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More on Maize and Its Growth. Corn or Maize – Zea mays. Zea mays subsp. mexicana. Zea mays subsp. mays. Variation in ear size and kernel color from Mexican landraces of corn. Steps from Teosinte to Maize.

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Zea

mays

subsp.

mexicana

Zea

mays

subsp.

mays

steps from teosinte to maize
Steps from Teosinte to Maize
  • Maize cobs do not shatter (fall apart) whereas teosinte ears shatter when mature
  • Each teosinte grain is netled in a hard, deep floral structure the cupule and covered by a hard sheath (the glume). The grains of corn are naked and held outside a collapsed cupule
  • Each teosintecupule contains a single fertile spikelet; maize cupules have two fertile spikelets
  • Teosinte cupules are arranged in 2 ranks (rows) but maize are in 4 to 10 rows
  • Teosinte has long primary branches that each ends in a male tassel and there are numerous tiny ears along each branch. Maize has short primary branches that end in a single ear – only a few ears per plant; male tassel at apex of plant
benefits of three sisters mounds
Benefits of Three Sisters Mounds
  • In the Northeast where ground was frequently cold and damp in early spring, mounds allowed the soil to warm up and drain more quickly
  • Mounds allowed an increase in soil organic matter by repeatedly incorporating dead plant material with soil in mounds
  • Decomposition of dead plant material increased soil nutrients; also growing beans which are N-fixers increased soil N for all plants in the mound
  • Mounds minimized soil compaction (people did not walk on mounds, but around them) and reduced soil erosion as fields were not constantly plowed or dug up
  • Mound system allowed easy regulation of plant spacing and plant populations