The Corn Plant by Numbers

Mr. Potato Head

Each corn plant has a male and female flower. The tassel at the top of each stalk is the male flower which produces millions of grains of pollen. The ear of the corn is the female flower.  

Pollination occurs as the pollen grains come into contact with the corn silk at the end of each ear. To ensure pollination, each tassel contains from 2 to 5 million pollen grains which translates to a few thousand pollen grains produced for each strand of silk.

There is one piece of silk for each kernel of corn and a well developed ear of corn has 750 to 1000 kernels. These are arranged in an even number of rows, typically 16.

A corn stalk can grow 7 to 10 feet tall over its lifetime.

Reference: Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension
Department of Horticulture and Crop Science