Three Sisters (agriculture)

main agricultural crops of various Native American groups in North America

The Three Sisters are three types of crops. They are winter squash, maize ("corn"), and beans. Native Americans are known to use these crops. They were originally from Mesoamerica (present-day Mexico). Companion planting was often used with these crops. These crops could grow better when combined. The crops were important in Cahokian, Mississippian, Muscogee, Haudenosaunee, Maya, Mandan and Iroquois cultures. The Three Sisters were important for food and trade. The crops, especially maize helped population growth.[1]

Illustration of cornstalk on which bean plants are climbing, surrounded at the base with leaves and fruit of a pumpkin vine
Maize, climbing beans, and winter squash planted together


  1. "The Three Sisters of Indigenous American Agriculture | National Agricultural Library". Retrieved 2022-07-28.