Maize (Zea mays), known as “corn” by most English-speakers, is a cereal grain domesticated in Mesoamerica and subsequently spread throughout the American continents. Corn, also called maize, is a cereal grass related to wheat, rice, oats, and barley. It is a plant whose food value and wide variety of uses make it the most important crop grown in the United States and one of the most important in the world. In order of world grain production, corn ranks second after wheat and is followed by third-ranking rice. Corn is raised as source of food and food products for people, livestock feed, and industrial products including ceramics, explosives, construction materials, metal molds, paints, paper goods, textiles, industrial alcohols, and ethanol.
When ground into flour, maize yields more flour, with much less bran, than wheat does. However, it lacks the protein gluten of wheat and, therefore, makes baked goods with poor rising capability and coherence. Corn and cornmeal (corn flour) constitutes a staple food in many regions of the world. Corn meal is made into a thick porridge in many cultures: from the polenta of Italy, the angu of Brazil, of Romania to mush in the U.S. or the food called sadza, nshima, ugali, and mealie pap in Africa. Corn meal is also used as a replacement for wheat flour, to make cornbread and other baked products. Masa (cornmeal treated with lime water) is the main ingredient for tortillas, atole and many other dishes of Mexican food Corn is a tall plant grass that has large ears with many seeds or kernels. These seeds grow in rows on the larger ears and are eaten as a vegetable. Corn is grown as food for both people and animals.