Of the various materials which go to the fabrication of plaited head-gear the most important is wheaten straw.
If pollen is scarce, a substitute in the form of either pea-meal or wheaten flour must be supplied to the bees, as brood-rearing cannot make headway without the nitrogenous element indispensable in the food on which the young are reared.
The great majority of the people are unused to wheaten bread, using the coarse flour of the mandioca root instead, consequently the demand for wheat and flour is confined to the large cities, which can obtain them from Argentina more cheaply than they can be produced in the country.
At marriage they burn benzoin with nim seeds (Melia Azadirachta, Roxburgh) to keep off evil spirits, and prepare the bride-cakes by putting a quantity of benzoin between layers of wheaten dough, closed all round, and frying them in clarified butter.
The grain, which is very nutritious, is used in the form of groats, and makes excellent bread when mixed with wheaten flour.