Updated: May 11, 2022

Corn, also known as maize, is a staple food crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is versatile and can be used in a variety of ways, from feeding livestock to producing ethanol. There are several types of corn plants that are grown for different purposes. In this article, we will explore the different types of corn plants and their uses.

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn is the most commonly consumed type of corn in the United States. The kernels are tender and juicy, making it a popular vegetable for cooking and grilling. Sweet corn is harvested when the kernels are in the milk stage, which means they are still soft and full of sugar. There are many different varieties of sweet corn, including yellow, white, and bi-colored.

Field Corn

Field corn, also known as dent corn, is primarily used for animal feed and industrial purposes. The kernels are hard and starchy, making them unsuitable for human consumption in their raw form. Field corn is harvested when the kernels have dried and hardened. It is primarily grown in large fields and used for ethanol production, as well as in the manufacturing of various food products.


Popcorn is a type of corn that is specifically grown for popping. The kernels have a hard outer shell and a soft starchy center that expands when heated. Popcorn kernels come in various sizes and colors, including yellow, white, red, and black. Popcorn is a popular snack food that can be enjoyed plain or with various seasonings.

Flint Corn

Flint corn, also known as Indian corn or calico corn, is primarily grown for decorative purposes due to its colorful kernels. The kernels are hard and have a range of colors including red, blue, yellow, purple, and white. Flint corn was traditionally used by indigenous peoples for making cornmeal and other foods.

Flour Corn

Flour corn, also known as soft corn, is a type of corn that has a soft starchy kernel and is primarily used for making corn flour. The kernels are ground into a fine powder and used in various food products, such as tortillas, tamales, and cornbread. Flour corn is also used in the production of corn syrup and other sweeteners.

Waxy Corn

Waxy corn is a type of corn that has a high amylopectin content, which gives it a waxy texture when cooked. It is primarily used in the production of various food products, such as noodles and starches. Waxy corn is also used in the manufacturing of adhesives and paper products.

Sweet Sorghum

Sweet sorghum is a type of sorghum that is grown for its sweet juice, which can be used to produce ethanol and syrup. It is similar to sugarcane in its appearance and cultivation practices. Sweet sorghum is primarily grown in the southern United States.


Can sweet corn be used for animal feed?

While sweet corn can be fed to animals, it is not an ideal feed source as it has a lower nutritional value than field corn.

Is popcorn a healthy snack?

Popcorn can be a healthy snack if prepared without added salt, butter, or other unhealthy toppings.

What is the difference between yellow and white sweet corn?

Yellow sweet corn has a higher sugar content than white sweet corn, giving it a sweeter taste. White sweet corn has a milder flavor and is often preferred for its tenderness.

Can all types of corn be genetically modified?

Yes, all types of corn can be genetically modified to improve their yield and resistance to pests and diseases.

What is the difference between dent corn and flint corn?

Dent corn has a soft, starchy center that dents in when dried, while flint corn has a hard, glassy kernel that does not dent. Flint corn is primarily used for decorative purposes due to its colorful kernels.