Cornstarch (Zea mays) is also known as maize starch and cornflour. It is native to Central America and the Native Americans called it mahiz. Zea comes from the Greek ‘zeia,’ meaning grain or cereal, and ‘mays’ from the Native American.
It is a fine, silken powder milled from the dried seed cobs of corn.
There are five varieties of corn: dent, flint, flour, popcorn and sweet corn. It is an annual grass and tolerates most climates very well. It is now grown in most parts of the world.
The plant itself has a long stem, growing up to five feet and flowering in early summer. The cobs are harvested immature or ripe for culinary use, but always ripe for use as cereals, flour, oil or syrup.
Cornstarch can be used for culinary purposes, particularly as a thickener.