Maize

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Maize
Cultivars of maize
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Zea
Species: Z. mays
Binomial name
Zea mays
L.
Zea mays "fraise"
Zea mays "Oaxacan Green"

Maize (called corn in some countries) is a member of the grass family Poaceae. It is a cereal grain that was first grown by people in ancient Central America. It is now the third most important cereal crop in the world.

Maize is a leafy stalk whose kernels have seeds inside. It is an angiosperm, which means that its seeds are enclosed inside a fruit or shell. It is used as a food staple by many people in Mexico, Central and South America and parts of Africa. In Europe and the rest of North America, maize is grown mostly for use as animal feed. In Canada and the United States, maize is commonly referred to as "corn". In recent years corn has become an important part in a majority of American foods through the use of corn starch.

Maize has been a fruitful model organism for genetic research over many years: see Barbara McClintock. Research has shown that artificial selection developed maize from a Mexican plant called Teosinte.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. Doebley J. 2004. The genetics of maize evolution. Annual Reviews of Genetics 38, 37–59.