Ancient Fruit Trees
The Book of Mormon records that the Jaredites brought fruit seeds to the New World:
And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind. (Ether 2:3)
The Jaredites lived exclusively in the Land Northward; there should be evidences of Old World fruit trees in Western New York, north of the City of Buffalo:
Two major vegetative features attributed to aboriginal and pre‑colonial activities at Artpark involve firstly the presence of the ancestor of our Bing Cherry, Prunus avium L., or “Bird‑Cherry“ due to its major vector of seed dispersal. This European species is everywhere throughout areas up and downstream of the cataracts (P. M. Eckel, Artpark, Lewiston, New York: Botanical field notes from 2001 and 2002).
A species of apple grows in the wild there also see Apple Trees. The Lehites likewise brought seeds which they planted in the Land Southward in the Land of Nephi and the Land of Zarahemla:
And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind. (1 Nephi 8:1)
And it came to pass that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance. (1 Nephi 18:24)
And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds, with seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum, and with seeds of all manner of fruits; and we did begin to multiply and prosper in the land. (Mosiah 9:9)
There is evidence of an antique cherry forest near Le Roy, Western New York:
“Remnants of another ancient work occur in the town of LeRoy, three miles north of the village of the same name, in the southeastern part of this county…The position which the work occupies is a portion of a high plain or table-land, nearly surrounded by deep ravines, bounded by Fordham’s Brook and Allen’s Creek (Oatka Creek), which effect a junction at this point. These streams have worn their beds through the various strata of lime and sandstone to the depth of from seventy to one hundred feet, leaving abrupt banks difficult of ascent.”
“A number of skeletons have been found here, together with many fragments of pottery. There have also been discovered some heaps of small stones; which have been supposed to be the missiles of the ancient occupants of the hill, thus got together to be used in case of attack. Various relics of art, pipes, beads, stone hatchets, arrow-heads, etc., have been disclosed here by the operations of agriculture. One of the pipes composed of baked clay is now in the possession of Kev. C. Dewey, of Rochester. It is represented of half size in the accompanying engraving, Fig. 8. The material is very fine, and the workmanship good; so good indeed, as to induce some doubt of its aboriginal origin.”
“According to Mr. Dewey, ‘the trench was estimated by the early observers at from eight to ten feet deep, and as many wide. The earth in making it had been thrown either way, but much of it inward. The road formerly crossed it by a bridge. When first known, forest trees were standing both in the trench and on its sides. In size and growth they corresponded with the forests around them. Prostrate upon the ground were numerous trunks of the heart-wood of black cherry trees of larger size, which, it is conjectured, were the remains of more antique forests, preceding the growth of beech and maple. They were in such a state of soundness as to be employed for timber by the early settlers’” (E. G. Squier, Aboriginal Monuments of the State of New York, 1851, pp. 68-71).
An ancient apple orchard along Cattaraugus Creek:
In 1817 Jacob Balcom with a family of sons and daughters came to Hidi and the next year moved onto the land now known as Darby flats, two miles above on Cattaraugus creek, where the south branch empties into the main stream. There were evidences that civilization had preceded them, as they found apple trees growing there planted by unknown hands years before. Some of those trees yet remain standing and have acquired a growth of nine feet in circumference around the trunk (William Adams, Historical gazetteer and biographical memorial of Cattaraugus County, N.Y., 1893, p. 969).
Temple of the Ancient Grape Vine
“Visit the world’s largest wild grape vine! While exploring for ancient forest, I expect to find champion-size trees. I expect to find some of the oldest trees. But grape vines? Yes, it’s true. The ancient forest where this grape champion grows is impressive and beautiful. But the 14-inch diameter vine ‘takes the cake'” (Bruce Kershner, Guide to Ancient Forests of Zoar Valley, Citizens Concern for the Environment and Niagara Frontier Botanical Society, 2000, p. 24).
“This is the vaulted canopy of the ancient forest, creating a wild, green cathedral-like setting. You will not overlook the vine. Its massive cables lie sprawled out, looping over each other, like giant curls on a woman’s head. You can easily climb through the humongous loops of vine. Note their peeling, reddish brown bark.”
“It is probably 400 years old…14 inches in diameter (42 inch circumference)! This is the thickest wild grape vine known in the world…is more than a quarter-mile long” (p. 26).
“Giant wild grapes only grow in ancient forests, where they have been allowed to live this long, and under the protection of the big trees” (p. 27).
Ancient Forests Nearly Gone
Kershner and others estimate that western New York has retained about 0.25 percent of its original forest cover (Corydon Ireland, “Ecologists find old-growth forest at Hemlock Lake 415 acre tract in lakeside ravines has 500-year-old trees,” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, September 25, 2001).