The majority of archaeobotanical remains from the shipwreck consist of seeds and nuts from both tropical and temperate trees. Edible soft fruits from three American species and three European domesticates have been identified (Newsom 1995:2-3). The American taxa are common persimmon, as mentioned above, sapote (or zapote, Pouteria spp.), and tentatively identified papaya (cf. Carica papaya). Each species has a long history of use by different Native American peoples. Similarly, sapotes and papaya were often grown in neotropical home gardens for their large, edible fruits and medicinal uses. Each are found throughout the circum-Caribbean region.
Fig. 51. This seed, identified as sapote ( zapote), comes from a large tropical fruit found throughout the Caribbean.
The three European fruit trees represented in the ship remains included: olive (Olea europaea), plum/prune (Prunus domestica), and cherry (Prunus cerasus). "The cherry seeds are similar to seeds of North American wild plums (e.g. Prunus angustifolia) and would therefore represent native/wild species as opposed to a European domesticate, but the general morphology conforms better with domesticated cherry (Newsom 1995:3)" Over 400 hundreds olive have been recovered from the wreck. Second in frequency is persimmon with 12 seeds, followed by cherry (8 seeds) and cf. papaya (3 stems). The rest of the soft fruit types—plum and sapote—are represented by single seed specimens.
Fig. 52. Papayas were often grown in tropical home gardens for their edible fruit and for medicinal purposes. The presence of these stems on the ship may indicate supplements to an otherwise bland shipboard diet.
Several edible nut species appear in the Emanuel Point sample assemblage. European almond (Prunus amygdalus) is present (4 shell fragments), as is hazelnut (Coryleus sp.) that most likely represents the European cultivar (Coryleus avellana; 13 shell fragments). Two American nut-producing genera are identified: hickory (Carya sp.; four shell fragments) and oak (Quercus sp.; one acorn half, one aborted acorn). Finally, a single fragment of coconut (Cocos nucifera) shell was recovered. Coconut is considered pantropical, but it is uncertain whether it was present in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean prior to the European presence on the American continents.
Fig. 53. The recovery of over 400 olive pits demonstrates how important the olive and olive oil were to the traditional Spanish cuisine.