Teosinte (United States, Australia), malchari (India), maizillo
Culms tufted, 1 to 3 m tall; leaf-blades similar to maize (Zea
mays); seeds or hardened joints of the pistillate rachis triangular or
trapezoidal, smooth and bony, whitish (Hitchcock, 1930).
Originated in Mexico, but introduced to many parts of the world.
Season of growth
It requires a good rainfall, in the annual range of 750-1 250
It will not tolerate droughts.
It requires a fertile soil, but has a wide tolerance of soil
Ability to spread naturally
It does not spread readily.
Land preparation for establishment
A well-prepared seed-bed is preferred.
Seed is drilled or hoed into rows 90-100 cm apart.
Sowing depth and cover
7-10 cm depth, well covered with soil.
Sowing time and rate
Early summer, at 10 to 60 kg/ha.
Number of seeds per kg.
15 400 (United States).
It is commonly cut for green fodder, usually with two cuts
a season, occasionally more.
Dry-matter and green-matter
Up to 70 tonnes green fodder per hectare from four to five
cuts. In the Dominican Republic it has yielded 14 600 kg/ha green fodder
and in the Philippines 29 900 kg/ha (Panikkar, 1951).
Suitability for hay and
It is commonly cut and fed green, but makes quite good silage.
It cannot endure frosts.
Maximum germination and
quality required for sale
50 percent germinable seed and 98.5 percent purity in Queensland.
Response to photoperiod
It flowers in short day lengths (Evans, Wardlaw & Williams,
Chemical analysis and
Panikkar (1951) records 4.46 percent crude protein, 32.2 percent
crude fibre, 10.8 percent ash, 1.2 percent ether extract and 51.34 percent
nitrogen-free extract, with 1.07 percent CaO and 0.36 percent P2O5 in the
dry matter of a sample from Bihar, India. An Australian analysis revealed
7.27 percent crude protein, 27.67 percent crude fibre 7.03 percent ash,
1.39 percent ether extract and 53.75 percent nitrogen-free extract.
Needs a complete fertilizer.
Compatibility with other
grasses and legumes
It is often sown with legumes such as velvet bean and soybean
to enhance its feed value.
Genetics and reproduction
2n=20 (Fedorov, 1974). It hybridizes readily with maize and
is used in breeding work to provide multiple cob production and increased