September 14, 2009, Posted by Carmen Lopez Marshall at 7:30 pm | No Comments

Maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays, pronounced /?me?z/; also known in some countries as corn), is a starch. domesticated in Mesoamerica and subsequently spread throughout the American continents. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, maize spread to the rest of the world.

Maize is the most widely grown crop in the Americas (332 million metric tons annually in the United States alone). Hybrid maize, because of its high grain yield as a result of heterosis (‘hybrid vigor’), is preferred by farmers over conventional varieties. While some maize varieties grow up to 7 metres (23 ft) tall, most commercially grown maize has been bred for a standardized height of 2.5 metres (8 ft). Sweet corn is usually shorter than field-corn varieties.

The term maize derives from the Spanish form of the indigenous Taino word for the plant, maĆ­z. This was the form most commonly heard in the United Kingdom.

In the United States and Canada the usual term is “corn”. This was originally the English term for any grain, but now usually refers to maize, having been shortened from the term “Indian corn.” Indian corn is currently often used in the US and Canada to refer specifically to multicolored “field corn” cultivars.

In scientific and formal usage, “maize” is normally used in a global context. Equally, in bulk trading contexts, “corn” is used most. In the UK, Australia and other English-speaking countries, “corn” is often used in culinary contexts, particularly in naming products such as popcorn and corn flakes, but “maize” is used in agriculture and science.


Chemicals and medicines
Ornamental and other uses
Maize as a commodity
In art

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