"Corn" in English is used for a variety of grains depending on the locale. This term "Welschkorn" is used by Carl Schurz to describe a field of grain in the Palatine. It is not critical to following the narrative but I am just curious and I have not found an answer on the Internet.


3 Answers 3


The German Wikipedia for corn (zea mays):

Auf eine fremde bzw. überseeische Herkunft verweisen auch die Bezeichnungen „Welschkorn“, die vor allem im Pfälzischen verbreitet ist, ...
(The term "Welschkorn, which is especially common in the Palatine hints to the foreign or overseas origin,...)

Another candidate is buckwheat, but here no regional uses for "Welschkorn" are given:

In manchen Gegenden wird Buchweizen auch als Heiden, Heidenkorn, Blenden, Brein, schwarzes Welschkorn, Gricken (lit. Grikiai) oder türkischer Weizen (bei Th. Storm) bezeichnet, ...
(In some areas buckwheat is called (...) black Welschkorn...)

Note that for buckwheat typically the adjective "black" is added, so check your sources.


Taking your (probable) source into account

Ich hatte während der Belagerung oft Gelegenheit gehabt, mir die unmittelbare Umgebung der Festung genauer anzusehen, und kannte daher das Terrain, in welchem der Kanal draußen mündete, ziemlich gut. Ich schlug meinem Genossen vor, daß wir auf der Bank bis gegen Mitternacht sitzen bleiben sollten, um dann den Kanal zu verlassen und zuerst die Deckung eines nahen mit Welschkorn bepflanzten Feldes zu suchen. Von da würden wir, wenn der Himmel klar wäre, einen kleinen Teil des Weges nach Steinmauern, einem etwa eine Stunde von Rastatt entfernten am Rhein gelegenen Dorfe überblicken können – wenigstens hinreichend, um uns zu vergewissern, ob wir uns ohne unmittelbare Gefahr aus dem Welschkornfelde herauswagen dürften.

and double-checking with the Palatine and Lorraine dictionary of the University Trier and the Southern Hessian dictionary of the Hessisches Landesamt für geschichtliche Landeskunde, I'm quite sure that Schurz describes corn.

Apart from that, hiding in a buckwheat field is very difficult:

enter image description here (Source)

Generally, the term "Welsch-" denotes foreign origin, typically referring to the geographically closest "Roman tribe or nation" - for the Palatine that would be France, for (Southern) Tyroleans Italy. It can often be understood as a somewhat generic term for "foreign".

  • That excerpt is, in fact, the source of my question. So do you believe Schurz is referring to a field of maize? Feb 2, 2016 at 2:58
  • @JoeD'Alessandro - yes, that's how I read it.
    – Stephie
    Feb 2, 2016 at 15:05
  • If this is indeed the source used, then one maybe nit-picky comment: The two mentioned places Rastatt and Steinmauern are not nor have ever been belonging to the Palatinate, but instead to Baden
    – tofro
    Feb 17, 2016 at 16:21

In southern German dialects, "Welschkorn" is simply corn (maize). Buckwheat is "schwarzes Welschkorn".


Being from Lorraine, I have heard in Alsace, people saying "Turki" not for wheat but for corn. It might have had the general meaning of "foreign" as you say about things that are given the name "Welsh", but in fact there is another attested explanation. Some corn seeds, coming from America have found their way to the big market of Constantinople-Istanbul ; from that place, corn has been introduced progressively through the Danube and its affluents in central Europe. It arrived very late (19th century) in Western Europe.

J. M. B.

  • Some people mean cereals generally when they say corn, but some mean maize specifically. Which do you mean?
    – RedSonja
    Feb 1, 2016 at 8:28
  • 1
    Welcome to the site! I suggest you take the tour and visit our help center to get a better idea of how this site works. Note that we answer the question that is asked, not contribute additional information that may or may not be vaguely related to the discussed subject. This is where Stack Exchange sites are fundamentally different from many other forums on the web, which style you might be more familiar with. In this particular case, the original poster asks about the term "Welschkorn", not about various names of corn and their origin.
    – Stephie
    Feb 1, 2016 at 8:29

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