“How many colors do they grow corn in?”

Maize (Photo: Sam Fentress via Wikipedia)

A few colorful varieties of Indian corn, or maize. (Photo: Sam Fentress via Wikipedia)

The Six-Year-Old, upon learning that her blue corn chip is made of blue corn and not simply soaked in blue food coloring, asked: “How many colors do they grow corn in? Do you know, Mommyo?”

Mommyo, automatically: “No, but I can ask Caterpickles. That woman knows everything.”

The Six-Year-Old, encouragingly: “Wouldn’t it be fun if you knew everything too, Mommyo?”

Hmmm, I guess it has been a while since I answered a real question on Caterpickles. I’m kind of rusty, so bear with me.

Most of the time I think of corn as being blue, white, yellow, both white and yellow, or if it’s really fancy, a lovely multicolored bundle hanging on a door.

Turns out corn comes in far more colors than that: calico (or speckled corn), magenta, red, scarlet, pink, yellow, orange, bright blue, dark blue, light blue, black, purple, maroon, brown, white, and even cream.

The Six-Year-Old, counting: “one, two… sixteen.”

Sure, let’s call it 16. Cornell University’s catalog of corn varieties lists 249 different varieties of corn. It’s possible we overlooked a color. But 16 will do.

(Yep. Completely rusty at this blogging thing. Need to do something about that. But not today. I’m totally exhausted from the effort of piecing this post together. Whew. Writing hard. Is it lunchtime yet?)

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About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at Caterpickles.com, chatting about books and the writing life at BostonWriters.blog, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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One Response to “How many colors do they grow corn in?”

  1. rayworth1973 says:

    A lot of varieties of corn, and many of them aren’t even edible. At least they’re pretty to look at… mostly. And to think, they’re a form of grass, or so I learned that once if my memory serves me right.


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