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Cereal plant (Zea mays) of the family Poaceae. It originated in the New World and has been introduced globally. American Indians taught colonists to grow corn, including some varieties of yellow corn that are still popular as food, as well as varieties with red, blue, pink, and black kernels, often banded, spotted, or striped, that today are regarded as ornamental and in the U.S. are called Indian corn. The tall, annual grass has a stout, erect, solid stem and large narrow leaves with wavy margins. Corn is used as livestock feed, as human food, and as raw material in industry. Though it is a major food in many parts of the world, it is inferior to other cereals in nutritional value. Inedible parts of the plant are used in industrystalks for paper and wallboard; husks for filling material; cobs for fuel, to make charcoal, and in the preparation of industrial solvents. Corn husks also have a long history of use in the folk arts for objects such as woven amulets and corn-husk dolls. Corn is one of the most widely distributed of the world's food plants. In the U.S. corn is the most important crop, but slightly more acres of soybeans are planted.
Variants of CORN
corn or maize
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on corn, visit Britannica.com.