Enough of the rocky surface is covered with a thin coating of soil to enable the natives to grow yams, taro, bananas, &c., for their support; cotton thrives well, and has even been exported in small quantities, but there is no space available for its cultivation on any considerable scale.
Maize, yams, bananas, tapioca and ginger are cultivated by the natives.
The great tropical family of the Gesneraceae has left behind a few outliers: Ramondia in the Pyrenees, Haberlea in the Balkans, and Jankaea in Thessaly; the Pyrenees also possess a minute Dioscorea, sole European survivor of the yams of the tropics.
The chief groups, all yielding coco-nuts, pandanus fruit and yams, are Funafuti or Ellice, Nukulailai or Mitchell, Nurakita or Sophia, Nukufetau or De Peyster, Nui or Egg, Nanomana or Hudson, and Niutao or Lynx.
Cotton, Indian corn, sweet potatoes, yams and rice are small crops.
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