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Fruit-bearing trees of Hispaniola


In his Journal for Nov . 4, 1492 , Columbus describes the plants cultivated at río de Mares in Hispaniola: "...these lands are very fertile; they are full of mames which are like carrots and have the flavor of chestnuts; and they have beans and kidney beans very different from ours and much cotton, which they do not sow... "

On December 5, 1492, when the Niña anchored at Puerto Saint Nicholas in Hispaniola, Columbus was also impressed by the country's fertility. In the harbor mouth was "... a field of trees of a thousand kinds, all laden with fruit... believed to be spices and nutmegs... Opposite the harbor there was a beautiful fertile plain and in the middle of it [a] river, and... in this neighborhood there must be large centers of population...

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[Fig.1: Fruit-bearing trees of Hispaniola include the mamey (Mammea americana), guava (Psidium guajaba), guanabana (Annona muricata), and the plantain or banana (Musa sp.), "platano"  in Spanish (from Benzoni 1572).]


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