Botanical name: Zea mays Family: Poaceae (Grass family)
Maize is a cereal grain domesticated in the American continent. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th century and early 16th century, corn spread to the rest of the world. The stems superficially resemble bamboo canes and the internodes can reach 20–30 cm. Maize has a very distinct growth form; the lower leaves being like broad flags, 50–100 cm long and 5–10 cm wide. The stems are erect, usually 2–3 metres in height, with many nodes, casting off flag-leaves at every node. Under these leaves and close to the stem grow the "ears". They grow about 3 cm a day. The ears are female inflorescences, tightly covered over by several layers of leaves, and so closed-in by them to the stem that they do not show themselves easily until the emergence of the pale yellow silks from the leaf whorl at the end of the ear. The silks are elongated stigmas that look like tufts of hair, at first green, and later red or yellow. The apex of the stem ends in the tassel, an inflorescence of male flowers. Each silk may become pollinated to produce one kernel of corn.
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