Corn plant, also referred to as maize, is among the highest growing crops in the world. Both corn and maize come from the same cereal grain. The only difference is corn is primarily versed in North American English while maize is used in British English. Corn is a member of the Poaceae grass family, which also contains rye, wheat, and oats which are all commercially important grasses. It’s produced mostly for its edible ears, which produce kernels or seeds, that are termed as fruits. Corn is the world’s second most extensively produced crop, and it is used as cattle feed, food, industrial raw material, and biofuels. It’s fascinating to learn that anything on a corn plant, including the husks, kernels, and stem, may be used and nothing is wasted.
History of the Corn/Maize Plant
Founded in America, the corn or a maize plant was first seen in Southern Mexico, around 10,000 years ago.” Corn people” is how Mexicans identify to themselves. It’s one of those plants that can’t thrive in the natural and is, in essence, a human invention that can only exist if it’s sown and cared for by humans. Teosinte, a natural herb, was used to cultivate the maize plant. Native Americans trained European settlers how to grow maize, and after travelers like Christopher Columbus reintroduced the plant to the European peninsula, corn spread to every corner of the globe. Corn, rather than bouquets, has historically been observed on the tombstones of farmers. The word “corn” has been utilized in texts dating back to the bible to relate to grains in general and to denote spiritual goodness, fertility, and abundance.
Scientific Classification of the Corn/Maize Plant
The corn plant refers to the kingdom of Plantae. The subkingdom of this corn plant is Tracheobionta and its superdivision is termed as Spermatophyta. Talking about its division, it is known as Magnoliophyta and the class of the corn/maize plant is Liliopsida. The subclass of this plant is Commelinidae and it comprises the family named Poaceae. Belonging to the genus Zea L., the corn plant comes from the species of Zea Mays L.
Specifications of the Corn/Maize Plant
- Corn is a tall and lengthy grass plant with a huge height of 15 feet.
- The stem of the corn plant is a solid stout one.
- The leaves of this maize plant are placed alternatively on both sides of the stem. These leaves are appeared to be large with narrow branches.
- Corn or a maize plant is a monoecious plant which means both the female and male flowers can grow on it.
- The female flower part of the corn plant tends to develop on the corn ears. These female flower parts seem to be thread-like silk structures that grow from the corn ears.
- These corn ears are enclosed within the modified leaves known as husks.
- The male flower part of the corn plant develops on the tassel, which can be referred to as the tip of the primary axis of the stem.
Corn/Maize Plant Root System
A corn plant’s roots serve as the basis for its growth. The root system of every crop plant is important in plant biology because it helps to accept and appreciate shoot growth while allowing for good yields. The maize plant features a Fibrous root system as well as being a monocot. A maize plant’s roots can stretch up to 2 meters below and 1.5 meters laterally. The maize root system consists of two different roots, named Embryonic roots and Nodal roots or Post-embryonic roots.
- Throughout the early phases of seedling growth, the embryonic root system is prominent. From the initial stages of plant growth, the germinating seedling is shielded by a protective structure. As the plant matures, adventurous seminal roots emerge from the stocks just beneath the soil’s surface, and the primary root breaches beyond the protective structure.
- The term “adventitious” is used to describe development from wounds on the plant, although such development in the maize plant isn’t really “adventitious” because it is a typical occurrence. However, the phrase is still used to denote this development. A shoot-borne rootstock growing from the adventitious roots is known as an adult rootstock.
- Seminal roots of the corn plant emerge from the plant’s stalk (shoot) just above the ground and extend downwards in a stand-like fashion into the soil. As a result, they’re also called brace roots, as they serve to build and enhance the plant.
- During the latter stages of the corn plant development, the primary and the seminal roots start producing lateral roots that grow from numerous nodal locations.
- The growth of the maize plant may occur in an upward or horizontal direction at first due to the positioning of the seminal roots, but as they expand, they continue to twist downwards. The procedure of detasseling corn entails plucking the tassels or male flowers at the tops of the plants and planting them in the soil. This is bound to preserve pollination under control. The goal of detasseling is to cross-breed or hybridize two maize kinds.
Uses of the Maize or Corn
Corn is used in a wide range of products, including food, industrial raw materials, and business products in a wide range of industries. Corn is used in about a quarter of all foods sold at supermarkets. The following are some of the Corn’s uses in our day-to-day lives:
- Many hair conditioners contain hydrolyzed corn protein as an active component.
- Corn seed and oil can also be used to moisturize the skin.
- Cleaning agents include corn acid and potassium cornet, whereas emulsifiers include corn oil, maize glycerides, and potassium cornet.
- Corn starch is a staple constituent in mineral-based cosmetics because of its binding qualities.
2. Commercial Purposes
- Corn is used to making plastics because it is less expensive than oil.
- Corn is used to make ethanol, which is used to power automobiles. Corn starch is also utilized in the manufacture of batteries. “Bioelectricity” is the name given to this type of energy.
- Corn starch is a key element in matchsticks, and corn-based pellets are commonly used in pellet stoves for residential heating.
- Corn is also used in the manufacturing of textiles.
- Coloring crayons are also made from corn derivatives.
- Corn syrup is widely used as a sugar alternative, and due to the moldability of corn starch, corn is also employed in candy making.
- Cornmeal and maize starch are used in a lot of adhesives. Corn germ, derived after oil extraction, is utilized in the production of commercial adhesives.
- Corn starch’s absorbing properties are also used in diaper manufacturing.
3. Medicinal Purposes
- Corn starch is applied as a binder in many medications, whether it’s to coat tablets or keep pills from crumbling.
- Corns are the source of commercially available vitamin C.
- Corn silk is used to treat urinary infections, diabetes, heart disease, weariness, and high blood pressure, among other problems.
- Corn is gluten-free, and as a result, it is highly suggested in locations where gluten-related inflammatory illnesses, such as thyroid, might occur.
- Corn is also beneficial to ladies who desire to increase their estrogen levels.
- Since kidney stones are made up of small crystallized deposits that pile up over time, similar to bacteria in the urinary system, increased urine flow caused by corn silk tea consumption lessens the chance for the sediments that make up the stones to clump up and keep themselves in place. Corn silk tea is used to avoid kidney stones rather than to break up stones that have already formed inside the body.
- Corn silks’ anti-inflammatory properties may aid to alleviate the discomfort linked with arthritis and gout.
- Corn silk tea drinking may assist lower cholesterol levels and preventing significant medical diseases such as heart disease and stroke that can occur as a result of excessive cholesterol levels.
- Corn silk tea may benefit heart failure individuals who have difficulties flowing enough blood to all regions of their body and retaining too much fluid.
- Corn silks contain vitamin K, which can aid in blood clotting and avoid harmful levels of blood loss.
- To assist relieve swelling and pain related to boils, bites, and abrasions, apply Lukewarm to slightly heated corn silk tea to the stated topical skin conditions.
What Are Some Interesting Facts About the Maize/Corn Plant?
Corn is versatile enough to be utilized in about 3,500 distinct ways. With the exception of Antarctica, the corn plant is grown on every continent. Corn was used as currency by early North American immigrants to barter meat and furs. An acre of maize removes 8 tones of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and corn is grown on approximately 90 million acres of land throughout the world.
Green Corn Ceremony (Busk)
This is an ancient Native American ceremony that marks the start of the annual maize harvest. The word “busk” was a derogatory epithet adopted by white traders to relate to the Greek word “puskita” (pusketv), which means “the fast.”
Baby corn is harvested from a corn kernel in its infancy, because when the stalk is still short and the second ear out from the top is just beginning to grow corn silk hair. This is a delicacy that may be found all around the world, particularly in Chinese cuisine.