Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Seeds of Lehi and the Jaredites

First of all, there are certain plants and foods indigenous to certain areas of the world, including the Middle East (Palestine); South America (Peru, Ecuador, Chile); North America (United States); and Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala, Yucatan). Some of these plants and foods are:

Middle East: Wheat, Barley, cauliflower, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Dates, Figs, Grapes, Olives, and Pomegranates;

South America: Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Yams, Peanuts, Brazil Nuts, Quinoa, Avocado, Papaya, Pineapple, Tomatoes, Coca, Guava, Lupin, Cocoa beans, Green (French) beans, Lima Beans, Kidney Beans, and Pinto Beans;

North America: Black Walnuts, Acorn, Pecans, Maple sap, Plums, Berries, Pumpkin, Squash, Chives, Wild Rice, Ground Plum, saw palmetto, and Huckleberry;

Mesoamerica: Maize (Corn), Beans, Squash, Chile Pepper, Lima Beans, Amaranth, Chocolate, Tobacco, Vanilla, and Agave.

The Köppen Climate Classification showing  the 31 different combinations around the world


As has been mentioned in these articles, the climate needed to grow seeds varies, depending upon where the seeds were originally grown and where they were being transplanted. Obviously, seeds would naturally grow well in the environment in which they were produced—both obviously having the same climate.

Stated differently, modern food crops evolved in regions of the world outside the U.S. Brassica crops (such as cabbage, kale, and broccoli) originated from the coastal shores of western and southern Europe, Solanaceae crops (peppers and tomatoes) are from regions throughout South America, and the wild relatives of many Apiaceae crops (such as carrots) can still be found in Afghanistan and Turkey. These crops have traveled many miles over thousands of years and have been adopted into the agricultural production and cuisine of many cultures world-wide. They have also been selected and bred by humans, but in most cases the physiological process of flowering, fertilization, and seed maturation still reflect the climate where they originated. It is helpful to keep this in mind when considering how the environmental conditions support or hinder seed production of different plant species (“Climatic Considerations for Seed Crops,” Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend, WA, 2013, p4).

The growth of a seedling in the proper climate, soil and temperature

Unlike animals, plants are limited in their ability to seek out favorable conditions for life and growth. A seed must somehow "arrive" at a location and be there at a time favorable for germination and growth, which is usually claimed to be: Climate, Soils, Temperature, and Moisture.

Seed dormancy is defined as a seed failing to germinate under environmental conditions optimal for germination, normally when the environment is at a suitable temperature with proper soil moisture. Induced dormancy, enforced dormancy or seed quiescence occurs when a seed fails to germinate because the external environmental conditions are inappropriate for germination, mostly in response to conditions being too dark or light, too cold or hot, or too dry.

Physiological dormancy means the embryo, due to physiological causes, cannot generate enough power to break through the seed coat, endosperm or other covering structures. Abscisic acid is usually the growth inhibitor in seeds, and its production can be affected by light, heat, soil makeup and weather. Some plants, including a number of grasses and those from seasonally arid regions, is needed before they will germinate

The seeds are released, but need to have a lower moisture content before germination can begin. If the seeds remain moist after dispersal, germination can be delayed for many months or even years. In fact, species will germinate after dispersal only under very narrow temperature ranges, but as the seeds dry, they are able to germinate over a wider temperature range (G. Nicolas, International Workshop on Seeds, The biology of seeds recent research advances: proceedings of the Seventh International Workshop on Seeds, Wallingford, Oxon, UK, 2003, p113).

Left: Chive plants thriving in the warmth of summer; Right: Herb Plants in cold weather growing heartily


There is no question that a “lack of germination in seeds is prevented by the environment”—especially one different from the environment in which the seed was produced (J. Derek Brewley and Michael Black, Seeds physiology of development and germination. The language of science, Plenum Press, New York, 1994, p230).

Some seeds germinate only at high temperatures (65º to 86°F), while others need low temperatures (40º to 50ºF); many plants that have seeds that germinate in early to midsummer have thermodormancy, so germinate only when the soil temperature is within the above temperatures, some like celery, corn, and squash need warm temperatures, and others, like Kale, Spinach and Beets, require colder temperatures. Often, thermodormancy requirements disappear as the seed ages or dries, thus seeds brought from Jerusalem by Lehi would still be viable by the time they reached the Land of Promise.

According to Lars Olof Björn—professor emeritus at Lund University, who has earned the Linnaeus prize for botany and a Rimington prize for photobiology, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and was on the board of the International Photobiology Association for twelve years—states that three fundamental conditions must exist before germination can occur: (1) The embryo must be alive; (2) Any dormancy requirements that prevent germination must be overcome; (3) The proper environmental conditions must exist for germination (Lars Olof Björn, “Photobiology: The Science of Life and Light,” 2nd Ed., Springer, Lund University, Lund Sweden, 2007, p. 147).

These environmental conditions are the climate, soil, temperature, and moisture; consequently, climatic conditions like too much moisture or too much heat or cold, insufficient oxygen and not enough or too much sunlight, can kill the seed before or during germination.

Climate is determined by what is called the The Köppen Climate Classification and is a climate listing based on the weather experienced by a given location, averaged over several decades. A region's climate tells how hot or cold, wet or dry, windy or still, and cloudy or sunny it generally is. It also tells whether these conditions prevail year-round or if they change with the seasons. It is also determined not only by average weather conditions but also by seasonal changes in those conditions and weather extremes. The climates of the world are differentiated by many factors, including latitude (distance north or south of the equator), temperature (the degree of hotness or coldness of an environment), topography (the shape and height of land features), and distribution of land and sea. The two criteria that are most significant in defining climate type are temperature and precipitation. 

Each classification is listed by three letters. As an example: Jerusalem is listed as (Csa), and defined as a Warm Mediterranean Climate. Lehi brought seeds from this climate and landed in La Serena, Chile, adjacent to the Bay of Coquimbo. This means for his seeds to be successful in another location, the climate must be the same. And that is exactly what exists in La Serena, also a Mediterranean Climate (Csa).

The Jaredites landed in the same climate from which they left; as did Lehi


As for the Jaredites, they brought with them seeds from their Mesopotamia home, which is an Arid desert hot (Bwh) and an Arid steppe hot (Bsh) climate. They arrived in Ecuador along the Santa Elena peninsula, which is also an Arid desert hot (Bwh) and an Arid steppe hot (Bsh) climate.

Thus, we see that the seeds brought by both Lehi and the Jaredites, fit perfectly into the climate areas of their new settings that existed in their homelands from which they came.

Cuzco (City of Nephi) has a subtropical highland climate, which is generally dry and temperate. These subtropical highland variety of the oceanic climate exists in elevated portions of the world that are within either the tropics or subtropics, though it is typically found in mountainous locations in some tropical countries. Despite the latitude, the higher altitudes of these regions mean that the climate tends to share characteristics with oceanic climates, though it also tends to experience noticeably drier weather during the lower-sun "winter" season. Consequently, it is important to note that without the elevation, these regions would likely feature either tropical or humid subtropical climates, like that of Central (Meso-) America; however, because of the elevation, they are Csb (Köppen climate classification) making it more like a Mediterranean Climate (Csa and Csb)—that is, both La Serena, in Chile, and Cuzco in Peru, are a variety of subtropical climates. Thus the Cuzco climate has two defined seasons—the dry season, lasting from April to October (average temperature: high 67º, low 36º), with abundant sunshine, and occasional nighttime freezes; and the wet season, lasting from November to March (average temperature: high 66º, low 42º) with night frosts less common. July is the coolest month. 

Mediterranean Climates are near large bodies of water, typically along the wrest coast of the area


Because most regions with a Mediterranean climate are near large bodies of waster, temperatures are generally moderate with a comparatively small range of temperatures between the winter low and summer high, which is also the case for Cuzco, Peru, though it is about 600 miles inland, it is at an elevation of 11,000 feet

Consequently, we should find that seeds from La Serena, Chile, a Mediterranean Climate (Csa/Csb) should grow well in Cusco, Peru, a Subtropical highland climate (Csb). They would not have done well along the coast in Peru, say in Lima, or anywhere in Mesoamerica.

Thus, the fertile land along the rivers in Mesopotamia grew wheat, barley sesame, flax and various fruits and vegetables. The climate itself was hot and dry summers coupled with cool and wet winters—Summers in Ancient Mesopotamia were hot and dry while winters were cooler and wetter. Average summer temperatures fluctuated between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, but could get hotter. Winter temperatures sank as low as 15 degrees in the mountains and 50 degrees in the plains to 60 degrees. The Mesopotamian plains received rainfall sufficient enough to allow for a rich agricultural industry—200 mm annually. It was almost like a “Garden of Eden” because of the constant flooding of the two rivers and the constant flooding left behind rich and fertile soil. Seeds from such an area would have done well in Ecuador, a country on the equator that was also hot and dry, especially in the mountainous areas.

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