Great to be here!

Hello everyone. New here. First I would like to thank for the opportunity of being here. I believe the work being done is amazing. Hopefully I will be able to join to party soon. I do have TPS growing already from a random ebay listing, so technically I have yet to open my first christmass present.

I am in the tropics with a very heavy yearly rainfall, so I may be able to work on things that would otherwise be hard or impossible for some other members. Right now I am breeding many vegetables to see which perform better, some of them I intent to do something akin to Lofthouse’s landrace development, for others the plan is the complete opposite, as in Cucurbita moschata which is naturally a landrace here.

I am currently germinating Achira (Canna indica) from local populations with the intent of comparing what makes a good Achira rhizome.

Interestingly I believe there were 2 main ‚Äúmigrations‚ÄĚ or genetic importations to the island. Most of the local vegetables and fruits were brought either with maya decendant peoples from mesoamerica and their crops (maize, jicama, pitahaya) and/or seem to have been a group or groups originating in the eastern andean amazonian slopes and they too brought their crops (Achira, leren, maybe cassava).

My opinion is that many of the traiditional ‚Äústaple‚ÄĚ (most likely seasonal) crops the natives ate, kept and prepared, first many if not most are either abandoned and possibly unknown, and secondly by today standarts most of these plants would be considered semi-domesticated at best.

Having said all that I believe very important work is being done here, so once again, I congratutale!

Baby achira

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Welcome to the forum, Jose! Is achira a common food in Puerto Rico?

I dont think people eat it regularly. People tend to recognize it more for the rattles. It is called ‚Äúplanta de maraca‚ÄĚ literaly ‚Äúrattle plant‚ÄĚ. It is very likely that it may still be consumed in some of the more rural areas, but modernity has hit hard here. They are extremely common though.

There are wild red and yellow flowered ones, the yellow ones having a more showy flower usually, I suppose they are two distinct species. I have never eaten them and I dont know what constitutes a ‚Äúgood achira rhizome‚ÄĚ, thats why I decided to sprout a bunch of seeds(rather than pull my plants). All of them were collected from a single wild plant growing in my terrain. I plan to collect from more populations eventually.

I have found some information mostly in spanish, not sure how is your spanish, but it seems that during the 1850s there was a lot of hibriding done on Cannas in general, geared exclusively towards ornamental plant development. Many of the hibrids were in sterile.

The quiality of the starch from achira is regarded as being top of the line when it comes to starches. It is cultivated extensively in some areas of south and central america. This one is certainly a good canditate for breeding.

Something that has really stood out so far is the fact that achira is also known as ‚Äėarawak imocoma‚Äô, a rather curious name given the fact that the natives tainos are also called arawak sometimes.