Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section
Reedy, David , McClatchey, Will .
Adopting Invasives; Lessons from a Moorean Mat Fiber.
In 1769 Captain James Cook stopped in his voyage at the Society Islands. On June 1st, the naturalist on this voyage, Joseph Banks set sail for nearby Mo`orea. There he collected many items of material culture including a highly decorative and unique mat. This mat returned to England and eventually became interred at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. We have used microscopic analysis to compare fibers of this mat to fibers of other known Polynesian mat fiber plants. This comparative analysis later extended to other fibers known to be used in Polynesian material culture. The fiber from Cook’s collection did not match fibers from any known pre-European contact Polynesian plant. Continued examination of the fibers revealed this mat to be identical to the stem fibers of Typha domingensis. However, this species is thought to not have reached the Society Islands until the mid-Nineteenth century. Our recent ethnographic data from the Society Islands suggest that T.domingensis is only used by a small number of residents on the island of Mo`orea.
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1 - Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 1700 University Drive, Fort Worth, TX, 76107, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 3:45 PM