I live in dryland Montana, far north from Rio Lucio's homeland. About 30 years ago I grew many desert corns in a drought year without water for a stress test. All plants were stunted, under 2' tall. Rio Lucio was the stress winner. It had the ability to miniaturize it's ears, so it had maybe 500 kernels, but they were tiny. Other lines failed or had a few large kernels. When given water, Rio Lucio makes huge ears. I selected them for long and thin so they would dry faster. After 3 years up north they all began maturing on time dependably.
I crossbred the Rio Lucio to my Painted Mountain Corn for a few years. Then I crossed it again to Painted Mtn. Then for 20 years I kept a strain going which was 25% Rio Lucio. It did well in many places in the world, probably due to the genetic diversity and adaptability. Eventually I added that line about 50% to my Painted Mountain population.
The Southern Rockies Mountain corns have a whole different ancestry than the Northern Plains Indian corns. They also have to adapt to a short season and cold nights in the mountains at 8,000' elevation. By combining the two races, and 30 years of selection I achieved a fairly uniform population that has a diversity of genes for stress survival.
The high mountain desert corns like Rio Lucio have a lot of vigor, big ears, are early maturing and can take stress. This regional race of corn has very few representatives left. They have never been used in breeding modern corns. They should be.
I am also working with other Mountain Concho Corns.
Dave Christensen (406) 930-1663 firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Timber, Montana