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Zea mays

SynonymsZea curagua Molina, Zea indentata Sturtev., Zea indurata Sturtev., Zea japonica Van Houtte, Zea mays L. ssp. mays, Zea saccharata Sturtev.
Common namesbekolo, corn, ekidid (Karamojong), fiso, hupfu, keto (Simbo/Roviana), khao phoat, koane, kon, mahindi, maidis stigmata, Mais, maiz, maize, makai, makki, mbemba, mbila, mielie, milho, poone, sana, sila, sila nivava lagi, tomorokpshi, upfu, yumi
Ecocrop code2175

DESCRIPTION: A tall vigorous annual grass, and grain crop varying greatly in size according to race and growth conditions; commercial types are about 2m tall. It has many fasciculate roots. The erect shoot (culm) consists of four basic structures: the internodes, the leaves, the prophyll and the bud or apical meristem, which are collectively called the phytomer. The leaves that emerge from its nodes are alternate, lanceolate, acuminate and parallel-veined with small ligules. Maize is a monoecious plant; it develops inflorescences with unisexual flowers, and these are always born in separate parts of the plant. The female inflorescence - the ear, arises from the axillary bud apices, and male inflorescence, the tassel, develops from the apical growing point at the top of the plant. The kernel or fruit of maize is called a caryopsis. The ovary wall or pericarp is fused with the seed coat or testa and these combined together make the fruit wall. The mature fruit consists of three major parts - fruit wall, diploid embryo and triploid endosperm. The outermost layer of the endosperm, in contact with fruit wall is called the aleurone layer. The mature corn kernel is made up of three main parts, the seed coat or pericarp, the starchy endosperm and the embryo often called the germ, which will develop into a new plant. USES: It is mainly grown for food and fodder. The grain is ground to flour and used in starchy foods and breads. It is used in breakfast foods. Fermented grain is made into alcohol, which has become a prime use in the USA. A ton of dried maize would yield about 370 kg of ethanol. Maize starch is used in cosmetics, adhesives, glucose and syrup. Oil is extracted from the embryo and used as salad oil, and to make linolium, paints, varnishes, etc. KILLING T.: It is easily killed by frost. GROWING PERIOD: Annual. In Kenya quick-maturing lowland varieties flower in 60 days and mature in 120 days, varieties grown between 1200-2100 m in elevation flowers in 105 days and mature in 210 days, while varieties grown at 2100-3200 m may take 195 days to flower and more than 365 days to mature. In the United States on average it mature in 90-140 days. FURTHER INF.: Maize is one of the most productive species of food plants being the second most important cereal grain after wheat, with milled rice occupying third place. It is the top ranking cereal in grain yield per hectare and is second to wheat in total production. Maize is of great economic significance worldwide as human food as animal feed, and as a source of large number of industrial products. Maize has tremendous variability in kernel colour, texture, composition and appearance. It is classified into distinct types based on (a) endosperm and kernel constitution; (b) kernel colour; (c) environment in which it is grown; d) maturity; and (e) its use. White, yellow and orange are prominent grain colours. Prominent maize kernel types are flint, dent, pop, sweet, floury, morocho, and waxy. Quality Protein Maize (QPM with improved protein quality), and High Oil Corn are speciality maize types. It can be found at elevations between sea level and 4000 m and it can be grown at latitudes from 48°N to 40°S. The photosynthesis pathway C4 III for tropical lowland types and C4 IV for highland and temperate types. Hot, dry winds may reduce the amount of pollen available for fertilization and humid conditions and hail can do damage. Since the crop leaves much of the ground uncovered, soil erosion and water losses can be severe. The optimum yield is 7-11 t/ha, world average 3.6 t/ha. High yields of maize make a heavy drain on soil nutrients. It is probably indigenous to Mexico and Central America.
Grassland Index
Purdue NewCROP
Plants For A Future
Rice R 1990 pp 334-336 [TEXT, DRA, RAIN, TEMP]
Rehm S 1991 pp 19-21 [LIG, TMP, RAIN, PH]
Hackett C 1982 pp 61 [FER, PHO, DEP, PH, TEXT, TEMP]
Hartmann T 1981 pp 488-490 [RAIN, TEMP, LIG, PHO, DRA, FER]
Skerman P 1990 pp 752-757 [TEMP, KTMP, RAIN, SAL, FER]
Onwueme I 1991 pp 157-175 [TEMP, RAIN, DEP, TEXT, FER, PH]
Purseglove J 1972 pp 300-334 [USE, TEMP, RAIN, DRA, DEP, PH]