Corn Grain

Corn plants have an erect, solid stem, rather than the hollow stem characteristic of most other grasses. They vary widely in height, from 2 feet (61 cm) to 18 feet (5.5 meters), depending on the variety. The plants have long narrow leaves that grow alternately along the length of the stalk. Each stalk terminates with a tassel bearing tiny flowers that produce pollen, the male gamete. The ear, covered by modified leaves called husks, is the pistillate (female) part of the plant and bears up to 1,000 seeds. A cluster of silk fibers protrudes from the tip of the ear, each fiber attached to an individual ovary. Pollen from the tassels is carried by the wind and falls onto the silks. There, it germinates and grows down through the silk until it reaches the ovary, each of which develops into a kernel of corn.

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