DELTA home

DELTA sample data

M. J. Dallwitz and L. Watson

Zea L.

Including Mays Miller, Mayzea Raf., Reana Brignoli, Thalysia Kuntze. = Zea mays subsp. mays

Habit, vegetative morphology. Robust annual. Culms 200–450 cm high; herbaceous. Culm nodes glabrous. Ligule a fringed membrane.

Inflorescence. Plants monoecious with all the fertile spikelets unisexual. Inflorescence peculiar: the female axillary, comprising a stout, spicate spadix with spikelets in few to several longitudinal rows, terminating in a tuft of long pendulous styles (‘silks’); the male spikelets in terminal panicles of spiciform ‘tassels’; not comprising ‘partial inflorescences’ and foliar organs. Spikelet-bearing axes persistent. Spikelets paired; not secund; consistently in ‘long-and-short’ combinations (male), or not in distinct ‘long-and-short’ combinations (female).

Female-sterile spikelets. Male spikelets in pairs, two-flowered, with many-nerved, membranous glumes. Lemmas and paleas hyaline, the florets with three stamens and two cuneate lodicules.

Female-fertile spikelets, florets, fruit. Spikelets not noticeably compressed to compressed dorsiventrally; not disarticulating. Rachilla terminated by a female-fertile floret. Hairy callus absent. Glumes two; more or less equal; long relative to the adjacent lemmas; awnless. Upper glume 0 nerved. Spikelets with incomplete florets. The incomplete florets proximal to the female-fertile florets. The proximal incomplete florets 1; sterile. The proximal lemmas awnless. Female-fertile florets 1. Lemmas awnless; non-carinate; 3 nerved. Palea present; relatively long. Lodicules absent. Stamens 0. Ovary glabrous. Stigmas 2 (at tip of style); white to red pigmented (or green). Fruit medium sized. Hilum short.

Photosynthetic pathway, leaf blade anatomy. C4; biochemical type NADP–ME; XyMS–. Midrib conspicuous; having a conventional arc of bundles; with colourless tissue adaxially. Many of the smallest vascular bundles unaccompanied by sclerenchyma.

Special diagnostic feature. Fruiting inflorescence a massive, spatheate cob, the fruits in many rows.

Taxonomy, distribution. Panicoideae; Andropogonodae; Maydeae. 1 species. Neotropical.

Anatomical references. Metcalfe 1960; this project.


We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa. See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.


Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1998 onwards. DELTA sample data: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 19th October 2016. delta-intkey.com’.

Contents