Maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays, pronounced /?me?z/; also known in some countries as corn), is a cereal grain domesticated in Mesoamerica and subsequently spread throughout the American continents. After European contact with the Americas in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, maize spread to the rest of the world.
Maize is the most widely grown crop in the Americas (332 million metric tons annually in the United States alone). Hybrid maize, due to its high grain yield as a result of heterosis ("hybrid vigor"), is preferred by farmers over conventional varieties. While some maize varieties grow up to 7 metres (23 ft) tall,most commercially grown maize has been bred for a standardized height of 2.5 metres (8 ft). Sweet corn is usually shorter than field-corn varieties.
The term maize derives from the Spanish form (maíz) of the indigenous Taino term for the plant, and was the form most commonly heard in the United Kingdom. In the United States and Canada (ma?s or "blé d'Inde" in French speaking Canadian regions), the usual term is "corn", originally the English term for any grain, as for example in mentions in the Bible, but which now refers usually to maize, having been shortened from the form "Indian corn" (which currently, at least in the U.S. and Canada, is often used to refer specifically to multi-colored "field corn" cultivars). In scientific and very formal usage "maize" is normally used globally; equally in bulk trading contexts "corn" is mostly used. In the UK, Australia and other English-speaking countries "corn" may be used in culinary contexts, especially for products like popcorn and corn flakes, but "maize" is used in agriculture as well as science