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Corn, Sweet

Gramineae Zea mays L.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

Sweet corn is distinguished from field corn by the high sugar content of the kernels at the early "dough" stage, and by wrinkled, translucent kernels when dry. The plant is a single stemmed annual, grown from one seed, though sucker shoots rise from the base. The stem produces I to 3 ears, each consisting of a base or cob on which the seed is embedded, and completely encased in several layers of thin, papery husks. Plants attain a height up to 6 to 8 feet, with grass-like leaves up to 2 feet long and 2 inches wide. For food, sweet corn must be harvested when kernels are fully developed, but still in an immature or "dough" stage, otherwise they lose sweetness and become tough.

Season, planting to harvest: 2.5 to 4 months, depending on variety and temperature.

Production in U.S.: 2,500,000 tons.

Use: Fresh market, canned, frozen.

Part of plant consumed: Seeds only for food. All of plant may be fed to livestock.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch