Species of Plants

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The information below is taken from the seed packets provided to us by Native Seeds, a nonprofit organization that promotes seed conservation.

Corn

Navajo Copper – Short plants, 2.5-3 feet, with small beautiful copper toned ears. Colors are reminiscent of Southwestern Sunsets. Early maturing. Originally collected from a Navajo farmer in New Mexico. Zea mays. Domesticated in Mexico by 6,700 B.C., corn is a staple food and has many ritual uses. Popcorn is used for pinole (toasted and ground) and as popped corn. Popcorns are flint corns.

San Felipe Pueblo White – Zea mays. From the northern New Mexico Pueblo of San Felipe. Used for meal, whole kernels in stews, and chicos.

Amaranth

New Mexico Variety – From a door-yard garden near Rinconada, its beautiful pink and white inflorescence yield edible golden seeds. Amaranthus hypocohondracus. Grown by the Aztecs and by Southwest Indians for millennia, the small grain is rich in lysine and the young leaves are high in calcium and iron.

Bean

Four Corners Gold – Rounded gold bean from the Four Corners Region, New Mexico. Early-maturing, with excellent green beans, and a non-vigorous climbing (pole) habitat. Phaseolus vulgaris. Common beans are a diverse and important crop to Native American farmers throughout the Southwest. They are eaten young as green beans or dried and shelled. Plants can be bush, semi-pole, or pole.

Squash

Calabaza Temporal – Hubbard type squash from the Manzano Mountains of New Mexico. Light green skin with yellow to orange flesh. Up to 25 lbs with irrigation. 10 lbs when dry farmed. Cucurbita maxima. Squash fruits vary in shape, color and flavor. Flowers, seeds and growing tips of vines are all edible. All fruits can be eaten when small and immature as summer squash, and mature as winter squash.

Gourd

Zia Pueblo Canteen – Small canteen gourds from Zia Pueblo in New Mexico. Produces gourds about 4 to 6 inches in diameter, with short tapering tops. Lagenaria siceraria. The earliest known domesticated plant. Used for ladles, rattles, canteens or containers, as well as musical instruments. Can be carved burned or painted.

Sunflower

Hopi Mixed – Tall single-headed plants with massive flower heads. Seeds are white/black striped, solid black, and gray/black striped. An early collection from Kykotsmovi. Helianthus annuus. A native American domesticate, the seeds are eaten raw or roasted, pressed for oil, planted as an ornamental or for bird feed.

Herb

Corrales Azafran – This red/orange thistle-like flower was used in cooking as a saffron substitute. Keeps well as dried flower (though very prickly). Collected in Corrales, New Mexico. Carthamus tinctorius. Herbs give distinctive flavors to regional dishes, and their healing properties are known to local peoples. They can be grown in containers as well as gardens.

Devil’s Claw

San Carlos Apache Wild – Black seeds, short claws. Flowers are off-white with pale pink upper lobes. Large bushy plants. Wild claws were used in basketry until the domestication process resulted in plants with considerably longer, more pliant claws. Proboscidea parviflora var. parviflora. Cultivated by many Southwest tribes. The black fiber of the fruit or “claw” is used in basketry. Seeds are rich in oil and protien, and dried seeds can be peeled and eaten. Very heat tolerant, the flowers and foliage make these attractive landscape plants.

Tohono O’odham Domesticated – “i:hug” (“ee hook”). Selected by basket makers for long claws (up to 15 inches), which are buried to preserve their black color. White Seeds. Proboscidea parviflora var. hohokamiana. Cultivated by many Southwest tribes. The black fiber of the fruit or “claw” is used in basketry. Seeds are rich in oil and protien, and dried seeds can be peeled and eaten. Very heat tolerant, the flowers and foliage make these attractive landscape plants. 

One thought on “Species of Plants

  1. Pingback: The Seeds Have Been Sown | Coronado Historic Site

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