A unique method shared by many indigenous North American peoples was the growing of corn, beans, and squash together in what was called "The Three Sisters." To the Haudenosaunee, these were the Corn Maiden, Bean Maiden, and Squash Maiden. The purposes were simple: The corn was the staple mother of many Native peoples and was the support for the nitrogen fixing beans to climb upon, since bush beans were a colonial, European creation. The squash served as animal deterrent with its prickly and large leaves, which also shaded the soil to keep it cool and moist and help with weed control. Even more so, these three plants were a complete nutritional mix as well, preventing a defiency by consuming just one of the plants. Many Nations also grew a Four or Five Sisters featuring tobacco and sunflowers, which this collection is a great take upon. The key to a successful Three Sisters garden is using the proper varieties! Modern bred corn, beans and squash do not work well because they are meant to be grown individually and lack any sort of spiritual connection or memory of the old days with their other sisters. Varieties from the same Nation or tribe work best, as mixing varieties often leads to low success rates. Comes with planting instructions sheet!


This Collection from us at Roughwood features a single packet of the following:


Oneida White Flour Corn- traditional white flour corn from the Oneida Nation. Represents a once common genepool of Eastern Woodland white flour corns. Finger Squash- Originally an indigenous Lenape Squash (Unalachtigo Soeakers) from Raccoon Creek, South New Jersey that was wrongfully named Yugoslavian Finger Fruit. Great as a summer squash and as a winter baking type or fall decoration. ~80 seed per packet.


Finger Squash- C.pepo, falsely accused as being from Yugoslavia, this is actually a Lenape tribal squash from Raccoon Creek, New Jersey. Large fruits and productive make this a great vareity! Great as a summer or winter squash! ~20 seed minimum per packet. 


Cornplanter Yellow Pole Bean- yellow seeded pole bean from the Seneca Nation that was once common to most Eastern Woodland tribes. Produces delicious yellow or light brown beans that are great dry or as a greenbean. ~20 seed per packet


Roughwood Sunflower- exclusive and stunning sunflower from numerous indigenous varieties bred together to create a diverse mix of seed colors and flower colors on varied height stalks. 1tsp per packet.


Lenape Sacred Tobacco- N. rustica. sacred tobacco preserved by Nora Thompson Dean used exclusvely for ceremonies and sacred ritual work. 1/4-1/2tsp per packet.




(If you are of Native heritage and want to grow these varieties, please contact us to recieve this and any other Native variety for free under our Roughwood Indigenous Peoples Program.)

Five Sister Collection