Maize (Zea mays), a tall grass indigenous to Mesoamerica, is the most cultivated cereal crop on Earth. To distinguish it from whatever grain they called ‘corn’ at home, European settlers referred to maize as ‘Indian corn’. This was shortened once more, and by the 1800s, corn had come to mean maize in many English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Indian corn now refers to flint corn, (Zea mays indurata), a subspecies with hard, variegated kernels.
Corn is often used in culinary contexts, whereas maize is reserved for scientific or agricultural contexts.
Corn and corn products (corn syrup, cornstarch, cornmeal, popcorn, etc.) are a staple food for both humans and livestock. Corn can also be used in the production of plastics, fuels, and other materials.