Maize

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Maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays, pronounced /ˈmeɪz/), known in many English-speaking countries as corn, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The Aztecs and Mayans cultivated it in numerous varieties throughout central and southern Mexico, to cook or grind in a process called nixtamalization. Later the crop spread through much of the Americas. Between 1250 and 1700, nearly the whole continent had gained access to the crop. Any significant or dense populations in the region developed a great trade network based on surplus and varieties of maize crops. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, explorers and traders carried maize back to Europe and introduced it to other countries through trade. Maize spread to the rest of the world due to its popularity and ability to grow in diverse climates.

Maize is the most widely grown crop in the Americas with 332 million metric tons grown annually in the United States alone. Transgenic maize made up 85% of the maize planted in the United States in 2009.[1] While some maize varieties grow to 12 metres (39 ft) tall,[2] most commercially grown maize has been bred for a standardized height of 2.5 metres (8.2 ft). Sweet corn is usually shorter than field-corn varieties.

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