What Does Corn Symbolize In Chinese Culture?

Usually, rice is the crop most associated with China. What some people may not know is that corn is an equally important crop produced in the country – or perhaps even more important than rice. The high profits that corn production brings give Chinese farmers the incentive to want to produce more of it. In 2015, corn even surpassed rice to become the most largely produced crop in China.

Initially when corn was first introduced in China is was largely a part of their cuisine. Today, however, the majority of the Chinese people consider it peasant food. You may find corn included in western-influenced Chinese cuisine like cream corn chowder, or fried rice dishes, or maybe in moo-Shu fillings. Authentic Chinese cuisines, however, it’s rare to recipes that use corn as the main or base ingredient, whether whole or ground into flour.

Today 60% of the corn in China is mainly used as livestock feed. That is livestock like pigs and chickens. The other 30% percent is normally taken through industrial processing to make sweeteners, starch, alcohol, and ethyl among other industrial products. A very small percentage of about 10% is consumed as food, like in KFC where they serve corn on a cob in China.

In this post, we attempt to further understand the importance and use of corn in China. We will look at when corn was introduced into China, where it is grown, and how it’s priced.

what is the Corn?

Corn, also known as maize, is a cereal grain and one of the most widely grown and important staple crops in the world. It is a member of the grass family, Poaceae, and originated in Mesoamerica, specifically in what is now Mexico.

Corn plants typically reach heights of 2 to 3 meters (6 to 10 feet) and produce large, elongated ears covered in rows of kernels. Each kernel is a seed enclosed in a protective husk. Corn kernels come in various colors, including yellow, white, and even purple.

Corn has been cultivated for thousands of years and has played a significant role in the diet and culture of many civilizations. It is versatile and used for a variety of purposes. In addition to being a dietary staple for humans, corn is also used for animal feed, biofuels, and in the production of various food and industrial products.

Corn can be consumed in different forms, such as fresh corn on the cob, canned corn, popcorn, cornmeal, corn flour, and corn syrup. It is used in a wide range of dishes, including salads, soups, stews, tortillas, and snack foods.

The cultivation of corn requires warm temperatures, plenty of sunlight, and well-drained soil. It is a major crop in many countries, with the United States being the largest producer. Other significant producers include China, Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.

Overall, corn is an important crop with diverse applications and is a key component of global food production.

styles of corn

There are several different styles of corn, each with its own characteristics and uses. Here are some common styles of corn:

Sweet Corn: Sweet corn is the most popular variety of corn consumed by humans. It is harvested at an immature stage when the kernels are still tender and contain high sugar content. Sweet corn is typically eaten as a vegetable and can be boiled, steamed, grilled, or roasted. It is commonly enjoyed on the cob but can also be canned or frozen for later use.

Dent Corn: Dent corn, also known as field corn, is primarily used as livestock feed and for industrial purposes. The name “dent corn” comes from the characteristic dent that develops on the top of each kernel as it matures. This corn variety has a higher starch content and lower sugar content compared to sweet corn. Dent corn is also used in the production of cornmeal, corn flour, corn syrup, and biofuels.

Flint Corn: Flint corn, also called Indian corn, is known for its multicolored kernels. It is primarily used for decoration and ornamental purposes, especially during the fall season and for Thanksgiving displays. Flint corn has a hard outer shell and is often ground into cornmeal for making traditional dishes like cornbread and polenta.

Popcorn: Popcorn is a unique variety of corn known for its ability to pop when heated. It has a hard outer shell and a starchy interior. When heated, the moisture inside the kernel turns into steam, causing the kernel to explode and form the fluffy, edible snack we know as popcorn. Popcorn is enjoyed as a snack and is available in various flavors and toppings.

Flour Corn: Flour corn, also called soft corn, is a variety of corn that has a high starch content. It is primarily used for milling into fine corn flour, which is then used in baking and cooking. Flour corn is often used in traditional dishes like tortillas, tamales, and cornbread.

These are just a few examples of corn styles, and there are many other local and regional varieties with specific characteristics and uses. Corn is a versatile crop, and its different styles serve various purposes, including culinary, industrial, and decorative applications.

where do Corns grow?

Corn is grown in many regions around the world, but it thrives in areas with warm temperatures, plenty of sunlight, and well-drained soil. Here are some of the major regions where corn is grown:

United States: The United States is the largest producer of corn globally. Corn production is concentrated in the Midwest region, often referred to as the “Corn Belt.” States such as Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Indiana are known for their significant corn cultivation.

China: China is the second-largest producer of corn. Corn is grown in various provinces across the country, with the northeastern regions like Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning being major corn-growing areas.

Brazil: Brazil is a significant producer of corn, particularly in the southern regions of the country. States such as Mato Grosso, Parana, and Rio Grande do Sul have favorable growing conditions for corn.

Mexico: Mexico is the birthplace of corn and remains an important producer. Corn is grown throughout the country, with states like Sinaloa, Jalisco, and Guanajuato being prominent growing regions.

Argentina: Argentina is a major corn producer in South America. The provinces of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Santa Fe are known for their corn cultivation.

Ukraine: Ukraine is one of the largest corn producers in Europe. The country’s favorable climate and fertile soils in regions like Vinnytsia, Zaporizhia, and Kharkiv make it ideal for corn cultivation.

South Africa: South Africa is a significant corn producer in Africa. The provinces of Free State, Mpumalanga, and North West are known for their corn farming.

These are just a few examples, and corn is grown in many other countries as well. The suitability of a region for corn cultivation depends on factors such as climate, soil conditions, and agricultural practices.

where did Corns originate?

Corn, or maize, originated in Mesoamerica, specifically in what is now Mexico. The cultivation of corn can be traced back thousands of years to indigenous civilizations in the region. The domestication of wild grasses, including teosinte, led to the development of maize as we know it today.

The process of maize domestication involved selecting and breeding plants with desirable traits, such as larger kernels and easier harvesting. Over time, early farmers in Mesoamerica transformed teosinte into the cultivated maize that became a staple crop in their diets.

Maize played a significant role in the culture and economy of ancient civilizations such as the Olmecs, Maya, and Aztecs. It was not only a dietary staple but also had religious and symbolic significance in their societies.

From its origin in Mesoamerica, the cultivation and spread of maize expanded throughout the Americas. Native American tribes in North and South America cultivated different varieties of maize suited to their local environments. The crop eventually reached other parts of the world through European exploration and trade, becoming a global staple crop.

Overall, the origin and early development of maize can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, who played a crucial role in its domestication and initial cultivation.

when Corns come to China?

In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered corn in Cuba, and from then on, its cultivation spread throughout the Americas. In 1494, corn was brought back to Spain by Columbus and gradually introduced to various parts of the world, becoming one of the most important staple crops. In the 16th century, corn was introduced to China and was first documented in the Gong County Chronicles in the 34th year of the Jiajing reign of the Ming Dynasty, where it was referred to as “yuma” . Later, in the 39th year of the Jiajing reign, the Pingliang Prefecture Chronicles mentioned it as “fanmai”  and “xitianmai” .

By the end of the Ming Dynasty, corn cultivation had spread to more than ten provinces, including Shandong, Henan, Hebei, and Anhui. The term “yumi” , meaning corn, was first recorded in Xu Guangqi’s “Complete Book of Agriculture and Forestry.” Besides its native region of the Americas, China became one of the areas where corn cultivation was widespread. Corn is also the highest yielding cereal crop worldwide.

what is Corn Chinese called?

Corn has numerous alternative names, with approximately over 100 recorded. Initially, corn was called “fanmai” (番麦) in Chinese. In the Qing Dynasty, Ma Guohan wrote “Su Ma Ti Zhang Ou Yin” which included the line: “Fanmai stands tall like a pole, fragrant wormwood adorns it like pearls.” Besides “fanmai,” corn was also referred to as “yuma” (玉麦), “xitianmai” (西天麦), “shumai” (黍麦), “rongmai” (戎麦), “baomai” (包麦), “baomai” (苞麦), “fandamai” (番大麦), “hongxumai” (红须麦), “yimai” (夷麦), “xifanmai” (西番麦), “yulinmai” (玉林麦), “yumai” (鱼麦), and “ximai” (稀麦), among others.

In Fu Erdan’s “Local Chronicles of Ninguta,” it is mentioned: “Corn, with stalks and leaves resembling those of sorghum, and the kernels hidden within husks, commonly known as ‘baorimi’.” Additionally, other terms for sorghum include “yushu” (玉黍), “yudaoshu” (玉稻黍), “jindaoshu” (金稻黍), “yudashu” (玉大黍), “yumishu” (玉糜黍), “dashushu” (大蜀黍), “fanshu” (番黍), “yulushu” (玉芦黍), “shushu” (蜀黍), “jinshu” (金黍), and “lushu” (芦黍), among others.

As for foxtail millet, it is referred to as “yushushu” (玉蜀秫). In Liu Hao’s “Guang Qun Fang Pu,” it is stated: “Corn is also called ‘yuma’ or ‘yushushu,’ and its seeds were obtained from foreign lands. The terms ‘mi,’ ‘mai,’ and ‘shu’ are borrowed names.” It further describes the corn plant, stating: “The seedlings grow to about three or four feet tall, flowering in June or July. The mature cob resembles a millet head, and a separate ear emerges from the center of the plant, shaped like a small bottle gourd with red velvety strands hanging down. Over time, the husk splits, revealing clusters of pearly white grains. The flowers bloom at the top, and the kernels form at the nodes.”

Furthermore, terms such as “sumi” (苏米), “yumi” (玉米), “zhenzhumi” (珍珠米), “baomi” (包米), “baoermi” (包儿米), “bangmi” (棒米), “liujiaomi” (六角米), “lujiaomi” (鹿角米), “yumi” (御米), “baermai” (巴尔米), “fanmi” (番米), “baoliangmi” (包梁米), “zhanggumi” (丈谷米), “yumai” (芋米), “bangzimi” (棒子米), “guanyinmi” (观音米), “zimi” (子米), “baozimi” (包子米), “baolimi” (包粒米), “laoyumi” (老玉米), “sumi” (粟米), “laoyumi” (老玉米), “baomi” (苞米), among others, all refer to corn.

Corn is also known as “baogu” (包谷). In Wu Chichang’s “Ke Chuang Xian Hua,” the story of Qin Liangyu, a female hero, is recorded. Qin Liangyu helped the people of Shizhu during a famine by providing them with “bayu,” also known as “baogu,” an inexpensive and easily obtainable food source that covered the mountainous areas. During droughts, while other crops withered, it thrived. During heavy rains, when other grains were submerged, it stood over a zhang (about 3.3 meters) tall, unaffected by water, resulting in abundant harvests. Terms for grains include “baogu” (苞谷), “shunwanggu” (舜王谷), “liugu” (六谷), “xifangu” (西番谷), among others, which all refer to corn.

Corn is also known as “baolu” (苞芦) or “yaolu” (腰芦). In Hong Liangji’s “Ningguo Fu Zhi,” it is stated: “Mixed grains are called ‘baolu,’ also known as ‘liugu’ or ‘yumi.’ Renting land for cultivation of ‘baolu’ has caused obstruction to waterways. In the 12th year of the Jiaqing reign (1807), an imperial decree was issued to ban it.”

Other names for corn include “yujiaojiang” (玉茭茭), “yuliu” (玉榴), “yuzi” (玉子), “rongshu” (戎菽), “yuzi” (玉籽), “subao” (粟包), “bangzi” (棒子), “lulu” (芦芦), “bangchui” (棒槌), “gu” (苽), “ji” (稷), “baogu” (包苽), “yuxuxu” (玉米须), “yuling” (玉菱), “hongxu” (红须), and many others. All these terms refer to corn!

What Is Corn Grown in China?

Corn is the third-largest crop in terms of acreage and the second-largest crop in terms of production in China. It serves as a major feed grain and a staple food in some regions, and has developed into a crop that serves multiple purposes, including food, industry, and animal feed. It holds an increasingly important position in China’s national economy.

Corn is grown in various regions across China due to its vast geographical expanse, encompassing plains, mountains, and hills. The diverse natural conditions have given rise to various cultivation systems and cultivation characteristics in China:

  1. Corn is predominantly grown in a narrow and elongated belt running diagonally from northeast to southwest. This belt includes provinces such as Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi.
  2. China is known for its year-round cultivation of corn, ranging from northern to southern regions. This includes both spring and summer corn, making it one of the most comprehensive corn cultivation systems in the world.
  3. Two-thirds of China’s corn is grown in hilly and arid areas, relying on concentrated natural rainfall, known as “rain-fed corn.” Conserving rainwater from the sky and maintaining soil moisture are key factors for increasing corn yields. Research institutions have developed comprehensive cultivation techniques for drought-tolerant corn, including techniques such as soil conservation terraces and high-yielding pits.
  4. Intercropping is an important characteristic of corn cultivation in China. It involves intensive use of space and time, allowing for multiple harvests in a single location and season, as well as increased yields throughout the year. In particular, in the southwestern corn-growing regions, intercropping accounts for over 90% of the total corn acreage.

Distribution of Corn Production Regions in China

Based on the characteristics of corn distribution areas, cultivation systems, agricultural natural resources, and the importance, proportion, and development prospects of corn among grain crops, China’s corn production can be divided into six regions. The following is a brief description:

Northern Spring Corn Region

This region starts from the Bohai coast at approximately 40°N latitude and runs south along the Great Wall, passing through the Taihang Mountains, Taiyue Mountain, and Lvliang Mountains, until the northern foothills of the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi Province. It includes all of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Ningxia, and Inner Mongolia, most of Shanxi, and parts of Hebei, Shaanxi, and Gansu. The spring corn planting area in this region accounts for about 30% of the national total.

The region belongs to a temperate humid and semi-humid climate in the cold temperate zone. It has low winter temperatures and average temperatures above 20°C in summer. The accumulated temperature above 10°C ranges from 2500 to 4100°C, and the accumulated temperature above 10°C ranges from 2000 to 3600°C. The frost-free period is 130-170 days. The annual rainfall is 400-800 millimeters, with 60% concentrated in July to September. The Northeast China Plain has flat terrain and fertile soils, mainly consisting of black soil, alluvial soil, and brown soil. Most areas have suitable temperatures and sufficient sunlight, which are favorable for the growth and development of corn. Corn is mainly grown in rain-fed fields, with less than 1/5 of the area under irrigation. It is the main spring corn region in China, primarily following a one-year-one-harvest system.

The region has flat terrain, vast land with a small population, and relatively extensive farming practices, making it suitable for the development of mechanized operations. The three major plains in the northeast (Songnen Plain, Sanjiang Plain, and Liaoning Plain) are commodity bases mainly producing dry grains. Corn is the dominant crop in this region and holds a significant proportion among grain crops. Concentrated corn production areas have formed along the Beijing-Harbin Railway in the Songliao Plain. In the future, it is necessary to adjust crop layouts, reduce conventional corn acreage appropriately, gradually increase dedicated corn acreage, improve production conditions, implement scientific farming practices, cultivate early-maturing and high-yielding hybrid corn varieties, increase the application of fertilizers, expand the use of plastic mulch and intercropping with soybeans, implement mechanized operations according to local conditions, continuously improve corn yields, and build an important corn commodity production base in China.

Huang-Huai-Hai Plain Summer Corn Region

This region starts from Dongtai in Jiangsu Province at approximately 33°N latitude, follows the Huai River through Anhui to Henan, and extends along the Qinling Mountains in Shaanxi Province until Gansu Province. It includes the Shandong, Henan, and most of Hebei, as well as parts of Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu, in the Yellow River, Huai River, and Hai River basins. This area is the concentrated corn production region in China, with the annual planting area accounting for over 40% of the national total.

The region has a warm temperate and semi-humid climate with relatively high temperatures. The average annual temperature ranges from 10 to 14°C. The frost-free period lasts from 170 to 240 days from north to south. The accumulated temperature above 0°C ranges from 4100 to 5200°C, and the accumulated temperature above 10°C ranges from 3600 to 4700°C. The annual radiation per square centimeter is between 110 and 140 kilocalories, and sunlight ranges from 2000 to 2800 hours. The rainfall is between 500 and 800 millimeters, increasing from north to south. The natural conditions are favorable for the growth and development of corn. There are various cultivation methods for corn in this region, including intercropping systems, with wheat-corn rotation accounting for over 70%. Corn holds a significant proportion in the composition of grain crops in this region. Areas with favorable fertility and water conditions, such as eastern Shandong, central Hebei, and northern Henan, have higher corn yields. Approximately two-thirds of the corn is distributed in hilly and arid areas, with yields lower than the national average. Measures for further developing corn production in this region include the development of agricultural water conservancy construction, comprehensive management of droughts, floods, and saline-alkali conditions, improving production conditions, optimizing soil fertility management, implementing large-scale standardized corn cultivation, and continuously increasing corn yield per unit area.

Southwest Mountainous Corn Region

This region includes all of Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou, southern Shaanxi, and the western hilly areas of Guangxi, Hunan, and Hubei, as well as a small part of Gansu. It is one of the major corn production regions in China, with the annual planting area accounting for approximately 20% of the national total.

The region has a temperate and subtropical humid and semi-humid climate, abundant rainfall, favorable water and heat resources, but less sunlight. The climate varies greatly due to different altitudes, with a frost-free period ranging from 240 to 330 days, and average temperatures above 15°C from April to October. The annual rainfall is between 800 and 1200 millimeters, with the majority occurring from April to October, which is suitable for multi-season corn cultivation. The region has complex terrain, with over 90% of the land being hills, mountains, and plains, while river valley plains and intermountain basins account for only 5%. Corn is grown from flat plains to mountaintops. The cropping systems range from one harvest per year to multiple harvests per year. Corn is a staple food and feed for local farmers, and the production of corn is mostly self-sufficient, with some imports for feed purposes. Therefore, the corn area should still be appropriately expanded to develop corn production. However, there is a significant proportion of sloping dryland with poor soil fertility and extensive cultivation practices. Summer and autumn droughts are limiting factors for increasing corn production in some areas. In the future, it is necessary to develop agricultural water conservancy construction, expand irrigation areas, increase fertilizer application, improve soil fertility, and continue to improve the planting density in areas with abundant light and heat resources to increase the total yield of corn and other crops.

Southern Hilly Corn Region

This region is connected to the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain Summer Corn Region in the north, borders the Southwest Mountainous Corn Region in the west, and is adjacent to the East China Sea and South China Sea in the east and south. It includes Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Taiwan, and other provinces in their entirety, as well as the southern parts of Jiangsu and Anhui, and the eastern parts of Guangxi, Hunan, and Hubei. It is the main rice-producing region in China, with a relatively small area dedicated to corn cultivation, accounting for about 5% of the national total corn area.

The region has a tropical and subtropical humid climate with high temperatures and abundant rainfall. Frost and snow are rare, and the suitable growing period for crops ranges from 220 to 365 days. The average temperatures from March to October are around 20°C, allowing for year-round corn cultivation. However, rice production is predominant in this region, and the area dedicated to corn cultivation fluctuates significantly, resulting in unstable corn yields. Corn is primarily grown as a late-season or winter crop, but early spring cultivation also exists. Historically, the livestock industry in this region has heavily relied on rice feeding, with low feed efficiency. Consequently, a significant amount of corn needs to be transported from Northeast and North China. With the development of the livestock industry, the demand for corn has increased, creating a large supply-demand gap. Therefore, it is necessary to adjust the agricultural structure and crop distribution, expand corn cultivation areas according to local conditions, develop corn-late rice or early rice-corn rotations in flat plain areas, adopt intercropping systems of corn with other crops in hilly and dryland regions, promote corn film cultivation in cold and cool areas, and utilize a portion of winter fallow land to expand winter corn cultivation.

Northwest Irrigated Corn Region

This region includes the entire Xinjiang region and the Hexi Corridor in Gansu. It has a continental arid climate with scarce rainfall. With the expansion of irrigated farmland, the area dedicated to corn cultivation has gradually increased, accounting for about 3% of the national total.

The region has a frost-free period of 140-170 days, with some areas reaching around 200 days. It receives 2600-3200 hours of sunlight and has an accumulated temperature of approximately 4000°C above 0°C. The region has abundant thermal resources, significant temperature differences between day and night, and favorable conditions for corn growth and development. However, the climate is dry, with rainfall below 100 millimeters, which limits the development of corn production. As the irrigated farmland area expands, a portion of the region, particularly the Shanshan alluvial fan in Xinjiang, develops spring corn, and in some areas, wheat-corn intercropping or sequential planting is practiced. This region is one of China’s significant agricultural and pastoral areas, requiring a large amount of corn for livestock feed. Therefore, it is necessary to appropriately expand the area dedicated to corn cultivation in this region and increase corn yield per unit area.

Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Corn Region

This region includes Qinghai Province, Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as western Sichuan, northwestern Yunnan, and Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu. The corn planting area is small, accounting for only 2% of the national total.

The region is characterized by high altitude, complex terrain, and a cold climate. The average temperature in the warmest month is below 10°C, and in some areas, it is even lower than 6°C. Only in the eastern and southern areas below 4,000 meters in elevation, there is an accumulated temperature of 1,000-1,200°C above 10°C, allowing for the cultivation of cold-tolerant and cool-loving crops. In the southern river valleys of Tibet, where there is relatively high rainfall, crops such as rice and Highland barley can be grown. Corn is an emerging crop in this region, with a short cultivation history and a relatively small planting area. With improvements in production conditions, it is possible to develop a certain area for corn cultivation in this region.

Corn In China History

where did corn originate? The cereal, corn, is said to have first been domesticated about 100 centuries ago by the indigenous people of Southern Mexico, before the pre-Columbian era. Over time it is said to have grown to become a staple crop in most countries all over the world seeing as it is a high-yield crop. America was especially known for producing it.

It is not clear when corn was introduced in China, or who introduced it to the country. Some say it was brought into the country by a Portuguese trader. Others say that it came to China through India, while others say it was introduced by Western traders who offered it to the royal family as a tribute. Some also say that corn was initially introduced to China during the Ming dynasty, where it was first called imperial grain. It was considered a true delicacy and rarely grown initially. But by the 18th century, corn had become widely popular in China.

Today, China is among the leading producers and consumers of corn in the world alongside countries like Brazil. They make up about 19% of the market. While another corn was initially majorly used for human consumption, today it’s mostly processed in industries and used as livestock feeders especially for pigs who are fed on a corn diet.

After the discovery of the New World by Columbus, a miraculous plant called maize, or corn, was brought from the Americas to Europe in 1496, gradually spreading across the world. Little did the Chinese people know that this introduction of American crops, including maize and sweet potatoes, would initiate a tremendous agricultural revolution that would profoundly impact China amidst the globalization era.

Approximately 55 years after maize was introduced to Europe, the earliest written records of maize in China appeared in the Xiangcheng County Gazette of Henan Province during the 30th year of the Jiajing reign in the Ming Dynasty (1551). Four years later, during the 34th year of the Jiajing reign (1555), maize, presented as a tribute by local chiefs in Yunnan, passed through Gong County in Henan Province on its way to Beijing, leaving a record in the Gong County Gazette.

Historians have analyzed that maize entered China through three routes: the Southeast Sea Route, the Southwest Land Route, and the Northwest Land Route. The earliest documented maize in China during the Ming Dynasty likely entered through the southwestern land route, passing through regions like Myanmar (Burma) before reaching Yunnan.

Due to the diversity of entry routes, maize had various names during the Ming Dynasty, such as yushu shu, baogu, baomi, baosu, baolu, bangz, yujiao, and zhenzhu mi. Li Shizhen (1518-1593), who traveled extensively and compiled the Compendium of Materia Medica (Bencao Gangmu), encountered maize during his journeys between 1552 and 1578. He discovered maize cultivation in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, but described it as a crop that was rarely grown.

However, two hundred years later, during the 23rd year of the Qianlong reign (1758), the Yuanzhou Prefecture Gazette in Hunan Province already recorded “yushu4shu1, commonly known as maize… this crop has spread widely in recent times in the Chu region.” After quietly entering China for over 200 years, maize began to flourish.

After the Qing Dynasty came to power in China, as early as the 18th year of the Shunzhi reign (1661), the official population under Qing control was only 19.2 million. With the abolition of the head tax and the implementation of the system of land allotment per household during the Yongzheng period, China’s population began to surge. In the 6th year of the Qianlong reign (1741), the population of the Qing Dynasty reached 143 million, and by the 60th year of the Qianlong reign (1795), it reached 296 million. In the 29th year of the Daoguang reign (1849), the population of the Qing Dynasty exploded, reaching 412 million.

The tremendous population growth posed significant pressure for Emperor Qianlong. He expressed deep concerns because the cultivated land in the plain areas had reached its limit. In the face of a small amount of available land and a large population, he stated, “Compared to the Kangxi era, the reports on the population from each province in the previous year show an increase of more than ten times. With prolonged peace and increasing birth rates, the supply is no longer as abundant as before. The land occupied by palaces and residences cannot be expanded twofold. The number of births is few, while the number of people to feed is many. I am deeply worried. Since I ascended the throne, I have expanded the territory and opened up new land. All the common people have been able to cultivate the frontier lands temporarily to secure their clothing and food. However, in the long run, unless there are vast uncultivated lands, families with surplus grain will not easily enjoy the blessings of peace.”

To address the immense pressure of population and land, the Qing court officially relaxed restrictions starting in the 7th year of the Qianlong reign (1742). The policy shifted from prohibition to encouraging and allowing farmers to enter mountainous areas for cultivation. The court announced tax exemptions on land in these areas, and mountain dwellers were given preferential treatment in the imperial examination system. These measures further promoted the development of China’s mountainous regions. With the introduction of drought-tolerant and easy-to-grow crops like maize from the Americas, a vast movement of opening up mountainous areas began.

As early as the late Ming Dynasty, with increasing land consolidation and frequent natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and locust plagues, many farmers started migrating to mountainous regions for land development. These farmers who lived in makeshift sheds in the mountains were called “pengmin.”

The “Food and Goods Records” in the “Qing Shi Gao” recorded: “The term ‘pengmin’ originated from the three provinces of Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian. In various mountain counties, there were people who built sheds and lived there, engaged in hemp cultivation, iron smelting, papermaking, and mushroom cultivation. In Guangdong, impoverished people entered the mountains to build huts and engaged in the collection of fragrant wood, spring powder, firewood splitting, and charcoal burning, known as ‘liaomin.'”

These farmers who migrated to mountainous areas engaged in various occupations such as farming, iron smelting, charcoal burning, mushroom cultivation, and mining by cutting down trees. Due to the large-scale warfare at the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, more plain residents started seeking refuge in the mountains. Consequently, the massive concentration of pengmin and the development of mountainous areas became significant immigration phenomena during the Ming and Qing dynasties, particularly in the border areas between provinces such as Hunan and Jiangxi, Jiangxi and Hubei, Fujian and Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong, and Sichuan, Hubei, and Shaanxi. Against the backdrop of the population explosion during the Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong reigns, the increasing population had nowhere to go but to migrate en masse to mountainous areas. When the Qing court officially lifted the ban on mountainous development in the 6th year of the Qianlong reign (1742), a vast movement of opening up mountainous areas in China unfolded.

In the development of mountainous regions in the border areas of southern provinces, traditional crops such as rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, and other grains had relatively high requirements for water, soil, and climate. This allowed the introduced crops from the Americas, such as maize, sweet potatoes, and potatoes, to thrive. In the lowlands of the mountains, pengmin generally cultivated sweet potatoes, which prefer warm and humid climates. In higher elevations, they grew drought-resistant maize. In colder regions, they cultivated the most robust and cold-tolerant crop, potatoes. These three American crops were cultivated according to the local conditions, providing a continuous food supply for the survival of pengmin and contributing to China’s population explosion.

At that time, with the widespread cultivation of maize, Hubei’s Enshi, located at the junction of Hubei, Sichuan, and Shaanxi, became a prime example. According to local records, “The surrounding villages are all high mountains, and maize is the staple crop. There are also rice fields for cultivation, but the harvest is always late. The poor rely on cultivating sweet potatoes.” In Liuyang, Hunan, during the same period, the “Liuyang County Annals” documented, “The mountain soil only grows maize.”

During the reign of Emperor Jiaqing (1796-1820), the “Longshan County Annals” in Xiangxi, Hunan, stated, “The shed dwellers burn houses to cultivate various grains, with maize being the main crop.” In the same period, in Hubei’s Jianshi County, the local annals recorded, “The towering peaks and dangerous cliffs are all maize fields as far as the eye can see.”

With the development by pengmin in mountainous areas, maize spread extensively from Fujian to Jiangxi, Hubei, and Guangdong, and it even penetrated into Guizhou and Yunnan in a reverse trend. During the reigns of Emperor Jiaqing and Emperor Daoguang, as a result of a large influx of refugees from other provinces into Yunnan, maize cultivation reached its peak. The Qing official Lin Zexu, while in Baoshan County, Yunnan, witnessed the cultivation of maize “from the middle of the mountain slopes to the riverbank,” and the “jobless migrants, single individuals, or those who plant maize and various grains.” In Shunning Prefecture, Yunnan, maize even became the main staple: “The prefecture has many mountains and little farmland, where buckwheat and maize are extensively cultivated, serving as staple foods.” In Xuanwei Prefecture, Yunnan, maize was used for making sugar, brewing alcohol, grinding flour, and became a significant staple crop for the local population.

How Did Maize Enter China?

Although maize was introduced to China through the southwestern and northwestern land routes at an early stage, it did not spread extensively within the mainland during the Ming Dynasty. The outbreak of maize in China originated primarily from the dissemination along the Southeast Sea Route, particularly in Fujian Province.

In the 3rd year of the Wanli reign (1575) in the Ming Dynasty, Herrera, a Catholic missionary, recorded in his memoir that maize cultivation had already appeared in Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in Fujian. Fujian’s topography, characterized by “eight mountains, one river, and one-tenth farmland,” had experienced a continuous population increase since the Wei, Jin, and Northern and Southern Dynasties. By the Song Dynasty, the population had become highly concentrated, with constant outward expansion into the southern regions of Jiangxi Province. In this context, maize and sweet potatoes introduced from Fujian began to spread into the mountainous areas of Jiangxi during the late Ming Dynasty. By the Daoguang reign of the Qing Dynasty (1821-1850), the Yushan County Gazette in Jiangxi recorded that locals engaged in farming activities “without interruption, even late into the night” and mentioned the cultivation of tea, tung trees, cedar trees, bamboo, indigo, sweet potatoes, and maize.

In the 21st year of the Wanli reign (1593) in the Ming Dynasty, a 50-year-old scholar named Chen Zhenlong undertook a challenging journey to the Philippines to smuggle sweet potatoes back to Fujian, aiming to save the people from famine. While the exact time maize entered China is difficult to ascertain, after its introduction in the mid to late 16th century, it spread from Fujian into Jiangxi along the same route. This was a significant event in Chinese agricultural history.

Following the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1644, when Li Zicheng’s peasant army captured Beijing, Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide by hanging himself, and the Ming Dynasty came to an end. China plunged into a long period of warfare until the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty effectively quelled the rebellion of the Three Feudatories by 1681. It was during this time that the golden age of maize began to emerge.

Despite years of turmoil, maize continued to spread from Fujian to Jiangxi and further into Hunan during the late Ming and early Qing dynasties. Descriptions of maize appeared in local gazettes of Hunan during the Qing Dynasty, such as “half mountains, half water in one and a half provinces of Hunan… in deep mountains and poor valleys, where the land is slow to warm, people rely on maize, potatoes, yams, and other coarse grains for sustenance” and “yushu4shu1, commonly known as maize, is widely grown in the Jing  region and adjacent states.”

During the Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong reigns of the Qing Dynasty (1662-1795), maize gradually spread throughout the Huguang region following the Fujian-Jiangxi-Hunan route. The development of farming communities, known as “pengmin” , was crucial in this regard.

With the end of the chaos in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, corn began to spread more widely in China. As the movement of filling Sichuan Province with people from Hubei and Guangdong began, the spread of corn in China entered its second peak.

In 1681, the Qing court suppressed the Rebellion of the Three Feudatories. At that time, after experiencing more than 40 years of warfare during the late Ming and early Qing periods, the population of Sichuan Province plummeted from 6 million in the 6th year of the Wanli reign of the Ming Dynasty (1578) to less than 500,000 people. 90% of the population perished, and “the number of people in Sichuan Province did not even match that of a single county in other provinces.”

Faced with the devastating situation of almost complete annihilation of the indigenous population in Sichuan, the Qing court began to actively encourage people from Hubei and Guangdong to migrate to Sichuan, a movement known as “filling Sichuan Province with people from Hubei and Guangdong,” from the reign of Emperor Kangxi to Emperor Jiaqing. Over six million people migrated to Sichuan from the Hubei and Guangdong regions, injecting new vitality into the population recovery and cultivation of Sichuan.

With the massive influx of migrants from Hubei and Guangdong through the “filling Sichuan Province” movement, corn also made significant advances into Sichuan and extended into the Qinling and Bashan regions at the border of Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Hubei. During the Qianlong period, Bi Yuan, the governor-general of Shaanxi and Gansu, reported, “In the past, most of Shaanxi’s Xing’an Prefecture (now Ankang, Shaanxi) was barren mountains. However, in recent years, people from the two lakes, Anhui, Jiangxi, Sichuan, Henan, and other provinces have come to cultivate, leading to a rapid increase in the local population.”

After the shed-dwellers entered the Qinling and Bashan regions, they “went alone or with their families, cultivating the yellow mountains and planting corn and other grains.” By the Qianlong period, the local annals of southern Shaanxi, recorded in Yanchang County, stated that shed-dwellers in the mountainous areas of southern Shaanxi achieved significant corn harvests. They realized the importance of corn, which had been widely planted in the southern regions for only over 20 years, as it alleviated hunger and led to some individuals achieving small wealth. Therefore, they advocated the cultivation of corn to support the people’s food supply.

At that time, in Shaanxi, the regions of Liuba, Feng County, Ningqiang, Lueyang, Dingyuan, and Yang County, and the four regions of Zhen’an, Shanyang, Shangnan, and Luonan in Shangzhou, as well as Ankang, Shiquan, Ziyang, Xunyang, and Baihe in Xing’an Prefecture, all relied on corn and other mixed grains as their staple crops. The local people “regularly consumed them,” and in some areas of Shaanxi, there were even situations where “during a year of poor corn harvest, not only the poor had no food, even the wealthy had no grains” to rely on for survival.

With the large-scale introduction of American crops such as corn, sweet potatoes, and potatoes into mountainous regions, China began its second agricultural revolution after the introduction of Indica rice from Champa during the Song Dynasty. Historian Ge Jianxiong commented, “The introduction of high-yield and drought-resistant crops such as sweet potatoes, corn, peanuts, and potatoes significantly increased food production, leading to a new population increase.” Scholar Jiang Tao also pointed out, “The continuous improvement of grain crop varieties, especially the introduction of high-yield American grain crops, undoubtedly played an important role in the significant population growth in China during the Ming and Qing dynasties.”

Under the long-term cumulative effects of the spread of crops such as corn and sweet potatoes, the Qing Dynasty experienced a population boom, extensive land reclamation, deforestation, and soil erosion. As the ecological environment deteriorated, China also witnessed an intensification of water, drought, and locust disasters during the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican era. The peak of natural disasters occurred during the reign of Emperor Daoguang, and this ecological degradation continued to affect the Republican era. Between the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 and the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937, China experienced a staggering 77 major water, drought, and locust disasters, leading to multiple famines.

Under the impact of globalized trade and the worsening ecological environment, rural poverty became increasingly severe during the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican era. Not only in mountainous regions but also in plain areas, despite rice and wheat remaining the main crops, many farmers could no longer afford the grains they themselves cultivated as they were used to pay rent and taxes. For instance, in Huang County, Shandong, during the Republican era, corn, being much cheaper than wheat and other crops, became the staple food for local farmers:

“The main food crops are wheat and grains, with sorghum being the cheapest. In recent 20 or 30 years, the cultivation of maize has become common, and it is now commonly referred to as ‘baomi.’ Therefore, maize has become the staple food, and grain processing has become less common. The Yellow River region heavily relies on grain from the three provinces, and maize is produced in the eastern three provinces. It is cheaper than grains, so farmers cultivate it themselves. It is relatively delicious and can slightly alleviate hunger. Consequently, maize production has increased while grain production has decreased, and few people eat sorghum.”

As rural poverty worsened during the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican era, corn cultivation expanded in Henan, Hebei, Shandong, and other regions. In order to survive, farmers had to abandon the relatively refined rice and wheat and instead consume the coarser corn and sweet potatoes. Corn and sweet potatoes were more productive and affordable, allowing farmers to sustain themselves.

In 1924, Xu Ke analyzed this situation, stating, “People in the south eat rice, while people in the north eat wheat. However, this only applies to middle-class and higher families. The staple food of the lower class is sweet potatoes in the south and corn in the north, sometimes supplemented with beans in the south and millet and Job’s tears in the north.”

Due to the widespread rural poverty during the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican era, many farmers in Shandong primarily consumed corn, sorghum, and sweet potatoes, rather than wheat as commonly believed. The “Qingping County Gazette” of the Republican era in Shandong recorded, “Regarding food, wheat is considered superior and is consumed by the wealthy. However, the middle and lower classes mostly consume corn, sorghum, and occasionally sweet potatoes.”

Similarly, the “Qingyuan County Gazette” of Hebei during the Republican era mentioned, “The common food consumed by villagers includes sorghum, millet, and corn, while wheat flour is rarely used. It is only eaten on traditional holidays or a few days after the wheat harvest. Afterward, people continue to eat coarse grains. Some older people also eat wheat flour, but mostly in households that are relatively well-off. Laboring households find coarse grains more convenient.”

In Henan, the “Luoyang County Gazette” of the Republican era stated, “The poor mostly consume millet, corn, sweet potatoes, beans, and other coarse grains, along with vegetables from gardens and wild vegetables.”

During the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican era, as rural poverty became widespread, the cultivation of corn continued to flourish. It even spread to the Yellow River’s middle and lower reaches, breaking through the Great Wall and reaching Inner Mongolia and the northeastern regions. Consequently, by the Republican era, China’s crop structure gradually solidified, with rice, wheat, corn, sorghum, millet, sweet potatoes, and potatoes as the main food crops.

After more than four centuries of dissemination, corn, sweet potatoes, potatoes, and other American crops eventually took root in China and became essential staple foods on Chinese dinner tables, contributing to China’s rise as the world’s most populous country.

Corns in Chinese Archaeology

Emperor Jing of Han, Liu Qi, was the son of Emperor Wen of Han, Liu Heng. The father and son duo ushered the Western Han Dynasty into a prosperous period known as the “Reign of Wen and Jing.” However, it was not until 1990 that archaeologists discovered the tomb of Emperor Jing of Han, known as Yangling, in the Weicheng District of Xianyang City, Shaanxi Province. Due to its ancient age, the site had already been looted by tomb raiders. Through the rescue excavation conducted by archaeologists, numerous valuable cultural artifacts were still unearthed, and the true appearance of Yangling gradually revealed to the world.

This is a colossal tomb pit divided into two main areas: the northern and southern sections. It consists of fourteen rows and twenty-four pits, with the majority being clay figurine pits. Unlike the Terracotta Army of Qin, most of these clay figurines are nude male figurines with broad arms and round waists. Experts speculate that this was intended to help the emperor suppress any dark and evil forces underground. In addition, many daily life artifacts were also unearthed in Yangling, ranging from metals to silk textiles.

However, the most astonishing discovery was the presence of grains in the tomb, including several grains of corn (maize) and peanuts. This directly indicates that maize may have existed in ancient China much earlier than previously thought, and China could be one of its original habitats. Nevertheless, some argue that these seeds could have been placed there by later generations. To address this, archaeologists enlisted the help of agricultural experts, who conducted thorough investigations and analysis of the seeds. Finally, they concluded that the various grain products found in the tomb of Emperor Jing of Han dated back to the pre-Christian era, meaning that maize was indeed present during that time. This discovery advanced the timeline of maize in China by approximately two thousand years and provided a definitive answer to its presence in the country. However, regardless of this finding, it is incorrect to claim that maize was introduced to China by Columbus after he discovered it in South America. The maize seeds brought back by Columbus only reached Europe.

Where Is Corn Grown in China?

Currently, China is among the largest producers of maize in the world. The output is almost 220 million tons in a year, which is said to have increased over 12 times over the past decades. Although about ¾ of the yield is used as animal feed, it is currently ranked amongst the top three cereal crops in the country, along with rice and wheat.

Most of the maize grown in the country is cuts across the northeast to the southwest of the country, forming what is famously known as China Corn Belt. The belt is a slope of three long narrow regions made up of 11 provinces. The regions are differentiated by different agronomical and natural conditions related to corn production. The first region is the Northeastern region which grows a type of corn known as the spring corn. It is the upper part of the belt and includes the following provinces, inner Mongolia, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Liaoning. The second region is the Huang River (also known as Huai river or Hai River), which forms the central part of the belt and grows the summer corn. The provinces included are Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, and Henan. The last region and lowest part of the belt is the mountainous area of the southwest. The three provinces included in this region are Shaanxi, Yunnan, and Sichuan.

Maize diseases in China vary based on the different regions mentioned in terms of the planting pattern and season. The most predominant pests are the Asian maize borers especially. This is what led to the introduction of Hybrid maize which contributed to 40% of the increase in grain yield. China has gradually implemented biotechnology into corn production programs in an attempt to increase yield and meet the future demand of the market.

What Is the Price of Corn in China?

As we mentioned earlier, corn over the years proved to be a highly profitable crop that motivated farmers to increase the acreage for its production. By 2012, the annual growth rate of corn prices 9.6%, which raised its price to the level of wheat. By 2020, the export value of corn was $807.87 thousand and the import value was $2,49 billion.

The main reason for the increase in value and pricing of corn in China is due to the increase in production and consumption of Pork in the country. Since the pigs are fed corn as their main diet it would make sense that the demand would increase. However, there is a spatial mismatch in the demand and supply of corn in China.

Whereas corn is mainly grown in the Northeastern areas pork production is mainly in the southern and central areas of China. The cost of transporting the corn from the point of production to the point of consumption is more costly than importing the corn from other countries like the US. This is due to the corn support policy that led to the increase in imported corn consumption and a decrease in domestic corn consumption. This policy involved corn stockpiling in 2007 where the government would take corn from the farmers at minimum support prices which were still significantly higher than the market price. This increased domestic corn’s price to more than the US corn’s price.

Corn in Chinese Culture

Corn, known as “yumi” or “yumi gu” in Chinese, holds a significant place in Chinese culture and cuisine. Here are some key aspects of corn’s presence in Chinese culture:

Historical Significance: The discovery of ancient corn grains in Emperor Jing of Han’s tomb and other archaeological sites suggests that corn has a long history in China, possibly dating back thousands of years. This finding challenges the notion that corn was introduced to China only after Columbus discovered it in the Americas.

Staple Food: Corn has become an important staple crop in certain regions of China, particularly in northern areas. It is commonly consumed as a food source and used in various culinary preparations. Cornmeal and cornstarch are also widely used in Chinese cooking.

Festival Food: During the Mid-Autumn Festival, an important traditional Chinese festival, mooncakes filled with corn and other ingredients are often enjoyed. These mooncakes symbolize abundance and good fortune.

Symbolism: In Chinese symbolism, corn represents fertility, abundance, and prosperity. Its golden color is associated with wealth and good luck. Images or representations of corn can be found in traditional Chinese art, including paintings and decorative motifs.

Cultural Exchange: Corn has been incorporated into traditional Chinese cuisine and adapted to local tastes. Popular dishes include corn soup, stir-fried corn with vegetables, and corn cakes. This reflects the cultural exchange and assimilation of food traditions throughout history.

Ethnolinguistic Diversity: In certain Chinese ethnic minority cultures, such as the Miao and Yi people, corn holds great cultural significance. It plays a vital role in their traditional rituals, celebrations, and daily life. Corn-related festivals and customs are observed in these communities.

Overall, corn’s presence in Chinese culture spans history, cuisine, symbolism, and regional traditions. It continues to be valued as a staple food source and holds a place in the cultural fabric of China.

The Meaning of Corns in China

  • The symbolism of corn is prosperity, abundance, peace, and wealth. Corn represents a bountiful harvest and a positive outlook. Additionally, corn is an important crop and a common food in our daily lives.
  • Corn is also rich in nutrients. By consuming corn and other vegetables, we can maintain a vibrant spirit, abundant energy, and a healthy diet. Corn, with its golden and plump kernels tightly wrapped, protects the seeds from the elements and pests. Therefore, corn is associated with the idea of bringing wealth and attracting prosperity.
  • Corn symbolizes abundance, harvest, good luck, and happiness. It represents the tireless spirit of the ancient Chinese laboring masses who work hard to sustain themselves. During its growth, corn encloses its golden and full kernels, protecting them from wind and rain. Hence, it signifies the promise of prosperity and wealth. Corn is widely cultivated in China and is an important crop as well as a staple food in daily life.

Corns in Chinese new year

However, in reality, corn represents “abundance and wealth.” Corn is yellow in color, resembling gold. Moreover, there is a dish called “Golden Abundance” that we often make, using corn to create the golden color. Also, when we visit restaurants for gatherings or wedding banquets, we often enjoy a dish called “Pine Nut Corn,” which symbolizes wealth. Therefore, corn is an essential dish that should not be missing from the New Year’s Eve dinner table.

Corn related internet words and phrases

“Corn” is an internet slang term derived from a comedy work, used to describe someone showing off, exaggerating their own abilities, or boasting about themselves using exaggerated language. It can also be used to playfully mock oneself in a positive manner or to express confidence and superiority. The general usage of “Corn” is in text-based activities on virtual social networks, but younger users often use GIF images to apply this term, such as sharing funny emoticons or quoting catchphrases to provoke laughter and express certain beliefs. “Corn” has even become a trendy slang term in online social interactions, not limited to the younger generation but also observed among older individuals who engage in “Corn” tricks.

Corns at a Chinese Wedding

Weddings often reflect the temperament and characteristics of a nation. In China, due to the long history of agricultural production, people have a special attachment to grain crops. In many regions, different types of mixed grains are used in wedding ceremonies. So, what is the symbolism behind the use of mixed grains in weddings? The selection of five different grains is significant. In China, the number “five” has special symbolism and is associated with many auspicious sayings. Choosing five types of grains is meant to signify wishes for the couple’s future life, such as abundant harvest (“五谷丰登”), the arrival of good fortune (“五福临门”), and the success of their children in imperial examinations (“五子登科”), among other blessings. The most commonly used grains in the mixed grain selection are corn, sorghum, sticky millet, black beans, and sesame seeds. Each of these grains carries its own symbolic meaning. Corn, with its golden color and the character “玉” (jade) in its name, is believed to bring wealth and abundance to the couple’s future life. The compact arrangement of corn kernels on the cob represents the wish for many children and blessings. Additionally, the golden yellow color of corn symbolizes blessings for the couple’s marriage.

Corn in feng shui

Corn feng shui refers to the practice of utilizing the shape, color, and symbolism of corn in one’s living, working, and living environment to harmonize the energy and enhance wealth. Corn, also known as rice ears or grains, represents abundance, income, success, and other significant meanings.

In corn feng shui, corn is regarded as one of the agricultural products and possesses strong “earth” attributes. By appropriately incorporating corn, it is believed to increase the “earthy” atmosphere indoors, balance the energy field, and reduce negative energies. Additionally, corn holds various symbolic meanings such as auspicious money, abundant wealth, and long-lasting blessings, indicating its ability to ward off evil, prevent disasters, and attract good fortune.

Before practicing corn feng shui, it is important to consider the following aspects:

Corn color selection: Choose colors that harmonize with the indoor environment without being overly vibrant.

Quantity of corn: Use an appropriate quantity as an excessive amount may create a sense of oppression.

Corn shape selection: Select corn shapes that suit the style of the house for better results.

Placement of corn: Position corn in suitable locations to counteract negative energies and harmonize the energy field.

What are some practical methods of corn feng shui?

Corn feng shui encompasses various practical methods. Here are a few common ones:

Placing corn in the room: Strategically placing a moderate amount of corn can help harmonize the energy field and absorb negative energies in certain areas of the house.

Hanging corn: Use string to hang corn on doors or windows to prevent harm from evil spirits and counteract negative feng shui influences.

Using corn in decorative landscapes: Combining corn with other plants and stones to create decorative landscapes not only enhances visual appeal but also improves the energetic ambiance of the room, promoting harmony and warding off negative influences.

Creating auspicious items with corn: Crafting auspicious items with corn and placing them in the room or at the entrance of the home can bestow blessings of happiness, health, and abundant wealth upon the family.

What are the application scopes of corn feng shui?

Corn feng shui can be applied to various environments. Here are several common application scopes:

Residential feng shui: Corn can be placed in homes, hung up, or used in corn landscapes to enhance the energetic ambiance of the household.

Office environments: Corn can be placed in offices to regulate the energy field, increase opportunities, and bring auspiciousness to employees, promoting career advancement and prosperity.

Commercial spaces: Corn can be used in stores, restaurants, and other establishments to attract good luck and wealth. Additionally, corn can be hung to ward off feng shui conflicts and create better development opportunities.

Other locations: Places such as hotels, hospitals, libraries, etc., can incorporate corn to harmonize the energy field and dispel unfavorable influences.

What are the effects of corn feng shui?

Corn feng shui has various effects, including:

Harmonizing the energy field: In appropriate quantities, corn can release an earthy energy, alleviate troublesome energy fields, and promote a smooth indoor airflow, reducing residents’ stress.

Dispelling negative energy: Placing an appropriate amount of corn when there are noticeable negative spirits or blessings in the house can help neutralize the negative influences and eliminate potential wealth or health hazards.

Increasing income: Corn is associated with abundance and wealth in feng shui. Timely placement of corn can enhance income opportunities.

Preventing mold: If corn is placed in damp areas, it can absorb moisture, helping to keep the room dry and prevent mold growth.

What are the taboos of corn feng shui?

While corn feng shui is beneficial, there are also some considerations to avoid when placing corn. Here are a few prominent taboos:

Avoid excessive emphasis: While moderate corn feng shui can harmonize the body and environment, excessive emphasis can disrupt the harmony and aesthetics of the space, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Avoid haphazard placement: The positioning of corn should adhere to layout principles. Random or irrational placement of corn may yield opposite effects.

Avoid stagnation: Corn feng shui requires maintenance, and leaving corn in one place for too long can result in diminished energy and weakened feng shui effects.

Avoid inappropriateness: Placing corn in the rain may cause it to spoil, while keeping it in areas without sunlight can lead to dry and lifeless corn.

Corn feng shui is an ancient cultural practice that can bring positive changes to our living and working environments. Whether in homes, workplaces, or recreational settings, we can choose an appropriate amount of corn to adjust the feng shui. Additionally, we should pay attention to the placement, quantity, and duration of use. With awareness and respect, we can achieve better feng shui effects.

Corn in yin and yang

In the concept of yin and yang, corn can be associated with certain qualities of both yin and yang energies. Yin represents feminine, passive, and receptive qualities, while yang represents masculine, active, and assertive qualities. Here’s how corn can be related to yin and yang:

Yin qualities of corn:

Nourishment: Corn is a staple food that provides sustenance and nourishment, symbolizing the nurturing and nourishing aspect of yin energy.

Receptivity: Corn, as a crop grown in the earth, exemplifies the receptive nature of yin energy, absorbing nutrients from the soil to grow and develop.

Gentleness: The soft texture and delicate taste of corn can be associated with the gentle and soothing qualities of yin.

Yang qualities of corn:

Growth and vitality: Corn is known for its rapid growth and vigorous development, representing the dynamic and expansive nature of yang energy.

Abundance and fertility: Corn crops often yield abundant harvests, signifying the fertile and fruitful aspects of yang energy.

Assertiveness: In some cultures, corn is regarded as a strong and resilient crop that can withstand harsh conditions, symbolizing the assertive and determined characteristics of yang energy.

It’s important to note that the association of corn with yin and yang can vary across different cultural and symbolic interpretations. The concept of yin and yang is complex and encompasses a wide range of principles and associations.

Corn in Chinese medicine

  • For arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and circulatory disorders, regularly consume boiled corn.
  • For hypertension and dizziness, take 50g of corn silk and 10g of chrysanthemum flowers, decoct them into a soup, and take it twice a day. Alternatively, soak corn silk in water and drink it.
  • For hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and coronary heart disease, take 30-60g of corn flour. Add it to boiling water, stir well to form a thin paste. When cooked, add sesame oil, scallions, ginger, and salt for seasoning and consumption.
  • For urinary calculi, drink corn decoction as a substitute for tea. Corn silk can also be used, which has even better effects.
  • For edema, hypertension, and chronic nephritis, wash 30g of corn silk, add 500g of water, simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, let it settle, filter the juice, and drink it with an appropriate amount of sugar.
  • For nephritis and urinary difficulty, decoct corn silk, winter melon rind, and watermelon rind and drink the resulting liquid. Alternatively, boil them into a soup and continue to consume it.
  • For hematuria, decoct 50g of corn silk and 18g of white maogen root and drink the decoction. Take it twice a day, in the morning and evening, for 5 days as one course of treatment.
  • For edema and urinary difficulty, decoct 50g of corn silk, 20g of plantain herb, and 6g of licorice root, strain the liquid, and drink it warm. Take it once a day.
  • For nephritis-related edema and oliguria, decoct 50g of corn silk and 10g of polygonatum rhizome and drink the decoction. Take it twice a day, in the morning and evening.
  • For chronic prostatitis, steep 6g of corn silk and 10g of purslane in hot water and drink it as a tea. Take it twice a day.
  • For indigestion, diarrhea, and dysentery, peel off the outer layers of fresh corn kernels, leaving the husk, and bake it in wood ash. Consume it.
  • For hepatitis and jaundice, take an appropriate amount of corn silk, moneywort, turmeric, and herba agrimoniae, decoct them in water, and drink the resulting liquid.

does Chinese food use Corns

Yes, corn is commonly used in Chinese cuisine. It is a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into various dishes, both savory and sweet. Here are some examples of how corn is used in Chinese food:

Corn Soup: Corn kernels are often used in soups, either as the main ingredient or as a complement to other ingredients such as chicken or seafood.

Stir-Fried Corn: Corn kernels are stir-fried with vegetables and sometimes meat or seafood to create a flavorful and colorful dish.

Corn Pancakes: Cornmeal or corn flour is used to make pancakes that are commonly enjoyed as a breakfast or snack item.

Sweet Corn Pudding: Corn is blended with milk, sugar, and sometimes eggs to make a creamy and sweet dessert pudding.

Corn Dumplings: Cornmeal or corn flour is used to make dumpling dough, which can be filled with various ingredients and steamed or boiled.

Corn and Chicken Congee: Corn kernels and shredded chicken are added to a rice porridge (congee) for a comforting and nourishing dish.

Corn Salad: Fresh corn kernels are mixed with vegetables, herbs, and a dressing to create a refreshing salad.

Corns vs. Soybeans

Corns and soybeans are two different types of crops with distinct characteristics and uses. Here are some key differences between the two:

Plant Type: Corn is a cereal grain and belongs to the grass family. It grows in tall stalks and produces ears with kernels. Soybeans, on the other hand, are legumes that grow as bushy plants with pods containing edible beans.

Nutritional Composition: Corn and soybeans have different nutritional profiles. Corn is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein compared to soybeans. Soybeans, on the other hand, are an excellent source of plant-based protein and also contain healthy fats, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.

Culinary Uses: Corn and soybeans are used in different ways in culinary applications. Corn is commonly consumed as a vegetable and used in various forms such as fresh, canned, frozen, or ground into cornmeal or flour. It is used in dishes like soups, salads, stir-fries, and as an ingredient in baked goods. Soybeans are often processed into different forms like soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soy sauce, and soybean oil. They are commonly used in Asian cuisines, vegetarian/vegan dishes, and as a meat substitute.

Industrial Uses: Both corn and soybeans have significant industrial uses. Corn is used in the production of ethanol for fuel, as well as in the manufacturing of various products like corn syrup, cornstarch, and corn oil. Soybeans are used to produce soybean oil, biodiesel, animal feed, and a wide range of soy-based food products.

Agricultural Practices: Corn and soybeans also differ in terms of agricultural practices. Corn is typically grown as an annual crop in large fields, requiring ample sunlight and adequate moisture. Soybeans are often grown as rotational crops with corn, as they have a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria that fix nitrogen, benefiting the subsequent corn crop.

In summary, corn and soybeans are distinct crops with different nutritional compositions, culinary uses, industrial applications, and agricultural practices. Both have their own importance and play significant roles in various aspects of human consumption and industry.

Corns vs. Grapes

Corns and grapes are two different types of crops with distinct characteristics and uses. Here are some key differences between the two:

Plant Type: Corn is a cereal grain and belongs to the grass family. It grows in tall stalks and produces ears with kernels. Grapes, on the other hand, are fruit-bearing vines that produce clusters of berries.

Culinary Uses: Corn and grapes have different culinary applications. Corn is commonly consumed as a vegetable and used in various forms such as fresh, canned, frozen, or ground into cornmeal or flour. It is used in dishes like soups, salads, stir-fries, and as an ingredient in baked goods. Grapes are primarily consumed fresh as a fruit, but they are also used to make juice, wine, raisins, and various grape-based products.

Nutritional Composition: Corn and grapes have different nutritional profiles. Corn is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and fat. It is a good source of dietary fiber and contains various vitamins and minerals. Grapes, on the other hand, are lower in calories and carbohydrates but higher in natural sugars. They are rich in vitamins C and K, antioxidants, and provide hydration due to their high water content.

Cultivation and Harvest: Corn and grapes also differ in terms of cultivation and harvest. Corn is typically grown as an annual crop in large fields, requiring ample sunlight and adequate moisture. It is harvested when the kernels are mature and dry. Grapes, on the other hand, are perennial plants that require a longer growing season. They are often cultivated on vineyards and harvested when fully ripe and sweet.

Culinary and Cultural Significance: Corn and grapes have different cultural and culinary significance in various cuisines and traditions. Corn has been a staple food in many cultures for centuries and holds cultural significance in Native American and Latin American cuisines. Grapes, especially wine grapes, have a long history of cultivation and are associated with wine production and Mediterranean cuisine.

In summary, corn and grapes are distinct crops with different culinary uses, nutritional compositions, cultivation methods, and cultural significance. They are consumed and utilized in different ways, providing unique flavors and benefits in various cuisines and industries.

Corns vs.peanut

Corns and peanuts are two different types of crops with distinct characteristics and uses. Here are some key differences between the two:

Plant Type: Corn is a cereal grain and belongs to the grass family. It grows in tall stalks and produces ears with kernels. Peanuts, on the other hand, are legumes and grow underground. They are a type of groundnut and belong to the pea family.

Culinary Uses: Corn and peanuts have different culinary applications. Corn is commonly consumed as a vegetable and used in various forms such as fresh, canned, frozen, or ground into cornmeal or flour. It is used in dishes like soups, salads, stir-fries, and as an ingredient in baked goods. Peanuts are often eaten as a snack, used in peanut butter, or used in cooking and baking. They can be roasted, boiled, crushed for oils, or used in sauces and confections.

Nutritional Composition: Corn and peanuts have different nutritional profiles. Corn is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and fat. It is a good source of dietary fiber and contains various vitamins and minerals. Peanuts, on the other hand, are higher in protein and fat and lower in carbohydrates. They are also rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Cultivation and Harvest: Corn and peanuts also differ in terms of cultivation and harvest. Corn is typically grown as an annual crop in large fields, requiring ample sunlight and adequate moisture. It is harvested when the kernels are mature and dry. Peanuts are legumes that grow underground, and the plant produces yellow flowers that eventually turn into pods containing the peanuts. They require well-drained soil and a warm climate for successful cultivation.

Allergies: Peanuts are one of the most common food allergens, and peanut allergies can be severe and life-threatening for some individuals. Corn allergies are less common but can still occur in certain individuals. It’s important for those with allergies to avoid consuming foods that contain peanuts or corn if they are allergic.

Culinary and Cultural Significance: Corn and peanuts have different culinary and cultural significance in various cuisines and traditions. Corn has been a staple food in many cultures for centuries and holds cultural significance in Native American and Latin American cuisines. Peanuts are widely used in various cuisines, particularly in Asian, African, and American cuisines. They are also commonly associated with snacks, desserts, and peanut-based products.

In summary, corn and peanuts are distinct crops with different culinary uses, nutritional compositions, cultivation methods, and cultural significance. They offer unique flavors and benefits in various cuisines and can be enjoyed in different forms for their versatility and nutritional value.

Corns dream meaning in China

  • Dreaming of corn indicates that you will have unexpected surprises in the near future.
  • Dreaming of abundant corn growth signifies good luck coming your way.
  • Dreaming of peeling off a mottled corn cob suggests that you will experience success and happiness in various aspects of life.
  • Dreaming of someone else harvesting corn indicates that you will be delighted by the success of a friend or relative.
  • For people who are employed, dreaming of corn suggests that you may encounter obstacles at work and need to seek advice from others.
  • For young individuals, dreaming of corn signifies good fortune and the occurrence of positive events, possibly obtaining something you have long desired.
  • For middle-aged and elderly individuals, dreaming of corn suggests the need to pay more attention to your own and your family’s health. If you have been passive about seeking medical care, it is recommended to take proactive steps in disease prevention.
  • For entrepreneurs, dreaming of corn suggests that you may encounter malicious individuals or those who pose a threat to you. However, do not worry as you will also have helpful and influential individuals by your side who can assist you in both life and business. Therefore, these threats should not be feared.
  • For students, dreaming of corn signifies achieving excellent academic results.
  • For single individuals, dreaming of corn indicates a positive love life and the potential for a blossoming relationship.
  • For those in a romantic relationship, dreaming of corn suggests that you may soon meet a girlfriend or experience deepened love.
  • For married individuals, dreaming of corn signifies improving emotional connections with family members and a happy and fulfilling family life.
  • Translation into English:
  • Dreaming of corn suggests that you will have unexpected surprises in the near future.
  • Dreaming of lush corn growth indicates good luck in the coming period.
  • Dreaming of peeling off a weathered corn cob suggests that you will experience success and happiness in various aspects of life.
  • Dreaming of someone else harvesting corn indicates that you will be happy for the success of a friend or relative.
  • For working individuals, dreaming of corn suggests encountering obstacles at work and the need to seek advice from others.
  • For young people, dreaming of corn indicates good fortune and the occurrence of positive events, possibly including obtaining something they have long desired.
  • For middle-aged and elderly people, dreaming of corn suggests the need to pay more attention to their own and their family’s health. If they have been passively seeking medical care, it is advisable to take proactive measures for disease prevention.
  • For entrepreneurs, dreaming of corn suggests the possibility of encountering malicious or threatening individuals in their lives. However, they should not worry as they will also have benefactors who can help them in both their personal and professional lives, making these threats less significant.
  • For students, dreaming of corn signifies achieving outstanding academic results.
  • For single individuals, dreaming of corn indicates a positive love life and the potential for romantic development.
  • For those in a romantic relationship, dreaming of corn suggests the possibility of meeting a girlfriend or experiencing deepened love.
  • For married individuals, dreaming of corn signifies improving emotional connections with family members and a happy and fulfilling family life.


Although the corn produced in China is mainly for animal feed, there are still some areas in China that enjoy it as food. In some parts like in Northern China, you can find cornbread like Wotou, a type of steamed cornbread made from cornmeal. Regardless of whether it’s for human consumption or animal feed, corn production has proven to be profitable for China. It’s, therefore, no wonder it is among the three leading grains in the country.


Cao, L. (2003). The Introduction, Dissemination, and Impact of American Crops in China. Master’s thesis, Nanjing Agricultural University.

Han, M. (2007). The Spread of Corn in China over the Past Five Centuries. China Cultural Studies, 2007(1).

Wang, S. (1998). The Introduction of Grain Crops to South China from Overseas during the Ming Dynasty. Journal of Chinese Historical Geography, 1998(1).

Jin, H. (2008). A Study on the Historical Changes of Forests in the Qing Dynasty. Ph.D. thesis, Beijing Forestry University.

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