Native American lore, maize (or corn as it is commonly called in the
U.S.) was one of the "three sisters." Along with beans and squash, the
three sisters were planted and grown together, supporting each other in
their life cycle and providing a very balanced diet of carbohydrates,
proteins and vegetable fats to their cultivators.
Dent corn has hard, "flinty" sides composed of horny starch, with
soft starchy tops and cores that allow the ends to collapse
or "dent" when the corn dries. Varieties of dent corn are the
most widely grown types in the United States and used for
oils, syrups, grits, meals, flours, bio-fuel, silage, and livestock
American corn was the genetic foundation of all other corn varieties.
"Indian" corn is rarely grown in the garden today. Columbus was one of
the first Europeans to see maize or corn. The Pueblo Indians were
raising irrigated corn in the American Southwest when Coronado visited
in 1540. The settlers at Jamestown were taught how to raise it in 1608
and in 1620, it helped to keep the Pilgrims alive over winter. Corn
cobs were found in Tehucan, Mexico that date back 7000 years.
The horny starch is found on the back and sides of the grain lying next
below the horny gluten. It does not consist of pure starch but contains
considerable amounts of other substances, especially protein. In an
examination of the grain with the unaided eye. the horny glutenous part
and the horny starchy part are not readily distinguished from each
other, the line between them being somewhat indefinite and indistinct.
Together they constitute the horny part of the grain.
Source: "Maize: Its History, Cultivation, Handling, and Uses . . ." by Joseph Burtt-Davy, page 661, 1914.