April 30, 2009

quinoa flowers

The quinoa is a food plant which was extensively cultivated in the Andean region by pre-Columbian cultures some 5,000 years ago and was used in the diet of the settlers both of the inter-Andean valleys which are very cold high areas, and of the high plateaus. After maize, it has occupied the most prominent place among Andean grains. Quinoa grains range in color from ivory to pinks, brown to reds, or almost black depending on the variety.

The quinoa's flowers are visible across the Altiplano during the growing season. These quinoa flowers are cultivated by a cooperative of women in Oruro, Bolivia at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level. Most of the women in the cooperative are single mothers who support their own nursery with proceeds from the sales fo the dried quinoa flowers. They also use part of the quinoa harvest to feed the small children at the nursery.
This group of women are being assisted by a USAID funded effort in Bolivia.

Dried flowers are used to make beautiful arrangements. The topiaries like the one she is making in the photo are long lasting and so beautiful!!!!! 

 The flowers of the quinoa are brown, red and green, but here they treat them with glycerin and dyes to intensify the color. 


  1. I didn't know how beautiful this healthy grain is!

  2. Yes, the flowers of the quinoa are beautiful. It is amazing to see them in flower when you travel from Cochabamba (where I have my workshop) to La Paz.


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