Economic Botany 49(2): 172-182 (Apr-June, 1995)
A Cross between Two Maize Relatives: Tripsacum dactyloides and Zea diploperennis (Poaceae)
Mary Eubanks

Crosses between Tripsacum dactyloides and teosinte (Zea diploperennis) using standard pollination technique have been successfully attempted and six highly fertile hybrid plants obtained. Previous research had shown other teosintes to be cross-incompatible with Tripsacum and maize to be crossable but highly intersterile with Tripsacum. Some investigators believe that Tripsacum played a prominent role in the origin of maize; the Tripsacum-diploperennis hybrid provides evidence to support that idea. Ears produced by the hybrid have paired kernel rows, a distinctive characteristic of the oldest archaeological maize that none of the wild relatives have. This unique hybrid is described and discussed in terms of its possible role in the origin and evolution of maize.

Fig. 1. Hybrid plant derived from cross between
Tripsacum dactyloides and Zea diploperennis.