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Other Names

Zea mays

French: maïs
British English: maize
Vietnamese: ngô
German: Mais
Italian: granturco, mais
Spanish: maís

Origin: Americas
Gramineae fam


There are hundreds of varieties. The ear can measure from 2.5 cm to more than 30 cm. The kernels vary in colour and size as well as in the make up of their albumen (flinty, sweet or floury.)

Whether eaten as corn on the cob with butter and salt, in shepherd's pie, in chutneys or fritters, corn (or "maize" to the British), a member of the grass family discovered by Christopher Columbus while searching for a route to India, has become an important part of our daily diet. In Mexico and South America the corn husks are used in the cooking process: they are stuffed with meat, vegetables, rice etc. to keep in moisture and to impart a unique flavour to the food.

The Old English word "corn" comes from the Germanic and is related to the Latin "granum," grain. In Great Britain, the word "maize" is used, derived from the Arawak word "marise" which became "maysi" and "mahiz" in the West Indian Carib languages.



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