Anatomy of the Corn Plant


A corn plant, unlike other major grain crops, has separate male and female flowering parts. Since each plant possesses both parts, it is this self-pollinating. The flowering stage in corn is the most critical stage for producers of corn.

General Corn Plant Parts

  • Corn plants are comprised of a stalk, leaves, leaf nodes and roots. Each corn plant also has a tassel and an ear, which are the reproductive parts of the plant.


  • The tassel is the male reproductive part of a corn plant. It consists of several small branches, along which small flowers grow. The flowers release pollen grains, which contain the male sex cell.


  • The ear is the female reproductive part of a corn plant. Ears develop from "shanks," which are stalk-like structures that grow from the plant's leaf nodes. A corn plant may produce many ears, but the uppermost ear will grow to be the largest. The ear consists of a cob, eggs that eventually develop into kernels and silks. Pollination occurs when pollen from the male tassel falls on the female silks.

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