Also known as Maize, corn, a cereal grain has been introduced to the world about 10,000 years ago. The cultivation of the corn started from a wild grass that was known as the teosinte. This was a very different crop from the one seen in the modern times. The kernels were small in size and were not situated so close to each other as we see in the ear of the corn today.
The indigenous people of southern Mexico had first started to domesticate the crop. It eventually spread to north to what is now the southwestern United States and also to south as far as Peru. It gradually became the food staple of the North and South Americans.
At the time of Columbus’s expeditions to Americas, corn was the primary food staple of the natives there. The Spanish settlers began to add corn to their diet. Corn was also taken back to Spain and other Europeans countries and introduced to populations there. Since corn has the ability to grow in diverse climates, it quickly took roots in Europe, then began to spread to Africa and Asia.
The corn plant has an erect and solid stem and large leaves. The corn kernels or seeds form on a long drum like surface called the ear. Corn comes in different varieties and colors, including white, pink, blue, red, black, and yellow, of which the yellow and the white are the most common. Each ear of the corn contains shucks of husks which are known as the modified leaves. A lot of the industrial varieties of corn are now modified genetically so that they can resist pests and herbicides.
United States is the leading producer and exporter of corn. China, Brazil, India, Argentina, Ukraine, Mexico, Indonesia, France and South Africa are the next biggest corn producers.
Corn is now an important food staple around the world, feeding both humans as well as animals.Corn, however, is no longer just a food item. It is now also used in plastics, batteries, cosmetic and hygiene products, such as deodorants, and in medicines as well, most popular being the cough drops.
The author of this article Amita Vadlamudi is a long time blogger and writer of articles on varied topics. Ms. Vadlamudi’s resume, her other articles, and her favorite places can be found on the following web sites.