maize

Maize, commonly called corn is a major staple cereal in Scarterra along with rice, potatoes wheat, and barley.

Additional Information

Domestication

Cornstocks are often said to be as high as an elder dragon's eye, if the dragon is standing on the ground at least. The giant maize variety cornstalks, developed in the First Age, are big enough that even great wyrms can fully hide in a field of it.   The corn cobs can double as improvised clubs. The kernals are certainly hard enough for it. Giant maize produces a high yield but even after boiling the kernels for hours, it will still wreck your teeth. Pigs and cows can handle it though. Even so, giant corn is falling out of favor relative to smaller varieties bred for livestock that require less water.   There are a lot of varieties of sweet corn grown for the more discriminating palates and less mighty teeth of humans and elves that can be eaten as is with minimal preparation. Other corn is better suited for creams or soups. Other corn is grown with the intent of grinding it up into cornmeal and of course some varieties are ideal for distilling alcoholic beverages from.   A new variety that is popping up is popping corn. Popping corn is a little harder to grow than other varieties but it is growing in popularity in peasant festivals and in noble households that like novelty.   After all this, some corns are bred to show different colors.   -Green Reverend Brynn 

Uses, Products & Exploitation

"There are a lot of varieties of corn, so you got to know what you are dealing with. Some corn is intended as food, some is intended to be fed to food, some is for popping and some is for distilling. By Nami's grace, you can make some good spirits out of corn. I prefer barley ale myself but once in a while a shot of whiskey or bourbon hits the spot."   -Norabruck Grumblespine, dwarven Rover on the Wind

Geographic Origin and Distribution

"Maize or 'corn' as some call it, is grown almost everywhere, which is fortunate for me as I like cornmeal breading on my fish and cornbread goes with every meal.   Maize grows best in sunny areas with moderate rainfall and those conditions are relatively easy to find.   In the Elven Empire we grow corn to feed our livestock and our people. Maize is eaten by man and beast alike in West Colassia though it tends towards beast. Swynfaredia grows the most maize because the ancient dragons cultivated maize and the so called "dragon bloods" base everything they do on their questionable grasp of First Age history. It is good that Swynfaredia geography is conducive to growing corn or more peasants would go hungry. I doubt the Swynfaredians would let something as trivial as unfit growing conditions stop them from emulating draconic culture. Corn is grown in Kantoc and Uskala as well but on a much smaller scale.   In Umera rice is king, and they hold draconic prejudices almost as much as Swynferidians so corn is mostly reserved for feeding livestock or the bottom rung of the peasantry. In East Colassia, Kahdisteria grows corn to feed their slaves and this has caused many humans of the Colassian Confederacy to refuse to eat corn on principle, growing maize only to supplement their livestock feed.   The humans are less prejudiced in Penarchia. Corn is king there and humans rely on corn and potatoes above all else. By Korus' grace, the Penarchians are still breeding new varieties of corn even today."   -Almon Genmaer, grey elf sailor.

Civilization and Culture

History

"As far as we know, maize is if not the first domesticated plant on Scarterra, it is clearly the oldest continually farmed plant.  It was ubiquitous that is why "corn" is not only the word for maize but it also a word for grain in general.   The longevity of maize is not only demonstrated by historical record but there are almost more specialized varieties of corn than rice, wheat, and potatoes combined.    In the First Age maize fields were extremely common.  The ancient dragons rarely if ever ate corn, mostly using it to feed their livestock.  Even if they never ate it, they probably appreciated the majesty of tall growing corn and they bred corn mainly for size.   In the Second Age, the ancient elves bred a lot of new varieties of corn both to adjust to different climates and soil conditions and to make corn tastier for elf palates.  While new crops were emerging, maize was still the default grain cultivated in most lands.   Maize is still grown today though it is less prevalent than it was in bygone eras.  Maize is grown on every major landmass."   -Green Reverend Brynn