Corn (Maize) Varieties
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Corn is the name that we use here in the United States as well as in Canada and Australia for the grain maize. In England, as well as most of the English-speaking world, the term "corn" is a generic term for cereal crops, such as wheat, barley, oats, rye and of course, maize.

In Native American lore, maize (or corn as it is commonly called in the U.S.) was one of the "three sisters." Corn seed, along with beans and squash, 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.

For planting information and tips, click here. For seed saving information, click here. For more information about corn, see the rest of the story at the bottom of this page.

Click on variety's picture or name below for more information and quantity pricing options (where available).

Products (Total Items: 41)
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Bloody Butcher Dent Corn
The kernels are striped red or dark red on pink to red cobs.
Boone County White Dent Corn
Large (10-12-inch) ears with 18-24 rows of pure white kernels.
Buhl Sweet Corn
The golden-yellow kernels are milky and sweet at the fresh eating stage and has a classic, old-timey corn flavor.
Calico Popcorn
Multi-colored kernels are beautiful as decorative or ornamental ears, but 'Calico' is also good for popping.
Country Gentleman Sweet Corn
One of the most popular white sweet corn varieties of the early 20th Century.
Double Red Sweet Corn
Beautiful purple stalks produce two, sweet ears each. The kernels are an intense purple color.
Dynamite (South American) Popcorn
Productive stalks exhibit good root and stalk strength. A delicious classic mushroom shaped yellow popcorn with a smooth buttery flavor.
Early Pink Popcorn
Shiny, bright kernels range from pink to mauve to light purple in color; very attractive and ornamental.
Fisher’s Earliest Sweet Corn
Early maturing, each stalk produces one, six inch ear that contains ten to twelve rows of golden-yellow kernels.
Gill's Early White Market Sweet Corn
Very early, 10-inch ears containing 12-rows of tender, sweet, white colored kernels.
Glass Gem Popcorn
Absolutely amazing! The translucent, multicolored kernels shimmer and shine like gemstones.
Golden Bantam Sweet Corn
The most popular yellow sweet corn among home gardener's since the beginning of the twentieth century.
Golden Bantam, Improved 12-Row Sweet Corn
An improved version of 'Golden Bantam' with larger ears that stay tender longer.
Green & Gold Dent Corn
Quite unique. Popular with fans of John Deere tractors and the Green Bay Packers.
Hickory King White Dent Corn
Ears are 7-8 inches long with 10-12 rows of large white kernels.
Indian Ornamental (aka Rainbow) Flour Corn
An old flour corn variety, its great colors are perfect for drying and using ornamentally.
Japanese Hulless Popcorn
Plants are dwarf in habit, ears are short and thick with irregularly arranged kernals that are tender, sweet, and pure white when popped.
Lancaster Surecrop Dent Corn
Ears are 9-11 inches long with 16-18 rows of large, yellow, dent kernels. Selected for earliness, disease resistance, ease of harvest & uniformity.
Midnight Snack Sweet Corn
Very sweet and flavorful. Light colored when fresh, dried to a deep blue-black.
Miniature Blue Popcorn
Shiny, bright kernels range from deep- to medium-blue in color. Beautiful as an ornamental ear or good for popping.
Miniature Colored Popcorn
The kernels are shiny, often pearly in appearance, bright, and varying in color.
Mosby Prolific White Dent Corn
Large, white, rare dent corn variety from the 19th Century.
Oaxacan Green Dent<br><b>SOLD OUT</b>
A rare color for corn kernels, as the name suggests, these ears are shades of green.
Orchard Baby Sweet Corn
Short plants, 5-6 inch ears, that have 8-10 rows of sweet, yellow kernels.
Painted Hill Sweet Corn
Multi-colored sweet corn for short seasons.
Painted Mountain Flour Corn
An extremely hardy, nutritious, and beautiful dual purpose, ornamental flour corn variety.
Pencil Cob Dent Corn
Old "shoe peg type" dent corn. Very tasty as a roasting & creaming ear.
Popped Culture: A Social History of Popcorn in America
The historical reasons behind popcorn's unflagging popularity.
Red Strawberry Popcorn
The cobs are strawberry shaped and rich, deep-red color.
Reid's Yellow Dent Corn
A very old heirloom dent corn variety. Big ears of large yellow kernels. Mainly used for flour, meal, and feed.
Silver King White Dent Corn
Ears grow 8-9 inches long and have 16 rows of white kernels.
Silvermine White Dent Corn
Ears are 9-inches long with 14-16 rows of large, white kernels.
Six Shooter Sweet Corn
Very productive - up to six full-sized ears of delicious, sweet kernels packed with old-time corn flavor.
Stowell's Evergreen Sweet Corn
Oldest named sweet corn variety; 8-inch ears produce from 10-14 rows of sweet, white, tender kernels.
Sunshine Sweet Corn
Early maturing, productive, delicious old-time golden sweet corn originally introduced in 1927.
Triple Play Sweet Corn
An early maturing, bi- or tri-color eared variety that is delicious, sweet and packed with old-time corn flavor.
Trucker's Favorite White Dent Corn
Tender, sweet white kernels making it a favorite roasting corn.
Trucker's Favorite Yellow Dent Corn
Tender, sweet yellow kernels making it a favorite for roasting or creaming corn.
True Gold Sweet Corn<br><b>SOLD OUT</b>
The OP version of the old favorite, 'Golden Jubilee'; it delivers large, sweet, rich, and deliciously flavored golden ears.
Will's Early June Sweet Corn
Very early maturing, 6-inch long with 8-rows of beautiful, tender, sweet, white kernels.
Yukon Chief Sweet Corn
Early maturing sweet corn, dwarf stalks, developed to germinate and grow better in cooler soils.

About Corn (Maize)

Native 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.

Most people now associate corn for eating with modern sweet corn varieties that incorporate specific genes to increase or enhance sugar quantities and shelf life. Other types of corn can be eaten like sweet corn when it is young, but are usually grown to maturity, dried and used for flour and meal.

Corn is probably the most diverse grain crop. Both man and nature have selected traits that can roughly be classified by the characteristics of their kernels; flint, flour, dent, pop, sweet, and waxy.

  • Flint corn typically has hard seed coats that with rounded, smooth, kernels consisting of soft starch covered by horny starch[1]. Many Indian corn types are flint type. The are well suited for making good quality corn meal or ground and used for livestock feed.

  • Dent corn has hard, "flinty" sides composed of horny starch[1], 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 feed.

  • Flour corn is composed almost completely of soft starch with thin seed coats. Kernels are round and smooth like flint corns. In these modern times, they are primarily used for making corn flour.

    Historically however, flour corn was also raised and used for parching. Parching is a process whereby the kernels are dry roasted in an iron skillet, while being constantly stirred over a high heat, until they slightly expand, the seed coat splits, and the kernels become soft. Parched corn was used as a snack or trail provision and could last several months if stored properly. If you are just parching enough to eat as a snack, using a little light vegetable oil and salt to taste enhances the flavor.

    You can parch just about any flour, and some flint, corn varieties but some are better suited than others. White and yellow varieties are typically the least flavorful parched. Try using the more colorful varieties as then tend to be neither bland nor strong tasting. Many are sweet with flavors that develop further as they are chewed.

  • Popcorn is one of the oldest forms of corn and can be generally classified into two types, pearl or rice, based on the physical shape of the kernels. Popcorn usually has small kernels that contain a high percentage of horny starch[1]; even more than flint-types. This causes them to violently burst and expand upon heating.

  • Sweet corn is presumed to be 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 groups. A variety named 'Papoon' was raised by the Iroquois, and subsequently by settlers, by 1779.

Two of the oldest surviving white sweet varieties are 'Stowell's Evergreen' and 'Country Gentleman.' The yellow sweet corn Golden Bantam was released in 1902 and has been popular ever since.

Sweet corn is now primarily grown for fresh, canned and frozen consumption and not used for flour or feed. Its genetic makeup is such that it accumulates sugars while the kernels are immature.

By the way, the "baby corn" that you use on salads are simply immature, unfertilized ears that have been harvested and sometimes pickled.

Harvest Tips for Fresh Eating or Processing:

• Knowing when to harvest the perfect ear of corn takes practice! And the peak of perfection comes and goes quickly.
• As you walk your corn patch in the morning, look for ears that have fully filled out and whose silks have turned brown but are not dry.
• If you are still not sure, carefully pull back the husk to expose kernels. Do they look ready? Using your fingernail, squeeze a kernel; milky juice should be observed.
Older, heritage varieties of do not store well as they quickly become starchy. For the best flavor, cook and eat, or process, as soon after harvesting as possible.

Seed Saving Information:

If you are simply growing corn to eat, you do not need to worry about the corn varieties that you growing intermingling their genetic material in random fashion. You are raising food and not seed.

If, however, you are wishing to save seeds for future planting, considerations must be made to prevent cross-pollination. To maintain the genetic diversity of a cultivar, seed should be collected from a minimum of two hundred (200) plants. Maize uses the wind to distribute its pollen from the tassels of one plant to the developing ears of another.

To maintain the genetic purity of a cultivar, that is, keeping the variety true-to-type, great isolation distances are required. Depending on climate and geographical features in your area, separating varieties by up to one mile is required.

An alternative to isolation distances is hand pollination. It is a time consuming effort but not inherently difficult. Click here for a good tutorial video from the University of Wisconsin on the hand pollination process.


[1] 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.

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