what's growing out of my corn stalks? - Knowledgebase Question

Studio City, Ca
Question by wendy764
July 14, 2010
I planted sweet yellow and tri color corn in mid May. (I live in L.A.) They were tihy seedlings then and now vary in height from 4-9' tall! Most of the stalks have at least 1, some have 2 and even 1 has 3 ears of corn growing out of the sides. My question is, what's growing out of the top of my stalks?? I have kinda scraggly,


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Answer from NGA
July 14, 2010

0

You've discovered the tassels! This is where the pollen is formed so your plants can develop kernals of corn on those ears. Here's how it works. When the ears of corn begin to develop you'll see some silks poking out of the ends of the ears. There are two silks attached to the cob where a single kernal of corn can develop. When the tassles mature at the top of the plant they drop pollen down onto the plant. When a grain of pollen reaches the silk, it travels down the silk (which is hollow) and reaches each potential kernal of corn on the cob. When this happens the corn kernal develops. This is why you may sometimes find an ear of corn and find empty places in the rows. These empty spots are where the pollen from the tassel did not travel down through the silk to make the kernal grow. We usually leave the tassels on the corn stalks, just to make sure all the ears of corn have the opportunity to fully develop. After you harvest your corn, the corn stalks with the tassels attached make interesting Halloween or Thanksgiving decorations. Hope this information is helpful. Enjoy your corn!

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