1. Maize from Michoacan. - Professor Ralph Beals of the University of California in making a detailed ethnographic study of two neighboring Tarascan villages in Michoacan, Mexico, collected 43 varieties of maize which were loaned me for study. There were 55 ears in all, from each of which I grew ten or more plants at the Blandy Experimental Farm during 1942. The ears were photographed, herbarium specimens were made of the leaves and tassels, measurements and notes were made on the living plants, and these data in condensed tabular form will eventually appear as an appendix to Professor Beals' monograph.
As a whole, the maize belongs to the race which Cutler and I have recently termed "Mexican Pyramidal". The ears taper sharply and regularly, moat of them show more or less denting, and there is a strong but variable tendency to irregular rows. The plants are coarse but the leaves break readily in the wind. They are very susceptible to smut. The tassels have few branches or none at all. At least three sub-races are grown in these two neighboring villages. For two of these there was enough material to define the central core of their variation. BLACK MAIZE is grown only below 8500 feet in gardens close to the homes. Characteristically it has large smoothly-dented kernels with blue or purple aleurone, on a tapering ear about 15cm. long. TULUKENIO varieties are grown only above 8500 feet in small isolated plots in the mountains. In size the ears vary from as large as Black Maize to very small nubbins. Their kernels vary greatly in size and shape but tend to be small, more or less pointed, and slightly dented. While a few have colorless seedcoats, most of them are lightly suffused or stained with red or reddish brown. None of them have dark aleurone. In such technical tassel characters as glume length, tassel branch number, and percentage of condensed internodes, the Tulukenio varieties are closer to Pima-Papago maize than to Mexican Pyramidal. The extreme variants of Tulukenio are small-cobbed, non-tapering, early seasoned, flinty, undented, and many tillered. They may possibly reflect a primitive small-cobbed race something like the maize of the prehistoric Basket Makers. Taken in conjunction with Mangelsdorf and Cameron's recent analysis of knob number in Guatemalan maize, the differences between the Tulukenio and the Black Maize varieties from the same village demonstrate the importance of considering altitude above sea level in interpreting the history and development of Zea mays.
Of the three Tulukenio varieties which were examined cytologically, two had 'B' chromosomes and the total knob numbers were 4, 4, and 7. The two Black Maize varieties which we examined had no 'B' chromosomes and had total knob numbers of 5 and 6. Most of the knobs were small, compared to those in the maize from western Mexico (Jalisco).