Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - so many flowers, so little to see

The tree rats planted maize in many of our gardens and this particular plant even at a 2 feet tall decided to flower.  And what a display it is.  There are not too many of us who when we look at such a thing think "look at all the purple flowers".  Each filament of "silk" is actually a quite long style with a diffuse stigma, and each style is attached to a pistil tucked away inside the many protective bracts.  So that's quite a few flowers.  Since maize is a wind pollinated plant there is nothing really surprising about the lack of showy parts. The pollen flowers are borne at the tope of the stem and all together form the tassel.  After pollination the pistil turns into a one-seeded fruit (a caryopsis) that we eat at a juvenile stage or when it is mature it gets ground into meal.  


Christopher Taylor said...

I only learnt in the past week that the silk itself may be boiled to make tea, presumably after it's matured and dried.

The Phytophactor said...

Tea? A maizing.