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 Zea subsp. var.  
Two teosintes
Habit: [[Category:]]
Height: to
Width: to
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Origin: C. America
Exposure: sun
Hidden fields, interally pass variables to right place
Minimum Temp: °Fwarning.png"°F" is not a number.
USDA Zones: to
Sunset Zones:
Flower features:
Poaceae > Zea var. ,

Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Zea (an old Greek name for some common cereal, probably spelt). Gramineae. A large annual grass with monoecious infl., the staminate fls. being in the tassel at the top and the pistillate fls. in one or more ears in the axils of the lvs., each ear inclosed in several reduced lvs. or husks, the numerous styles protruding from the tip as the silk. As now limited the genus is founded on the single polymorphous cult. species, Zea Mays, maize or Indian corn, whose origin is unknown but is suspected by some to be teosinte (Euchlaena mexicana). Most of the evidence points to Mex. as the region in which it originated and from which it spread.

After a prolonged study of maize, teosinte, and hybrids between them, Collins advances the hypothesis (Journ. Wash. Acad. Sci. 2:520.1912) that maize originated as a hybrid between teosinte and an unknown grass belonging in the Andropogoneae. This grass is thought to have been not unlike the earless varieties of pod or husk corn (Zea Mays var. tunicata, Figs. 4037, 4038). The chief distinction between pod corn and the ordinary varieties of maize is that the glumes of the pistillate spikelets are developed in pod corn and completely inclose the grain, while in ordinary maize the glumes are reduced to minute scales at the base of the grain. Collins has found that if plants of pod corn are isolated and bred among themselves for a few generations, there will usually result a still greater divergence from the ordinary type of maize. Plants will appear in which the lateral inflorescence or ear is aborted while the terminal inflorescence is greatly enlarged, containing both stamens and pistils. These may be borne either in separate spikelets, in separate florets of the same spikelet, or in perfect florets. Plants of this earless type of pod corn possess no characters which would exclude them from the Andropogoneae. The constant recurrence of such plants among many varieties of corn Collins considers to be strong indication that some perfect-flowered grass has figured in the ancestry of maize. Harshberger (see G.F. 9:522; Contr. Bot. Lab. Univ. Penn. 2:231) after a study of teosinte-maize hybrids, showed that Zea canina, Wats. (Figs. 4039, 4040), originally described as a wild species, is an early-generation hybrid between ordinary maize and teosinte. Harshberger concludes that Indian corn is the result of a cross between teosinte and a race or variety of the same species produced by successive cultivation of the wild plant until its characters as a variety or race have become fixed. Collins holds that this conclusion does not take into consideration the evidence afforded by the podded varieties of maize. To explain maize as a hybrid Collins holds that the second parent must be assumed to be some plant radically different from teosinte, for only such a parent would account for the appearance of characters the very opposite of those which characterize Euchlaena. Under the article Corn are given the botanical characters of the genus, a classification of the subspecies, as proposed by Sturtevant, and a discussion of sweet corn and pop-corn.

The following varieties of Zea Mays are grown for ornament:

Var. japonica, Koern. (Z. japonica, Van Houtte. Z. vittata, Hort.). Foliage variously striped with white: plant small: ears small; kernels yellowish, flint. Said to have come from Japan.

Var. gracillima, Koern. (Z. gracillima and Z. minima, Hort.). Very dwarf, slender form with green lvs., sometimes cult. in Eu. A var. variegata is also mentioned.

Var. Curagua, Alef. (Z. Curagua, Molina), is described as a very robust green-lvd. form. Sturtevant places it in the pop-corn tribe.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.

Corn, or maize, is the only domesticated taxon in the genus Zea. Strong upright stems with broad, smooth, strap-like leaves. Male flowers are at tops of stems, female flowers grow from leaf axils, with solid spathe-like core enclosed within the leaves, in summer. Fruit forms as massed grains around the core in late summerÐautumn.


Adaptable to most type of soil. Place in open position with sun.



Pests and diseases

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Z. diploperennis
Z. luxurians
Z. mays ssp. huehuetenangensis
Z. mays ssp. mays (corn, maize)
Z. mays ssp. mexicana
Z. mays ssp. parviglumis
Z. nicaraguensis
Z. perennis


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External links

  • w:Zea. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
  • Zea QR Code (Size 50, 100, 200, 500)

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