teosinte or teosinite?

Heike Vibrans heike at COLPOS.COLPOS.MX
Sun Jan 4 10:49:04 CST 2004

In English teosinte is the common orthography. In
Spanish-speaking scientific circles we usually use
teocintle, which is derived from Nahuatl (teo- means holy
or god, yes, just like in greek, and centli is the grain;
the words change in combinations). The name was collected
in Guatemala, apparently, and stuck to the plant in the
scientific literature, even though it is quite unknown as
a common name in its main distribution area. The Balsas
teosinte, which is is probably the ancestor of cultivated
corn, usually has common names derived from the
roadrunner, the bird, that is (huascatote). There are
numerous other names, among them madre de maiz (mother of

With best wishes for the new year,


>At 13:23 2004-01-04 +0900, Jo Suweon wrote:
>>Could anyone explain to me which is right, teosinte or
>>teosinite, or are
>>the two actually same thing?
>Teosinte is the commonly used name in English and
>Spanish. My understanding
>is that the original Nahuatl name is teosintli.

Dra. Heike Vibrans L.
Laboratorio de Etnobotánica
Programa de Botánica
Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agrícolas
km 35.5 carr. México-Texcoco
56230 Montecillo
Estado de México, Mexico

Tel. +52 (595) 95 20 200 Ext. 1335 (directo), 1331
(secretaria), 1330 (dirección)
Fax. +52 (595) 95 20 247
Correo electrónico: heike at colpos.mx (trabajo),
heike_texcoco at yahoo.com.mx

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