.