Parts of a corn plant include the roots, brace roots and nodes as well as the stalk, leaves, ears and tassel. Small stalks called shanks grow out of the nodes to contain the ear in a husk. Within the husk, a hair-like structure called a silk surrounds the kernels, growing from a cylindrical structure known as a cob. A single ear of corn may have up to 1,000 kernels.
Corn is an annual grass, jointed like bamboo, with long, pointed leaves springing from the nodes. Below the central stalk, two separate root systems anchor the heavy plant. The seminal roots take up water and nutrients, while the nodal or brace roots provide extra support and grow above ground.
The male part of the corn plant is the tassel. The tassel emerges from the top of the plant after the leaves have developed. Flowers on the tassel release pollen grains, which contain the male reproductive cells.
The female part of the corn plant is the ear. Parts of the ear include a shank, husk, cob, silk and hundreds of kernels. The kernel has three main parts: a tough outer covering known as a hull, a corn plant embryo called a germ and the endosperm, a mix of starch and sugar that feeds the developing germ.
Pollination occurs when the pollen grains fall on the exposed silks. Eggs inside immature ears develop into kernels following pollination.