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The Teosinte Plant

September 6, 2023

Teosinte expands outward. It’s an omni-directional force starting from a pin point and then outward like an exploding star.  This  makes it impossible to define by a small sample. Too late it has already exploded and is expanding at exponential speed. You can only gather so many fragments. The dust is too fine to recreate what was once a star. What was the shape? What was the material? Why did this happen? It’s too late now. Time passed too quickly and teosinte sprang forth like an unstoppable force.

Each ear contains sweet corn, pop corn and dent corn all in one. Some ears favor sweet corn and others strictly pop corn. Some ears are an uneven mix and some seeds suggest something new altogether. The diversity is like no other in the plant world I have ever grown.  When I  started sorting the seeds, I had to use tweezers.  I met with many a teosinte seed. Like snowflakes, no two are alike. Teosinte hybrids highlights the extreme flexibility of corn and its ability to manifest its expressions simultaneously in one generation. The true non hybrid teosinte looks calm and collected yet inside is brewing an escape plan from its Linnaeus defined species.

Teosinte is likely a hybrid species of several types and can apparently cross with the perennial gamma grass. It’s flexible. The addition of human creativity selecting over time found an avenue of health. Popcorn. The genius of native American plant breeders and those few selected souls 9000 years ago cannot be underestimated. It is likely they employed this power of diversity and shared it to the world long before 1492.  Corn and humans are now connected and teosinte built the bridge.  The native Americans kept this alive and maintained the bridge until other cultures either sold, traded or stole the true research of a culture. In the meantime, teosinte was forgotten.  The bridge was  abandoned. Today you see it listed as weed in some countries that actively promote its destruction. Those who feel it is not native use the herbicides adding another layer of ignorance to our understanding of the origins of cultivated plants. It is growing out of pure rock and desert where the seeds feed thousands of animals and create health wherever it goes. For me the mother of all corn is relaxed now at my farm. It demonstrates its viability over time even shedding its husk to expose its glorious seeds to the world of birds. As if saying, ” I’m here now and this is me. Enjoy. I will change if you let me. Or I can be what you want. You choose.”

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