Maize known in some English-speaking countries as corn is a large grain plant domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain the grain, which are seeds called kernels. Introduced into Africa by the Portuguese in the 16th century, maize has become Africa's most important staple food crop.
Maize and cornmeal (ground dried maize) constitute a staple food in many regions of the world. Corn flakes are a common breakfast cereal in North America and the United Kingdom, and found in many other countries all over the world. Maize is a major source of starch. Cornstarch (maize flour) is a major ingredient in home cooking and in many industrialized food products. Maize is also a major source of cooking oil (corn oil) and of maize gluten. Maize is sometimes used as the starch source for beer. Maize is mostly grown to feed livestock, as forage or grain. Maize meal is also a significant ingredient of some commercial animal food products, such as dog food.