Pawnee corn pix

Our friend Karen Williams at the USDA writes:

The story of the Pawnee maize is fascinating! You have probably seen the display cases in Beltsville of the collection of maize varieties. Years ago, David and I were involved in getting all the samples photographed. Attached are photos of the 3 samples identified as Pawnee varieties. You are welcome to post these to your blog, if you think they are of interest.

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Unfortunately, the display cases are so old (1930s or earlier) that no documentation on their history exists. We don’t even know who collected them. They predate the NPGS so there are no corresponding germplasm samples.

So lets really push our luck here, and ask whether anyone out there has any information about the USDA’s display case collections?

3 Replies to “Pawnee corn pix”

  1. I don’t have any insight into that, but you might check with the colleges in the area as well. I had one of those student projects in college that was re-cataloging an antique stuffed bird display and there were some records with it. They were old typewritten file cards in a drawer in the dusty basement. But they existed. There are a lot of collections like that in college basements.

  2. The center ear on the left picture appears to be the Pawnee Blue flour, a blue-black flour corn with ears 8″ to 10″ long, usually 8 rowed, plants 6′ to 8′ tall, 110 day variety.

    The center ear in the right picture looks like Pawnee Red Flour corn, color light red, ears 6″ long.

    “Corn Among the Indians of the Upper Missouri” by Will and Hyde is the best information on these corns from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

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