Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Maize, or Indian Corn (Zea Mays), a cereal grass, unknown in a wild state, but probably indigenous to tropical America, It is found in ancient Peruvian tombs; but seems to have been cultivated in Java and other equatorial Pacific islands from ancient times, and introduced thence into China, India, and Turkey, so that Gerard, in 1597, describes it as "Turkey corn," and in Germany it is to this day called "Tiirken." At the discovery of America it was found in cultivation throughout the two continents, and there are now more than 300 varieties known. It prefers a deep, rich, warm soil, such as that of the Mississippi basin; but on comparatively poor sandy soil will yield a crop where clover and lucerne will not, Intolerant of frost, or even of cold nights, it is in England almost exclusively useful as green fodder, of which it will yield from 50,000 to 80,000 lbs. per acre. Being very sweet, the stems are much relished by sheep and cattle. In the western prairies it is even grown for fuel. The plant is monoecious, producing its staminate or male flowers in a large feather-like cluster at its summit, and the cobs or dense spikes of female flowers ending in pendulous, pink, silk-like tassels of long stigmas in the axils of lower leaves. The sheaths of the leaves are used in packing oranges and cigarettes. The grains may be white, yellow, purple, red, or ' striped, and differ considerably in composition. The hard flint varieties are known as pop-corn, because when roasted the skin bursts and the meal swells. The sweet varieties are largely eaten unripe as green corn in America. Maize is very nutritious, being richer in albuminoid matter than any other cereal, and, being also richer in oil, it has great fattening value; but it does not by itself make good bread. In Spain and Portugal it is mixed with rye-meal for this purpose. When deprived of its gluten it constitutes corn-flour, corn-starch, osivego, or niaizcna. Besides its use on an enormous scale for food, maize is being more and more employed in distillation and in the manufacture of starch and glucose. Besides its extensive cultivation in southern Europe, in India, and, under the name -mealies, in South Africa, there are 70,000,000 acres under maize in North America, the annual produce of the United States amounting to 2,000 million bushels. Our import of maize is now about 2,250,000 tons annually.