Sweet Corn Facts
About the plant
The tassel at the top of a corn stalk is the male flower. It releases millions of grains of pollen, and some of that pollen is caught by the corn silk on the ear, which is the female flower. There is one piece of silk for each kernel of corn. The average ear of corn has 500 to 1000 kernels, arranged in an even number of rows, typically 16. A corn stalk can grow 7 to 10 feet tall over its lifetime.
Corn’s very long history
Corn is native to the Americas. The earliest known evidence of domesticated corn is 8000 B.C. in what is now the Rio Balsas region of Mexico, grown by ancient Indians. Indirect evidence suggests corn may have been domesticated even earlier, perhaps 10,000 years ago!
How corn got its name
The word “corn” originally referred to other grains — often whichever grain was the most important within a given region. In England, corn meant their primary crop of wheat. In Ireland and Scotland, the same word meant oats. Some Germans refer to rye as “korn.” Early American settlers referred to “corn on the cob,” or “corn” as we know it today. Where did corn’s scientific name come from? Columbus and Spanish explorers acquired the name “maize” for this crop from Taino Indians of the Caribbean region, and that word was later translated into Greek: Zea mays.
Corn is cholesterol free. It’s a good source of vitamin C and A, potassium, thiamine and fiber, and it’s very high in antioxidants. Corn on the cob and cut corn is a 100% whole grain. Corn is high in natural sugars/starches, as well as amino acids, and when combined with beans or other legumes, it can provide a balanced protein. See other sweet corn health facts