A-Maizing October 20, 2007
It was an a-maizingly beautiful afternoon for mid-October. I had the good fortune to spend it in Holmes county at Time and Optics. Greater Mohican Audubon and Time and Optics sponsored Greg Miller presenting his program on his "BIg Year". Greg saw over 700 species of birds in one year, and a book was written by Mark Obmascik to document the "Tale of Man, Nature and a Fowl Obsession." The Big Year is a fun book for Birders and non-birders alike.
My ride home gave me time to muse about the Zea mays, or corn. First domesticated about 7,000 years ago, it soon became widely planted in the Americas. It is the world's third most important crop plant and grown in all warmer parts of the world. No other American grass is so well recognized and agriculturally important.
This is a grass that has come a long way, baby. It was once open pollinated; historically it looked very different, as the seeds were not originally contained in a husk. This is another good example of seed dispersal, only this is a seed that can no longer manage without human intervention. It has been hybridized to the point it is no longer viable (at least the corn we recognize) on it's own. Just a little something to think about while admiring the lovely Amish farmlands on a sunny afternoon.