Curiosities: Why do corncobs have silky hair?

By Eddy Montilla.

Corncob

The silky hair that we can see on corncobs has nothing to do with beauty, but with sex. Let’s see… Eh? It’s Ok! Since we are talking about plants, this topic is suitable for all ages!

     In general, corn plants do not heavily rely on the insects and brightly colored flowers process to transfer pollen, so that flowers can develop seeds. They rely on the wind to transfer pollen instead. The corn silk corresponds to the female part of the plant. To be more precise, it is the stigma, the part located at the top of the pistil where pollen is received. Remember that this fine powder (pollen) is necessary to make flowers produce seeds. Thanks to these silks, the pistil can “stretch” and hold better the pollen to start the fertilization process. Then, the flower will have seeds and we can enjoy a delicious corncob in different dishes.

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