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Life and Death in the Plantation: Tea and the travel of seeds, plants and science across the Indian Ocean
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Anthropology.
2021 (English)In: Seedways: The Circulation, Control and Care of Plants in a Warming World / [ed] Bengt G. Karlsson; Annika Rabo, Stockholm: Kungliga Vitterhetsakademien , 2021, p. 121-144Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this essay I seek to retrace the movement of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis var. assamica) from the forest to the plantation, and from Assam across the Indian Ocean to East Africa and the Kenyan highlands. As the plant has moved it has been altered to suit demands for higher productivity, as well as to suit soil and climatic conditions in new locations. One of the more significant results of such plant breeding efforts in Kenya is the release of the tea clone TRFK 306/1, popularly known as “purple tea”. Purple tea is a new variety of the plant that Singphos and other indigenous communi- ties cultivated in the Assam forest and adjoining areas of highland Burma and Yunnan, China. My aim here is to explore the interaction of people and plants, and to think about what happens when plants travel. Such movements are usually in the form of travelling seed. How do plants thrive when they land up in a foreign setting, and what is gained and lost in the migration?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kungliga Vitterhetsakademien , 2021. p. 121-144
Series
Kungliga Vitterhetsakademien Konferenser, ISSN 0348-1433 ; 104
Keywords [en]
Plantations, tea, Purple tea, seed, mobile plants, Kenya, India
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-199738ISBN: 978-91-88763-21-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-199738DiVA, id: diva2:1619870
Available from: 2021-12-14 Created: 2021-12-14 Last updated: 2021-12-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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