Monday, 23 April 2018

Purple sweet corn in Australia

I bred Immali corn a few years ago in Central West NSW.  It is a coloured sweet corn.  As you can see from the pictures it is purple/pink and white sweet corn.  If mostly dark seeds are planted the cobs are rather dark.  If a mix of white and dark seeds are planted the cobs will be lighter in colour.

Immali corn was bred to be high in anthocyanin (the same cancer fighting antioxidant that is found in blueberries), antioxidant rich, high yielding, sweet corn that is far more nutritious than yellow sweet corn.

Immali corn is a relatively short plant which tillers and is suitable for backyard gardeners.  I have only grown it organically since I started to breed it and never had pest issues.  This means it is well suited to organic gardeners and permaculture gardens.

Immali corn is a stable variety and I sell seeds through my for sale page.  As Immali corn is stable you can save the seeds and grow this year after year.  I sell seeds that are a mix of purple and white sweet corn, most people plant all of them and get some amazing looking cobs.

Purple sweet corn Australia, Immali corn
Immali corn - coloured sweetcorn bred in Australia
Immali corn, when picked early and 50/50 white/purple seeds are planted it look s like this

Immali corn
Immali corn, I planted mostly dark seeds in this bed to get more coloured seeds in the cobs
Immali corn - purple white sweetcorn
Recently I was told that a certain university in Australia is almost ready to start taste testing on "the first coloured sweet corn bred in Australia".  Their purple sweet corn looks similar to Immali corn, but it does not have any white seeds, and is not yet stable.  It was created by "scientists working with horticulturalists to create corn for the health conscious".  The person who told me knew about my Immali corn and sent me a link to several articles.

You can understand my frustration as I bred and stabilised Immali corn a few years before they even started their breeding.  Admittedly Immali corn is bicolour, meaning white and purple/pink.  But it is still reasonably purple, and is certainly what I would consider to be "coloured sweet corn"!  As you can see the cobs can be rather dark when only dark seeds are planted.

Immali corn is high in antioxidants and is great for the health conscious.  I have already achieved everything that they have set out to produce.

I am certainly not the first in Australia to breed coloured sweet corn.  I am just a backyard breeder, and I have already produced something that the University is only now working towards and claiming that this is new.

I have less money, less resources, less time, less access to germplasm, far less technology, and look what I have created.  It may surprise you to know that many of the best vegetables and berries for home gardeners were originally bred by people like me in their back yards.

I guess you can't fight marketing.

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