Maíz Pujagua, Maíz Morado
Pujagua corn (Zea mays) is known as maíz pujagua or maíz morado. It is found in Costa Rica, principally in the area of Nicoya, in the northwestern part of the country, where it has remained part of the culture, linked with ancestral recipes of the Chorotega tribe. This is not so in other communities across the Costa Rica, where corn varieties have been lost due to lack of continued use. As for its taxonomic characteristics, it is very similar to other corn, but with medium, purple colored leaves and a thick, usually purple ear. It is a late season variety of medium size with a few deep roots. Pujagua corn was grown thoughout Mesoamerica, and mainly grown within the culture of the indigenous Chorotenga people, a tribe with Mayan origins. The corn is also present in the indigenous people of Matambú, Guanacaste and Hojancha. It is said that foods prepared with the corn have the power to bewitch others. Parents may prepare the corn in a number of ways and serve it to a prospective spouse for their child, or encourage the potential couple to eat or drink products containing pujagua corn from the same serving. It is not generally sold in its raw form, but it is sold as part of transformed products such as pozol (a fermented corn dough used to prepare a pre-Hispanic drink), chicheme (a Costa Rican drink made with cornmeal), or flour to make pinol (a pre-Hispanic drink made from a base of toasted ground corn). The commercial market for pujagua corn is small, and it is mainly grown for home consumption. The small quantities currently grown and an increase in the cultivation of other corn varieties instead means that pujagua corn may be lost in the near future.