Corn is a monoecious plant, a hermaphrodite, where both the male and female reproductive parts are present in the same plant. Reproduction is carried out sexually. It is wind-pollinated. The tassel that springs up from the top of the plant after the leaves have appeared are the male parts of the corn plant. It comprises of branches which hold male flowers. These male flowers produce male sex cells which are contained in the pollen grains.
The ear is the female floral organ which evolves from the head of the shank. It is a tiny structure that emerges out of a leaf node usually situated above the ground and below the tassel. Pollination occurs when pollen grains fall on the silk (hair-like structures on each egg) when they are exposed. Successively, male sex cells move down each silk to meet a single egg after which fertilization takes place. The egg, post-fertilization, matures into a kernel which holds an embryo and eventually emerges into a new corn plant.
However, the occurrence of silk and its exposure to pollen grains are very rare. Hence, to produce corn on a larger scale, the reproduction process of corn is carried out manually by fusing pollen grains with the silk of the corn.
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