The standard exotics


The chief project of the maize laboratory at the Missouri Botanical Garden for the past ten years has been to work at the problem of a natural classification for Zea Mays. We have attenpted to study the maize of the world, living and prehistoric, and on the basis of comparative morphology, to work out as many types and sub‑types as we could recognize. For Eastern North America the problem is virtually completed, and for Latin America as a whole it is further advanced than we would have dared to hope ten years ago, largely because a number of other individuals and institutions have taken an ever‑increasing interest in such surveys.


One of the by‑products of this project is the set of peculiar varieties which we have named the "standard exotics." These are ten varieties of maize which, of the sorts which can fairly readily be grown in the U.S. Cornbelt, come closest to demonstrating the extremes of variation in Zea Mays. Believing that they may ultimately be of wide usefulness in some practical problems as well as in many theoretical investigations, we are increasing our seed stocks of these ten varieties and putting them into cold storage. As long as the supply lasts, they will be available to maize geneticists and maize breeders upon request. Since the main seed stock is being held in Des Moines, requests for seeds should ordinarily be addressed to Dr. Brown. Ultimately, we hope to publish a sort of atlas, illustrating the plant type, kernel type, ear type, and cytological peculiarities of these ten varieties. In anticipation of this publication, we will appreciate any genetical or cytological infcrmation which any of those who grow the varieties may be able to supply. Several of the varieties have already been turned over to various investigators. They should ultimately be an important source of materials for a cooperative attack upon the genetics of quantitative characters.


LONGFELLOW FLINT. A typical yellow 8‑rowed Northern Flint. Can be grown as far south as Saint Louis.


PAPAGO FLOUR CORN. Obtained from the Papago Indians in the desert south of Tucson, Arizona. A yellow flour corn of high quality for human food. Drought resistant. Early maturing in late plantings. Slender leaves, long mesocotyl.


ZAPALUTA CHICA. From southern Mexico, but easy to grow as far north as Minnesota because it is comparatively independent of length of day. 8 to 10 rowed. Very short ears. Very dented kernel.


LADYFINGER. A late‑maturing, prolific, high quality popcorn, very similar to the ancient popcorns of Peruvian graves.


TOM THUMB. An article differentiating this and the previous variety is now in the press. Very early and small‑eared. Does well only in the north. Excellent for greenhouse experiments in the winter time.


PURPLE TAMA. Essentially a northern flint variety from the Sac and Fox Indians in Iowa. Slightly mixed with Great Plains maize. Does better in the Corn Belt than any other northern flint. Colored endosperm.


ARGENTINE POP. A small‑eared tiny kernelled, proLific variety from the Argentine. Easy to manipulate by pulling out tassel and covering the 5 to 7 small ears with a single kraft bag. Red pericarp. Similar to the grave popcorns of Argentina.


JAPANESE HULL‑LESS. Neither Japanese nor hull‑less. High quality rice popcorn very similar to the ancient popcorns of Mexico City. Low knob numbers. Difficult to smear. High row number, ears more or less fasciated.


MAIZE CHAPTLOTE. Primitive popcorn from western Mexico. Shows close similarity to teosinte in various characters. Narrow cob, irregular kernel shape, brown pericarp. Large knobs, variable in number from plant to plant.


GOURDSEED. The extreme white dent corn from the southern U.S., which is one of the ancestors of modern U.S. varieties.


Edgar Anderson

William L. Brown