Tag Archives: How corn grows

Why Corn is Such a Miracle Food

Pixabay sharing

Kernels of corn are each a unique miracle of flowering plants (Photo: Pixabay sharing).

The Magic of Ears of Corn: Appreciating Your Food

Corn, or maize, is a common staple of picnics and cookouts during the summer, but I was amazed to find out how little people knew about the biological "magic" that is corn.

corn wiki

Corn is the product of a delicate balance of flowering and ovary development (Photo: Wiki commons).

In the US we use the word "corn" to refer to a very particular type of plant, specifically maize, or the tall plant with yellow compound fruits. Corn is in the family of Poaceae and with the monocots or grasses.  Outside of North America "corn" can mean any grain crop. The fruit of corn is called a caryopsis or grain, and all corn plants have male and female parts. The male part (or inflorescence) is called the tassel, and it emerges at the top of the plant after all of the leaves have developed.

 

male corn flowers or tassels wiki

The male flowers, or tassel, emerges from the top of the stalk of corn (Photo: Wiki commons).

This tassel has many small branches, and along these branches you can see the male flowers and anthers, which produce pollen. The pollen is wind dispersed, and because it is relatively heavy it doesn't fall far from the plant, usually just on its neighbors and not itself.

Female corn tassels wiki

This is the female inflorescence of the corn, with the tassels each attached to one ovule of corn inside the husk (Photo: Wiki commons).

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