Indologist confirms maize in ancient sculptures

Hu McCulloch mcculloch.2 at
Mon Nov 16 14:31:59 EST 1998

lbrman at writes:

>In article <mcculloch.2.70.3641AC75 at>,
>  mcculloch.2 at (Hu McCulloch) wrote:
>> Graham Harden had written, concerning the 12th-13th c Hoysala
>> temple carvings identified as maize by Johannessen and Parker
>> (1989 _Economic Botany_) and now confirmed by Shakti M Gupta
>> (_Plants in Indian Temple Art_, 1996),

>I have two Climbing Ceriman (Monstera deliciosa) plants growing in my
>greenhouse.  The fruit develops in a hard leathery sheath, and it looks very
>much like an ear of corn.  I have not yet had the pleasure of tasting one,
>since for some reason, they don't ripen, just go from green to rotten.

Sounds like these could be taken for maize with the husks in place.
Johannessen and Parker  (_Economic Botany_ 1989) claim that a few
of the Hoysala sculptures are cobs with husks on.  However, the great
majority have the husks off and show maize-like kernels, often in paired
lengthwise parallel rows.  See my website at
and Yuri Kuchinski's site, linked there.

Do you know if the fruit of the Ceriman/Monstera
deliciosa/spit leaf philodendron/Mexican breadfruit has kernels inside
its sheath, and if so, how they are arranged?  Are there any photos of
it on the web?  There is a nice shot of its exotic flower linked at 
<>, and several of its familiar
foliage, but I haven't found one of its fruit yet.  Does the sheath 
have a curl of material resembling corn silk at its apex?  Such 
a curl does appear in some of the Hoysala sculputures.

Of course, whether the objects are maize or ceriman, they still
represent a New World species in a 13th century or earlier Old 
World context.  

-- Hu McCulloch

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