General English


  • noun a tall cereal crop grown in warm climates, that carries its grains on a large solid core (cob) of which there are only one or two per plant.


  • A Central American cereal, Zea mays, now grown worldwide, which is a tall large-leaved grass with an ear consisting of a large number of individual white, yellow, red or blue seeds packed in a single layer around a cob, a central wide stalk tapering to a point, the whole enclosed in several papery leaves with a tassel emerging from the point. Several of these cobs, which are about 6 to 8 cm diameter and up to 30 cm long, sprout from the leaf bases. The individual seeds (kernels) are stripped from the cob for further processing, the white and yellow being used for human consumption. Maize is an important source of carbohydrate for both humans and animals. There are various types: Dent (var. indentata) is soft, has a depression in the seeds, and is used for flour. A hard type, flint (var. indurata) is used for popcorn and a sweet sugary type, (var. saccharata) is used as a vegetable. See also entries for sweet corn, miniature corn, popcorn, hominy, corn syrup, etc.