Ohio State University Extension

Ohio State University Extension
Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1044

Corn Pollination - An Overview


Unlike all other major grain crops, the corn plant has separate male and female flowering parts. The tassel and ear shoot are the male and female flowering structures, respectively, of the plant. The flowering stage in corn, which involves pollen shed and silking, is the most critical period in the development of a corn plant from the standpoint of grain yield determination. Drought, high temperature stress, as well as hail damage and insect feeding have the greatest impact on yield potential during the reproductive stage. The following is an overview of some of the key steps and phases of the corn pollination process.

Source: Aldrich, S. R., W. O. Scott, and R. G. Hoeft. 1986. Modern Corn Production. 3rd edition. A&L Publications (Chapter 1 - "How the Corn Plant Grows").

Prepared by:
Peter Thomison
Extension Agronomist

All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.

Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension.

TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-6181

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