Integrated Crop Management News

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July dawns with some corn starting to tassel. Corn is a dioecious plant; that is, the male and female flowers are borne in separate structures with the male flowers in the tassel and female flowers in the ears. This process increases the chances that the plants will crossbreed. Pollen (male) is shed to the wind, landing on silks (female) to achieve pollination. The separation of the flowers, and also in timing—the tassels generally shed pollen one to a few days before the female silks are receptive—increases the chances of natural interbreeding. However, in many modern hybrids, male and female flowering is closer and tassels and ears emerge close to the same time.

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Iowa State University



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