Ten Plants that Changed the World, an interesting title, isn't it? Certainly, Dr. Hardy Eshbaugh's program at the Cleveland Botanical Garden was meant to be thought provoking. The conversation in my car on the way to Cleveland included many possible answers: corn, wheat, rubber, cotton and of course- coffee.
Hardy's list read a little differently, although corn and cotton were included. He reminded us that these were not the plants that changed the world the most, but rather, some of the plants with great economic impact. From there he presented an hour of the most fascinating details of plants and plant history I have ever heard. He briefly touched upon coffee, but preferred to focus on hot chocolate, as it was "sinful and worth talking about."
Indeed, cocao, Theobroma cacao was cultivated by Aztecs and even its name translates to "fruit (or flesh) of the gods." Highly valued, cocao beans were used as a form of currency and a sacred drink was concocted with a blend of chocolate, corn and Chile pepper.
It is a fascinating plant, and an amazing program; I'll let you guess at the rest of Dr. Eshbaugh's plant picks. Meanwhile, I'll be eating a Hershey's bar.