Just because I can't work in the garden at the moment doesn't mean I have to stay out of it. Actually, I'm supposed to get off my butt and take a stroll now and then, so I walk to the garden, walk around the garden, walk around the house, walk to the garden, walk around the garden, walk around the house... And I resist the temptation to pull weeds, or pick up the hose, or bend down to take a closer look - I'm being a good girl and following doctor's orders. But my camera weighs less than 5 pounds so it can come along for the stroll.
I was busy admiring the stand of Cascade Ruby Gold flint corn this morning. It started tasseling a couple of weeks ago. Look at that pretty boy, just loaded with pollen and shedding like crazy well ahead of the arrival of...
the pretty girls. This girl has a particularly luxuriant silky mane.
I'm thrilled to see that there are ears developing and a number of the stalks have at least 2 ears and there's a few stalks with 3 ears. Good Girls. They've been helped along by the mild temperatures and persistent breeze that we've been experiencing lately. Did you know that corn "flowers", i.e. tassels and silks, both start as perfect flowers. Perfect flowers have both male and female parts. But at some point in their development the male parts abort in what will become the ears and the female parts abort in what will become the tassels.
Usually. Every once in a while they both develop and the plant produces a tassel-ear. Crazy.
I had to look this one up, I've never seen such a thing before. The ear is growing at the tip of the main tassel stem and the weight of it is pulling it down. Tassel-ears usually develop at the tip of a tiller (side shoot) along the edge of the corn patch and indeed this is on one of the tillers on the plant that is in the corner of the patch. There's another tassel-ear on a tiller of a plant in another corner of the patch but it is too high on the plant for me to be able to photograph it. My understanding is that the tassel ear kernels can become fully developed but since they have no protective husk they usually get munched before they mature. I'm going to keep an eye on this oddball.