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.
Sweet corn is the result of a natural spontaneous mutation of field corn that occurred sometime before recorded history. Predating the arrival of Europeans in North America, it
was cultivated by several Native American tribes. A variety named
'Papoon' was raised by the Iroquois, and subsequently by settlers, by
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.