INFORMATION ABOUT MAIZE:
WHAT IS MAIZE?
MAIZE ALSO KNOWN IN SOME ENGLISH COUNTRIES AS CORN,IS A LARGE GRAIN PLANT DOMESTICATED BY INDEGENOUS PEOPLE IN MISOAMERICA IN PREHISTORIC TIMES. THE LEAFY STALK EARS WHICH CONTAIN THE GRAIN,WHICH ARE SEEDS CALLED KERNELS.
STRUCTURE AND PHYSIOLOGY
The maize plant is often 2.5 m (meters) (8 ft) in height, though some natural strains can grow 12 m (40 ft). The stem has the appearance of a bamboo cane and is commonly composed of 20 internodes of 18 cm (7 in) length. A leaf grows from each node, which is generally 9 cm (3.5 in) in width and 120 cm (4 ft) in length.
Ears develop above a few of the leaves in the midsection of the plant, between the stem and leaf sheath, elongating by~ 3 mm/day, to a length of 18 cm (7 in) (60 cm/24 in being the maximum observed in the subspecies. They are female inflorsences, tightly enveloped by several layers of ear leaves commonly called husks. Certain varieties of maize have been bred to produce many additional developed ears. These are the source of the "baby corn" used as a vegetable in Asian cuisine
The apex of the stem ends in the tassel, an infloresence of male flowers. When the tassel is mature and conditions are suitably warm and dry, anthers on the tassel dehise and release pollen. Maize pollen is anemophilous (dispersed by wind), and because of its large settling velocity, most pollen falls within a few meters of the tassel.
Elongated stigmas,called silks, emerge from the whorl of husk leaves at the end of the ear. They are often pale yellow and 7 in (178 mm) in length, like tufts of hair in appearance. At the end of each is a carpel, which may develop into a "kernel" if fertilized by a pollen grain. The pericrap of the fruit is fused with the seed coat referred to as "caryopsis", typical of the grasses, and the entire kernel is often referred to as the seed. The cob is close to a multiple fruit in structure, except that the individual fruits (the kernels) never fuse into a single mass. The grains are about the size of peas, and adhere in regular rows around a white, pithy substance, which forms the ear (maximum size of kernel in subspecies is reputedly 2.5 cm/1. An ear commonly holds 600 kernels. They are of various colors: blackish, bluish-grey, purple, green, red, white and yellow. When ground into flour maize yields more flour with much less bran than wheat does. It lacks the protein gluten of wheat and, therefore, makes baked goods with poor rising capability. A genetic variant that accumulates more sugar and less starch in the ear is consumed as a vegetable and is called sweet corn. Young ears can be consumed raw, with the cob and silk, but as the plant matures (usually during the summer months), the cob becomes tougher and the silk dries to inedibility. By the end of the growing season the kernels dry out and become difficult to chew without cooking them tender first in boiling water.