Zea mays – Corn – Sweet Corn – Maize – Mealy – Corn

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Zea – Corn –

There are 5 annual, rarely perennial grasses naturally occurring along field margins and on disturbed ground in Central America.  The sturdy stems bear lance shaped leaves in 2 ranks.  They produce terminal spike like male panicles (the tassels), axillary female inflorescence (the ears) consist of numerous flowers arranged in longitudinal row on a thickened axis (the cob).  The female flowers, each with a long, silky style, are enclosed within spathe bracts (the Husks) and mature into fleshy kernels.  Z. mays (corn) are an important cereal crop in tropical and temperate regions.  A number of ornamental cultivars are valued for their multicolored ears and their variegated foliage.  Grow in a mixed border or as accent plants in summer bedding designs.

Grow in a warm, sheltered site in fertile, moist but well drained soil in full sun.

Prone to downy mildew, damping off, rust, smut, and a wide variety of fungal spots.  Corn earworm, and many other insect pests are frequent problems on some cultivars.

Z. mays – Corn – Sweet Corn – Maize – Mealy –  This robust, annual grass is original from Mexico, and can reach heights of 12’ feet tall and 2’ feet or more wide.  It produces pointed, lance shaped, arching, and wavy leaves to 36” long.   In midsummer, produces a terminal panicle of spike like male racemes, to 8” long, and female inflorescences, also to 8” long, enclosed within spathes bracts.  The female flowers are followed in summer and early autumn by ears with flattened, usually yellow, sweet tasting, edible kernels, to ½” long.

Zone 11