TEOSINTE OR TEOZINTLE FLOUR VEGAN FLOUR
Teosinte is an extremely important crop, as it is believed that the subspecies parviglumis is the wild progenitor of corn. About 9,000 years ago, teosinte grew wild, as a grass-like plant, with grain in a tough shell that was dispersed only when ripe. Teosinte flour (Z. Mays)
Farmers in Mexico and Central America still let the wild teosinte plants grow around the edges of their cornfields as it is believed that the teosinte makes the corn plants ‘stronger’. This is because the genetic transfer between wild and domesticated varieties diversifies the genetic code of the domesticated corn, reducing the impacts of inbreeding and genetic narrowing. The pollen from teosinte can pollinate the silks of the domesticated corn because they are still very closely related. This diversity leads to healthier populations.
Teosinte is considered the mother of corn and therefore holds a very important place in indigenous culture and beliefs. For many indigenous societies of the Americas, corn is considered the mother of all people and is the most important cultivated crop. The name teosinte is derived from the Nahuatl word tosintli which means sacred corn. Many indigenous peoples visiting the Native Seeds/SEARCH seed bank facility have honored the teosinte. One memorable moment came from Martina, a young Zapotec teacher from Oaxaca. She began to cry when holding the precious teosinte seeds. She spoke of how her family and culture have stories about sacred teosinte, but she had never been able to see it. To hold it was something very precious to her.
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