MAIZE and it’s Classification

🌽🌽🌽MAIZE 🌽 🌽🌽

Maize (Zea mays L.) is a member of the grass family, Poaceae (Gramineae). In the USA, we call it ‘corn‘. It is an annual species that is cross-pollinated by wind. It is unique among the cereal crops because it is monoecious (it bears separate male and female inflorescences on the same plant). The main stem terminates in a tassel (male inflorescence), and the grain is borne on lateral shoots (ears).

Botanical drawing of Zea  mays L. 

Lateral shoots or ears, the female inflorescence tassel (male inflorescence) Kernels (fruits) Opposite alternate leaves Enlarged individual male floret Enlarged female floret Enlareged drawing of a branch of the tassel corn on the cob

Source: Missouri Botanical Gardens

Most commercial varieties of field corn produce a single ear. Ear shoots grow in the leaf axils below the top ear, but generally do not develop unless the top ear is removed, or the plants are widely spaced in the field. Sweet corn and popcorn varieties are often prolific (have more than one ear per plant).

To make artificial crosses in maize, you need to cover the silks, which are the styles of the female flowers, to prevent pollination by wind-borne pollen. Pollen can then be collected in a bag from the tassel of another plant and poured onto the silks. To develop an inbred line, you would obtain the pollen from the tassel of the same plant or a closely related plant. Because maize is an outcrossing species, inbreeding results in a reduction in height and vigor and often greater sensitivity to diseases, insects, and environmental stresses.

Classification of maize on the basis of endosperm characters:

It is divided into eight groups on the basis of the endosperm of kernels.

Dent corn (Zea mays indentata Sturt)

  • It is popularly known as dent corn. In this type of maize kernels have both hard and soft starches. On the top of the dent corn kernel having yellow or white colour. In the drying and shrinking of the soft starch, various forms and degrees of indentation result.

Flint corn (Zea mays indurate Sturt)

  • The endosperm in this type of maize kernel is soft and starchy in the center. Kernels of this type are rounded on the top. Colour may de white or yellow. It is grown in Europe, Asia, Central America and South America as well it is a principal type of grown in India.

Pop corn (Zea mays everta Sturt)

  • It possesses exceptional popping qualities.Size of kernels is small with hard corneous endosperm. The grains are used for human consumption and is the basis of pop-corn confections.

Flour corn (Zea mays amylacea Sturt)

  • It is also known as soft corn. It resembles to the flint corn in appearance and characteristics. It possesses a soft endosperm. Kernels are soft and of all colours, but white and blue are most common. The grains are composed of soft starch and have little or not dent.

Sweet corn (Zea mays saccharata Sturt)

  • The sugar and starch make the major component of the endosperm that result in sweetish taste of the kernels. It has sweeter taste than other corns. The cobs are picked up green for table and canning purposes.

Pod corn(Zea mays tunicate Sturt)

  • Each kernel is enclosed in pod or husk in an ear which is enclosed in husks like other types of corn. It is a primitive type of corn and hence of no importance.

Waxy corn(Zea mays ceratina Kulesh)

  • The endosperm of the kernel when cut or broken gives a waxy appearance. Its origin is supposed to de in China.

Baby corn (Zea mays)

  • Grown for young babies (cobs) to be used for vegetable soup and salad. Boby corn rich in minerals and vitamins.