UoN The Hidden Half: Maize
From Brian Atkinson
Maize (Zea mays), also known as corn, is one of the most widely grown and widely eaten crops. It is a grass that forms large ears full of kernels, which are sweet corn when eaten in the un-ripe form and popcorn when roasted. Maize is thought to have originated in Mexico and played an important role in Mayan culture as mythology often revolved around a maize god. In the United States over 80% of all maize grown is genetically modified to provide resistance to a moth which causes a huge amount of damage to maize crops.
The root system of maize plants, and other grasses, form a fibrous structure of multiple seminal roots. You can see the seminal roots in this scan of a young maize plant. In older plants roots that develop from the stem, crown roots, become the largest part of the root system and are responsible for most of the water and nutrient uptake.