Mother Earth News Blogs > Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.

The Astonishing Colors of Rainbow Indian Corn

By Cheryl Long

Tags: indian corn, native american corn, carls glass gems, mother earth news,

The video slideshow below reveals the sacred magic contained in the Native American corn that sustained many Indian tribes for thousands of years before professional plant breeders turned it into an industrial feedstock. The lustrous, jewel-like colors of the Indian corns shown in the slideshow were selected by Greg Schoen and Jose Lucero, from ‘Carl’s Glass Gems’ flint corn, developed by Native American corn expert Carl Barnes.

The story of this fascinating open-pollinated heirloom corn is one of chance encounters, determined experimentation and, ultimately, the preservation of a nearly lost heritage. Read more in Greg Schoen’s article, “The Origins and Journey of ‘Carl’s Glass Gems’ Rainbow Corn.”


The seed supply for this corn is currently very limited. 'Carl's Glass Gems' seed is now available from Native Seeds/SEARCH. In addition, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is also growing this rainbow Indian corn and hopes to offer it in an upcoming catalog. 

beautiful corn

Beautiful Corn by Anthony Boutard

Corn is the grain of the Americas.  In terms of culinary uses, it is amazingly diverse, reflecting the breathtaking variety of the continents and environments from which it evolved.  Much more than a simple how-to book, Beautiful Corn weaves together this unique plant’s contribution to our culture, its distinctive biology and the practical information needed to grow and enjoy it at home.  An unabashed celebration of this neglected culinary treasure, Beautiful Corn will forever change the way you view this remarkable plant.

Highly recommended by the Mother Earth News Editors. Order here.

Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on .