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.