Leaming Corn / Reid's Yellow Dent

Kansas State Agricultural College, Agricultural Experiment Station, Bulletin No. 193, pp. 440-444. (Dec 1913)
Albert Moore Ten Eyck


HISTORY. Leaming is the oldest known variety of corn. It was originated by Mr. J. S. Leaming, Wilmington, Ohio, in 1826, from selected seed of the ordinary yellow corn, grown extensively at that time on bottom land in Hamilton county. This yellow corn was a large, rather late, slow-maturing variety. Mr. Leaming selected for early maturity and uniform ripening, He chose seed ears which tapered slightly from butt to tip, well filled at ends, with straight rows, and rather large, rectangular, blocky kernels, of medium depth and 'dimple' dent. For fifty-six years Mr. Leaming followed this method of selection, and his son and others have continued his work, but the breeders in later years have lengthened the kernel, reduced its blockiness, evolved a deeper indentation and an ear which is more cylindrical in shape.

CHARACTERISTICS. Leaming corn in Kansas is a medium-early variety, maturing in 110 to 120 days. The stalks are medium in size and length, and not very leafy and quite free from suckers. A field of this variety has a uniform appearance, indicating good breeding. The corn matures evenly and quickly, the result of its careful early breeding, but this may not be a desirable character in Kansas corn. It is not so valuable for fodder as other ranker-growing, more leafy varieties. The writer has observed that the Kansas Leaming corn grows ranker and matures later than that from more recently imported seed of the same variety.

No. 3.—Leaming


HISTORY. Reid's Yellow Dent is the purest and most highly bred variety of corn in America. So carefully has it been bred, and so true is its type when grown under favorable conditions, that it has become the greatest prize winner among yellow varieties of corn throughout the corn belt. This corn was originated by Robert Reid, in Tazewell county, Illinois, in 1847, from a natural cross between a large, rather late-maturing, red corn, known as "Gordon Hopkins" corn, which Mr. Reid brought with him to Illinois from Brown county, Ohio, and the "Little Yellow" corn, a rather early-maturing variety grown at that time quite generally in Tazewell county. The cross was accidental and came from replanting the missing hills in a field of the red corn with the early yellow variety. Mr. James L. Reid, son of Robert Reid, recognized the value of this cross-bred corn and at once began to improve it. He continued its careful breeding for more than fifty years, until its characteristics were firmly fixed.

The Reid's corn has been more widely distributed than any other variety. It is probably grown in every state in the Union and in every corn country in the world.

There are now many contemporary breeders of this corn in all parts of the corn belt. These breeders have developed somewhat different types of the Reid corn, adapted to different climatic and soil conditions. The variety readily adapts itself to new environments, but as long as it is kept pure, no amount of selection appears to destroy the old Reid characteristics of color, form of ear and shape of kernel which were established by fifty years of continued careful selection.

CHARACTERISTICS. The Reid's corn is a medium-early variety, maturing in 110 to 120 days. It is not so regular or uniform in its maturing habit as Leaming, but it is quite similar in type of stalk, producing stalks of medium size and height on the Station grounds, with few suckers. It has rather more abundant foliage than Leaming, and makes a little better fodder, but its distinctive purpose is the production of a good ear on every stalk, whenever the conditions are favorable.

The well-developed ears of this variety are nearly cylindrical or slightly tapering near the tip, with deeply rounded, symmetrical butts, and rounded, well-covered tips. The shanks are small and the cobs are medium in size and dark red in color. The rows of kernels are straight and distinctly paired and very closely spaced. This close spacing is due to the wedge-shaped kernel and the triangular outline of the kernel edges, which dovetails together; The kernels are rather narrow and medium deep and the germs are inclined to be narrow and long. As originally bred the indentation was dimpled or slightly creased. The best breeders are to-day selecting for a deeper indentation and a broader, more rectangular kernel, with more space at the crowns. Reid's corn has a lighter yellow color than Leaming and the kernels are a little softer and more starchy. In the judgment of the writer, this variety has not left as strong an impression upon the local varieties of the state as Leaming, Legal Tender, Silvermine, Boone County White, and St. Charles White.

No. 4.—Reid's Yellow Dent

Paul de Kruif: The Hunger Fighters (1928)
Leaming and Reid Yellow Dent corn