Corn or maize

Title Info
Common name Corn or maize
Scientific name Zea mays
Taxonomic group Poaceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Human impacts Agriculture
Economic botany Food plants; Industrial products
Food plants Grains and cereals
Keywords Gramineae
Date 1997
Location Amherst,Massachusetts,USA,North America
Corn or maize,<i>Zea mays</i>
Related materials: Corn

Corn or maize tassels. The top of a corn plant is known as the tassel, where the staminate or male flowers grow. Most corn grown in the USA is hybrid corn, produced by cross-breeding two inbred strains. In order to produce the hybrid seed, plants must be prevented from self-fertilizing, so much of the corn used to produce hybrids is male sterile. This New World crop was first domesticated in Mexico; the earliest varieties date from about 7,500 years before the present. This species plays an important role as livestock feed and as a source of food for humans (eaten fresh, canned, as tortillas and snacks, popped, and as corn oil). Ethanol created from maize is mixed with gasoline and used as automobile fuel in parts of the USA. Nearly half of the world's maize is grown in the USA in the "Corn Belt"--most of which was covered by tall-grass prairie and very deep, rich soils just 150 years ago.