Pollination of the Corn

The popcorn has all tasselled out and now the ears are starting to develop.  I love watching the pollination progress of the corn plant, as its different from other crops.

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The tassel which emerges from the top, after all of the leaves have developed, is the male flower of the plant. Eventually the tassels release pollen grains, which if you look close you can see the grains attached by a tiny thread, the slightest breeze will make the grains wave and flicker. The female flowers develop into the corn’s ears, which contain the tasty kernels.

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The pathway for the pollen grains to make their way down into the corn cob are the shiny corn silks. Each silk is connected to one future kernel. So to have a nice full ear of corn, you need a lot of pollination moving on that corn silk highway. Corn is wind-pollinated, so during the windy afternoons I like to sit back and watch the tassels shake over neighboring corn ears as the silks try to grab whatever pollen it can reach. If you haven’t realized already, I’m pretty corn obsessed.

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4 thoughts on “Pollination of the Corn

  1. Really appreciate this post about how corn comes to be! Liked it so much I had to post on my facebook, alomg with a photo of the GLASS GEM corn patch (9 plants) we have this year. I will bring a couple of ears down to you some Friday morning Andrea, if you want.

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