Corn Imbabura, the province of the lakes, of corn and handicrafts, is a tourist destination enshrining a myriad of landscapes and cultures. Corn or maize (Zea mays) has always been part of Imbaburaâ€™s rites and traditions. This grain, originating in America, is a fastgrowing annual plant that can reach a height of 2.5 m. Two or three very dense shoots grow off its solid, rigid, erect stalk; these are the cobs of corn. There are seven varieties of corn: white, purple, yellow, chulpi, popcorn, morocho and jora (germinated corn). White, floury corn is the most widely grown and eaten in the province, which ranks first in the production of soft corn, both on the cob and as a dry grain. The number of rows of grain can vary from eight to thirty.
Corn, traditionally believed to be sacred, is highly nutritious. It is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins A, B and C, fibre and mineral salts like potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Purple corn is the most outstanding for its nutritional and medicinal benefits, being a great ally in the fight against diabetes and obesity. Its extract contains high levels of anthocyanin, the pigment providing its purple colour. This increases the activity of a gene that inhibits bad cholesterol, stimulates blood circulation and prevents the development of bowel cancer. Other major agricultural products in this province are wheat, barley, hard dry corn and dry kidney beans.