1. llewelly says

    Corn is surprisingly devious. Corn has tricked congress into subsidizing the planting of huge farms of corn across many states. Corn also played a substantial role in the election of our current president; Obama campaigned on promises to see that more corn would be planted (among other promises), and he has kept his promises to corn, while letting many other campaign promises fall by the wayside.

  2. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    That’s what I like about this blog, I learn sciency things. For instance, watching that video I learned banjo music can cause corn to sprout really fast.

  3. Haruhiist says

    wow.. all those types of corn I didn’t know even existed in the top picture..

    are they mostly for decoration or animal feed?

  4. Ben Goren says


    That’s just a dusting of snow on the tip of the iceberg.

    Amongst other variations, corn, as with all the other grasses (wheat, rice, etc.) comes in pretty much every color of the rainbow. The red / blue colors are litmus colors.

    You might also be interested that there are bright purple potatoes, black (not brown, but black) rice, deep purple (almost black) tomatoes, and more “oddities” that rarely or never make it to your local supermarket. And many of them are tastier and more nutritious than the whitebread varieties on sale.



    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  5. Blind Squirrel FCD says

    Also,carrots were a deep purple color until the Dutch got a hold of them.


  6. Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says

    Ah Maize, the biological monstrosity as one of my professor puts it. The plant itself would not survive without human intervention, but it also fed some of the biggest civilization known to man.

  7. Ben Goren says


    You actually can.

    Many asian markets carry a couple varieties of black rice. There are long- and short-grain versions. The short-grain version usually comes with some sort of marketing spiel about being from the Chinese Emperor’s private reserve. Be aware that it needs even more cooking time than brown rice, but it’s worth it.

    The local Trader Joe’s sells red, white, and blue (purple) potatoes as a “medley.” You’re used to the red potatoes having a red skin and white flesh; the purple potatoes are purple all the way through.

    I’ve also seen “heirloom” tomatoes on sale at the various boutique grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Paycheck, AJ’s). Yellow varieties are common, but the black ones get thrown in from time to time.

    I know you’ve seen blue corn tortilla chips; those are made from corn that’s actually blue. You can buy blue corn meal. There’s also a popular novelty gift of “Indian” corn; the ear on the right in the picture above is an example.

    If you have any gardening skills, you can get pretty much anything from a mail-order seed company.



    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  8. Ben Goren says

    Gyeong Hwa Pak,

    There’s virtually nothing in the supermarket that would survive long — let alone exist in the first place — without careful cultivation. Bananas are every bit as dramatic an example as corn…but, then again, so are tomatoes, apples, wheat, cows (and dairy products), chickens (and eggs), grapes (and wine)….



    EAC Memographer
    BAAWA Knight of Blasphemy
    “All but God can prove this sentence true.”

  9. Joel says

    Mmmmm, lunch today is green enchilada casserole with corn and black beans. I have nothing but warm fuzzy thoughts for the ancient Mezoamericans who tamed the maize plant.

    TH@2: Banjo music is entirely optional. In ideal growing conditions you can just about see the stuff grow in real time.

  10. blindfaithiness says

    Lets not forget that the vast majority of corn being grown in the midwest is “Roundup Ready” corn. That is a patented, genetically modified variety created to be able to withstand numerous spray applications of the herbicide Roundup by Monsanto.

    Mmm, herbicide.

    Mexico is the place to go in order to find true corn variety. In order to protect their heirloom corns, Mexico has banned all Roundup ready corn genetics.

  11. iambilly says

    Having driven across Southern Minnesota a couple of times, I will agree with the statement that corn is the dominant species. Though, at the time, the Spam factory was still there. Well, Span is kinda corny, so I guess it fits.

    In Maryland, my Mom was given some corn seed from Guatemala. The kernals were yellow and the size of quarters. When the corn matured, we boiled it the way we do for American bland corn and were blown away by the incredible strong taste. For most ‘Mercuns, corn diversity means yellow, white, or bread and butter.

  12. rident says

    For those who love touristy things across America and corn, check out the Corn Palace. There are other cool/weird things in Mitchell, SD like the Enchanted Doll Museum and just down I-90 you’ll find the world-renowned Wall Drug in Wall, SD.

  13. PenguinFactory says

    That image reminds me of those posters in Pizza Hut resteraunts with the different types of wacky corn from all over the world. Do they have those in American Pizza Huts?

    I was quite surprised as a child to find out that corn comes in varieties other than vivid yellow.

  14. Sili, The Unknown Virgin says

    Is Whole Paycheck supposed to be Whole Foods? I thought we were boycotting them?

    My grandfather was supposedly among the first Danes to grow corn. For his chickens, though. That together with the big windows in his coop meant he had fresh eggs sooner than everyone else. Apparently at one time his 200 chickens made him more money than his 20 cows.

    Of course, I only have this third hand, so I don’t know how true it is. Similar stories tell of some 20k DKK confiscated after the War with the claim that they could not have been made honestly. Again, I have no idea what part of that story is true – if any.

  15. Ewan R says

    In order to protect their heirloom corns, Mexico has banned all Roundup ready corn genetics.

    Not entirely – there was approval for RR corn trials in Mexico, which are slated to conclude (and have data to Mexican authorities) this month apparently.

  16. iambilly says


    (((Wife))) and I love the Corn Palace. I especially love the smell of the various materials used for the murals. Reminds me of bailing hay as a youngster. Whenever we drive across South Dakota, we always stop at the CP and Wall Drug (no bumper sticker, though). It fills our need for tourist kitsch for a couple of years.

  17. blindfaithiness says

    @Ewan R

    Oh, I hadn’t read that. I’ll have to get refresher. Thanks

  18. ronsullivan says

    If you have the climate and space for it, grow out some of the interesting varieties from Native Seeds SEARCH in Tucson.

    Lots of good reasons to make these folks an exception to an Arizona boycott. E.g., they (their associates, some founders) were there first. Also, yummy chile powders.

  19. kiyaroru says

    Blind Squirrel #6
    About an hour ago I planted something called (on the seed-packet) “CORN Purple Haze”. The photo shows some scary tiger-stripe imperator-shaped carrots with a purple-skin orange-core cross-section.
    Said seed-packet said nothing about the Dutch.
    Do tell.

  20. Owlmirror says

    Said seed-packet said nothing about the Dutch.
    Do tell.

    The Dutch do not have a ruler who derives a title from the Principality of Purple Haze.

  21. Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says

    Ben Goren,

    Ay, but has any of those been deified because of their importance? (except for the cow of course.)

  22. Caine, Fleur du mal says

    Corn is a pretty dominant species in ND, too. It vies with gigantic sunflowers for dominance though. I’m planting Ruby Queen corn this year, it’s a lovely red.