The Rainforests of Domestication: Ornamental Gardens as Sites of Maximum Genetic Diversity among Domesticated Plants

The common view of plant domestication is that it is a utilitarian phenomenon accomplished long ago. However, this view is false. The overwhelming majority of domesticated species are grown only for their aesthetic qualities and entered cultivation after 1500. The author suggests that the diversity of ornamental plants is due to the diversity our aesthetic interests and that the biophilia hypothesis may help explain the proliferation of of ornamentals in recent centuries.

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