'Cherokee blue corn'

Maggie_VA(z71/2 VA)November 2, 2004

A Cherokee friend gave me a bag of blue corn from her garden last year. I planted it and harvested. Now I wish to share the seeds, so I looked on the web for more information to include with the seeds. NO LUCK. Unlike most corn plants, mine looked more like short broom corn with broader leaves. Height about three feet with many side shoots, each of which produced a loose stalk with individually attatched seeds. Nothing like a corn cob. The seeds are rounder and range from a stripy blue/white to a darker blue hue to almost black.

I would appreciate any help with history, genus/latin name,image from the web, etc. Thanks in advance from a grateful gardenwebber who usually hangs out on Winter Sowing :))

Maggie

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Unlike most corn plants, mine looked more like short broom corn with broader leaves. Height about three feet with many side shoots, each of which produced a loose stalk with individually attatched seeds. Nothing like a corn cob. The seeds are rounder and range from a stripy blue/white to a darker blue hue to almost black.
I would appreciate any help with history, genus/latin name,image from the web, etc. Thanks in advance from a grateful gardenwebber who usually hangs out on Winter Sowing :))

maggie,

The Cherokee Blue corns that I know of are typical corns with typical ears, either dent corns or flour corns.

But yours doesn't sound like that at all.

If it's a broomcorn type than the genus is different from that of true corn.

I don't know of any broomcorns (Sorghum bicolor ( technicum Group) that have been attributed to the Cherokee.

Same comment for Sorghum grain, Sorghum bicolor, with no known Cherokee ones that I've seen, although some varieties are associated with SW Indian tribes.

So without knowing for sure what you have it's impossible to give the genus and species although the broomcorn is given above and all true corns are Zea mays.

And no hisotry without knowing what you have.

Would it be possible for you to discuss this with your Cherokee friend and ask her how she views it, as a broomcorn or true corn, and what she uses the seeds for, or if a broomcorn does she use it for brooms, etc.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 7:48PM
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reginak(z7 Maryland)

Also, do you know where your friend got it? Just because she's Cherokee doesn't mean it was handed down from her Cherokee ancestors. I mean, maybe she did, but maybe she got it at SSE, or E-Bay, or on a trip to Mexico....

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 8:38PM
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mistercross(z6b Ozarks)

I don't know anything about the subject, but "a loose stalk with individually attatched seeds" sounds like the descriptions of "pod corn" which is believed to be a primitive ancestor of modern corn. It comes in blue. And that is supposed to be "pod," not "pop."

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 2:17AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

but "a loose stalk with individually attatched seeds" sounds like the descriptions of "pod corn" which is believed to be a primitive ancestor of modern corn. It comes in blue. And that is supposed to be "pod," not "pop."

I know pod corn and a loose stalk doesn't describe pod corn at all.

And note the individually attached seeds. That's not what pod corn does either. I mean they are individual but are not loose, they have a husk for each seed.

Very few folks grow pod corn, mainly those who are interested in maize history and usually b/c they are just plain curious. But you can't really USE it for anything edible, except as feed with whole ears for cattle, etc.

And that's where it was rediscovered not too long ago, being used for cattle and chicken feed on a single farm somewhere in the south; I forget where right now.

Carolyn, who still thinks that loose stalks and individual seeds describes Sorghum very well. Yes I've grown lots of it for several historic gardens I was asked to develop several years ago, mainly for a Shaker garden since the Shakers were well known for the excellence of their brooms.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2004 at 4:50PM
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trunkbranches

I would like to get some seeds for "normal ear type" Cherokee Blue Corn. Does anyone know where to purchase or obtain some? Was this corn actually brought on the Trail of Tears, or planted by the Cherokee?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 11:35PM
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oldgrower

It sounds to me like you have a plant called Cherokee Corn Tears, also Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi). It looks very much like a corn plant when young, and develops individual, round hard shelled seeds up the stalks that are green then turning brown, black, white, or mottled when ripe.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 6:38PM
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