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M A I Z E - ZEA MAYS

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Author Topic: M A I Z E - ZEA MAYS  (Read 1073 times)
Bianca
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« on: November 07, 2008, 09:14:58 am »










The term maize derives from the Spanish form (maíz) of the indigenous Taino term for the plant, and is the form most commonly heard in the United Kingdom.[2] In the United States, Canada and Australia, the usual term is corn, which originally referred to any grain (and still does in Britain), but which now refers exclusively to maize, having been shortened from the form "Indian corn" (which currently, at least in the U.S., is often used to refer specifically to multi-colored "field corn" cultivars).[3]



Maize stems superficially resemble bamboo canes and the internodes can reach 20–30 centimetres
(8–12 in). Maize has a very distinct growth form; the lower leaves being like broad flags, 50–100 centimetres long and 5–10 centimetres wide (2–4 ft by 2–4 in); the stems are erect, conventionally
2–3 metres (7–10 ft) 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 milimetres 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. Plantings for silage are even denser, and achieve an even lower percentage of ears and more plant matter.

Certain varieties of maize have been bred to produce many additional developed ears, and these are
the source of the "baby corn" that is used as a vegetable in Asian cuisine.
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