Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/350

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346
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

PERFECT FLOWERS IN MAIZE
By Professor E. G. MONTGOMERY

UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA

IN The Popular Science Monthly of January, 1906, the author wrote a brief article entitled, "What is an Ear of Corn," presenting some observations on the occurrence of hermaphrodite flowers in maize; this occurrence with other evidence indicating that maize had probably originated in some manner from a perfect flowered plant, while in all cultivated maize the flowers are strictly single, being either male or PSM V79 D350 Hermaphrodite flower of maize.pngFig. 1. Hermaphrodite Flower of Maize (Zea mays) showing structural features (reproduced from former article). female. However, a comparative study of male flowers (from the tassel) and female flowers (from the ear) showed analogous parts in both. The tassel flowers in the older stages, however, are borne in pairs, while the ear flowers are single, but a study of the embryonic ears showed the male flowers to be twinned at this stage, but as development took place one of these flowers became entirely abortive and only one fully developed. Perfect flowers were also found in somewhat deformed plants, which looked in many ways like reversion in types. A study of the gross structure of the ear and tassel showed a close structural analogy between the ear (including cob)

PSM V79 D350 Ears of maize bearing perfect flowers.png

Fig. 2. Ears of Maize bearing perfect Flowers. These ears are quite young, i. e., just in blossom. The mature ears averaged about six inches in length. Practically all ears of this strain came true to type.