corn cob tassels

The physiological basis for the survival of the female floral parts on the tassel is likely hormonally-driven, but the environmental "trigger" that alters the hormonal balance is not known.

Interestingly, both reproductive structures initiate as perfect (bisexual) flowers, containing both male and female reproductive structures. The corn tassel is the part of the plant where the pollen comes from, see bottom left picture.,,,, equal access, Berglund, G.J. Most of the time the plant will continue to grow and produce tasty corn for you. The pollen from the top stamen of a corn plant mixes with the silks from the ears of the corn to fertilize the corn.

Corn (Zea mais) produces a tassel of silks at the top of each ear when the plants are ready to start producing. Extension. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! The kernels will be almost fully grown, and they will be at an 80 percent moisture level.

Much discussion always ensues over the causes of tassel ears, but the usual consensus is that it falls into the general category of corny oddities and is rarely a yield-influencing factor. The male flower of the corn plant is known as a corn tassel. Springer-Verlag, New York, Inc. Iriarte, Fanny and Alison Robertson. [URL accessed Oct 2019]. This is the pollen, without which your corn will not produce ears. At 36 days after fertilization or silking, the kernels will almost all be dented or in the process of denting. Does Tillering Impact Corn Yield?

If you look closely at the tassel, you will notice that each frond is covered with a powdery yellow substance.

Interestingly, both reproductive structures initiate as perfect (bisexual) flowers, containing both male and female reproductive structures. Integrated Crop Management News, Iowa State Univ. Milking is the stage when the corn ears are ready to be harvested.

There are also known genetic mutations that alter normal tassel development by allowing the female flower components to survive.

Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 35:269-287, Missouri Botanical Garden Press. This usually occurs around 55 to 66 days after the corn seedling emerges from the ground.

Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, North Dakota State University; Corn Growth and Management Quick Guide; D.A. You’ve planted your corn and to the best of your ability have provided adequate corn plant care, but why are your corn plant tassels coming out so soon? The tassel represents the male flower on a corn plant, while the ear shoots represent the female flowers.

every three days until the corn matures. Silking is the stage when the tassles or corn silk emerges from the ear of the corn.

This material may be available in alternative formats. Silk Tassel Bush Care: Learn About Growing Silk Tassel Plants, Corn Pollination - How To Hand Pollinate Corn, Tassel Hyacinth Growing: Learn About Tassel Hyacinth Bulbs In The Garden, Beginner Garden Tips: Getting Started With Gardening, Homemade Syrups – Making Syrups For Immune Health, Gardening With Herbs – Herb Garden Tips And Tricks, Seaside Vegetable Garden: Tips For Growing Vegetables On Coast, Common Rutabaga Problems: Learn About Rutabaga Pests And Disease, What Are Currant Tomatoes: Different Types Of Currant Tomato, Saving Bean Seeds: How And When To Harvest Bean Seeds, DIY Plant Rescue: Finding And Bringing Plants Indoors, Winter Crafting Ideas: My Top Craft Projects For Fall And Winter, Creating A Terrarium To Beat Winter Blues, Epic Garden Fail: DIY Raised Beds From Hell. © 1995,,, Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Denting is the process that occurs to corn kernels if the ears are left on the plant after the milking stage has passed. Tillers or “Suckers” in Corn: Good or Bad? These two odd tassel symptoms are not related and, in fact, look totally different.

Luft, Nanticha. Blistering is the next stage of corn development. On the flip side, corn tassels too soon can occur if it is stressed by drought, nutrient deficiencies, or hot and dry conditions. Crop Focus, Pioneer Seeds. 2003. Thomison, Peter, David Lohnes, Allen Geyer, and Marguerite Thomison. 2015.

eems like every year some fellow walks into the Chat 'n Chew Cafe carrying an odd-looking tassel that is part tassel and part ear to show off to the guys over at the corner table. When Is Corn on the Cob Ready to Harvest?→, The Differences Between Sweet Corn & Feed Corn→. At this stage, the corn plant is ready to be pollinated.

Consequently, harvestable, good quality, grain from tassel ears is rare. [URL accessed Oct 2019]. Agronomic Crops Network, Ohio State University Extension [URL accessed Oct 2019]. The corn tassel is the male reproductive organ of a corn plant, so without it, your corn will not pollinate. If you have trouble accessing The male flower of the corn plant is known as a corn tassel. A "tassel ear" is an odd-looking affair and is found almost exclusively on tillers or "suckers" of a corn plant along the edges of a field or in otherwise thinly populated areas of a field. Tassel Ears in Corn. Such ears are not suitable for eating and should be removed to direct the plant's energy back toward more viable ears.

If your corn tassels too soon, however, do not worry.


The more silks that are fertilized, the more kernels there will be per ear. After pollination, the kernels begins forming within the ears of the corn cob.

At this stage, the corn plant is ready to be pollinated. After tassels form, corn needs to be watered 1 inch (2.5 cm.) After the bulk of the plant growth is complete, tassels will appear on top of the plant. Pioneer. if (yr!=1995) [URL accessed Oct 2019]. Thomison, Peter. Corn needs lots of moisture, especially on hot and sunny days when the humidity is low. Corn is not overly difficult to grow; however, some gardeners have concerns when their corn tassels too soon. Tassel Ears. The male and female reproductive organs of a corn plant are contained in physically separate unisexual flowers (a flowering habit called "monoecious" for you trivia fans.)

Integrated Pest & Crop Management, Univ of Missouri Extension. 2009. Wind carries the pollen to the female flower, or the silk, on the corn plant. Nielsen, R.L.

The tassel’s job is to produce pollen that encourages the growth and ripening of the corn ear. The cob will be almost full size, and the silks of the ear will begin to darken and dry out. [URL accessed Oct 2019].

Soon after each each reproductive structure has initiated, the female components (gynoecia) of the tassel and the male components (stamens) of the ear shoots abort, resulting in the unisexual flowers (tassels and ears) we come to expect. Sweets, Laura. The more silks that are fertilized, the more kernels there will be per ear.

Left or right arrow on your keypad will cycle through the popup images. When the tassles of the corn plant emerge, the plant is entering the fertilization stage. Once in a while, some or many of the female flower parts survive and develop on the tassel, resulting in individual kernels or partial ears of corn in place of part or all of the tassel. of water every seven days until it is about 15 inches (38 cm.)

Corn plants need to pollinate each other in order to become fertile. Without a protective husk covering, the kernels that develop on tassel ears are at the mercy of weathering and hungry birds. , Purdue University, an equal access, Ear and Tassel Development in Maize. in Freeling & Walbot, eds., The Maize Handbook, pp 37-47. This stage usually occurs around 20 days after silking or fertilization of the corn. [URL accessed Oct 2019]. Signs of Crazy Top in Corn. All Rights Reserved.

Corn that is exposed to cold temperatures early in the growing season may develop tassels too early.


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