ESTRADA-FLORES, JULIETA G.1 and HEIKE VIBRANS2.* 1Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico, Instituto Literario 100, Toluca, Estado de Mexico, Mexico; 2Laboratorio de Etnobotanica, Especialidad de Botanica, Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agricolas, km 35.5 carretera Mexico-Texcoco, 56230 Montecillo, Estado de Mexico, Mexico. - Reconstructing the spread of Toluca teosinte (Zea mays subsp. mexicana).
Zea mays subsp. mexicana, the Chalco teosinte, was
recently shown to be widespread in the Valley of Toluca. It is
distributed in a larger area than the Chalco populations themselves.
Also, it grows at higher altitudes. Its presence is supposed to be the
result of introduction. Several surveys of teosinte and weeds by
competent biologists in the 1960's failed to find the populations.
Herbarium specimens only exist for the last 10 years. - In 1995, we
systematically interviewed farmers about their recollections of the
time of the introduction. The results show that teosinte has been
present for at least 40 years, so they were missed in the 60s. Perhaps
the populations were still small, and restricted to a not very
accessible area on the former lake bottom in the southeast of the
Valley. Teosinte is still in expansion. Comparison of the interviews
with population density data show that the likely area of early
introduction coincides with the highest population densities today. -
It is probable that teosinte was introduced inadvertently, as numerous
folk names are applied to the plant in the Valley, many of which
appear to be newly minted. The widespread common name of
"acece" in the Valley of Chalco was not found, nor the names
derived from the roadrunner bird, huiscatote, which are associated
with the Balsas teosinte growing a few kilometers further south and
Key words: ethnobotany, invasion, Mexico, teosinte, Toluca valley, Zea mays ssp. mexicana