What is it? - Knowledgebase Question

Reno, Ne
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Question by steveskorea
September 8, 2010
I have several corn stalk type plants about two feet high in backyard. I have grown corn before, but the tassels at the top looks more like a plant that is going to seed.

Answer from NGA
September 8, 2010
What you describe is an abnormal condition, caused by genetic confusion. The tassels are the male parts of the plant. These produce pollen which generally falls down onto the silks of the developing ears. Each kernel within an ear is attached to a pair of silks. Pollen travels down each silk to fertilize the potential kernel. When complete fertilization takes place, it results in a plump kernel. When pollination is poor, ears of corn will not have straight rows of kernels, but will have some gaps between kernels or missing rows of kernels. Now, back to your confused corn. It seems to want to produce seeds right at the tassel instead of in the ear. You can cut these off the plants, or if you're curious, allow them to grow. These plants may or may not develop ears of corn along the stalk. I don't think I'd save the seeds from these plants!

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