Teosinte is a beautiful plant that looks and behaves very much like corn, that is until it goes to tassel! It is one of the ancient forms of corn, and if you are interested in reliving crop history, it is a fun and wonderful crop to grow to inspire yourself. How this eventually became the corn that we know with thousands of landrace varieties is as perplexing as any mystery can be.
Teosinte will flourish even in the North, but if your goal is to produce the unusual seed spikes, you will need to be in the South, as it just does not have time to set seed before frost in the North. Our plants in Connecticut grew almost 10 feet tall but started tasseling in late October, and the frost caught them after that. Teosinte will need at least 5-6 months of good weather to produce a crop and should do great everywhere in the South. The grains are actually edible, although a bit gritty because of the thick seed coat. They can be ground like other corn. We believe this to be “diploperennis,” but with further scrutiny think it could be another species of ancient corn!