I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup. ~Wendell Berry
Monday, July 25, 2011
A Little Education on Corn
The corn has tasseled in most areas of Nebraska.
And since Nebraska is all about corn,
it's time you shared in our excitement.
Most people know very little about
the pollination process of corn.
But success or failure during the period of pollination
greatly determines grain yield at harvest time.
During the course of development of the corn plant
the male component (the tassel) and the
female component (the ear) result.
The anthers are those red looking
things in the photo that hang from the tassel during pollination.
An anther and its attached filament comprise the stamen of the male flower.
Under a magnifying lens, anthers look somewhat like the double barrel of a shotgun.
An individual tassel produces approximately 6,000 pollen-bearing anthers,
although hybrids can vary greatly for this number.
Pollen is dispersed through pores that open at the tips of the anthers.
The yellow or white “dust-like” pollen that falls from a tassel represents millions of individual pollen grains. Estimates of the total number of pollen grains produced per tassel range from 2 to 25 million. Each pollen grain contains the male genetic material necessary for fertilizing the ovary of one potential kernel.
The female receptor on a corn plant is the silk.
The pollen is primarily distributed by wind from the tassels to the corn "silk"
which is actually the stigma and style of the corn ovary (kernal).
The pollen germinates sending a pollen tube through the silk into the ovule where the egg cell is located.
The sperm nucleus fertilizes the egg and a second sperm nucleus fertilizes the polar nuclei to form endosperm.
There is one silk strand for each kernal of corn on the cob.
Each piece of corn silk is attached to one kernel of corn through the cob.
The cob is just a piece that holds the kernels on the place that they are fertilized.
If you cut open a corn cob and look at it well,
you can see the pathways that the silk transmits the fertilization to the kernel.
And now you know.
p.s. This is not my cornfield. My corn is in the garden : )