Corn (Zea mays)

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Corn, also known as maize (from Spanish maíz), is a large grain plant domesticated in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. It is the most widely grown grain crop in the Americas; sugar-rich varieties called sweet corn are usually grown for human consumption, while field corn varieties are used as animal feed. Maize and cornmeal constitute a staple food in many regions of the world. Corn is also a major source of starch, while corn oil is widely used as cooking oil.


Elongated stigmas called silks are collected when harvesting the plants. After drying they are used as medicinal tea for urinary and kidney problems, diabetes. Corn silk is also an important ingredient in weight-loss teas.


The grain contains starch, proteins, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 and minerals; the germ oil contains unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, carotene and sitosterol. Corn starch is a component of cosmetic powders and talcum powders, the ground grains are used in exfoliators.