black mexican / black aztec corn... who is who?

greentongueApril 7, 2008

I have googled til I'm going bezerker than I already am to trying to differentiate between so many vendor's descriptions.

Can anyone tell me... once and for all.... if BLACK MEXICAN and BLACK AZTEC are or are not the same variety?

Baker Creek suggests they are different names for same variety; Southern Exposure Seed Exchange uses other name synonyms for Black Mexican.

I grew Black Mexican from Johnny's very successfully in my first years in Arkansas (1977 - 79)... it will even crop with one small ear in burned out cotton soil, when hybrid sweet corns won't even develop tassles or silks due to lack of nutrients.

I grew Black Aztec last year in moderately improved soil following okra and squash and with composting within reach of its roots... got a fabulous crop.... and a heartbreak!

We settled for eating only the 2nd ears and the crumbs, as I was saving a seed crop. Then my seed revealed OBVIOUS CROSSING with dent / flint corns of various colors. My crop still resides in a storage shed to become cornmeal some day! The seed supplier DID NOT reply to my inquiry with pictures of my crop, which is no way to gain customer confidence. They got NO SEED ORDER from me this year!!

I ordered seed from 3 totally different suppliers this year...this time separated by 1000's of miles from each other. I'm trying again!! Hoping sincerely some mega-corp didn't grow the seed and sell it to everybody!

If anyone can DEFINITELY unconfuse the issue of whether or not Black Mexican and Black Aztec are separate varieties, I would be most appreciative.

greentongue Jan in Arkansas Ozarks

One crop of sweet corn in the ground / planting Black Aztec AND Black Mexican side by side tomorrow. That's 28 days spacing between LOWEST expected maturities on the two varieties. The WORST that happens is crop failure. The best is that we (or deer or raccoons--- maybe all of us?) eat corn this year... AND I HAVE A WORTHY SEED CROP TO OFFER THRU SEED SAVERS EXCHANGE in 2009

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Black Mexican and Black Aztec are synonyms, presumably the same as Iroquois Black Puckers. The names were apparently invented to make a New England variety of corn seem more exotic. The earliest reference to the name 'Black Mexican' I've found is Gregory (1858):

'Several collections of excellent sweet corn were exhibited by S. A. Merrill, of Salem, and others, but among them all we did not find any specimens of the Black Mexican. Of ten varieties, which we tested the past season, this was decidedly the sweetest. The ear is rather below the average size, and matures somewhat late, the kernels when ripe being of a rich, dark, purple color, but when in the milk but slightly tinged with purple. The Black Mexican is prolific, will bear close planting, and we can confidently recommend it to the gardeners and farmers of Essex.'

Here is a link that might be useful: Mass. State Board of Agriculture report for 1858

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:22AM
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