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Maize (Zea Mays) Cultural Practice and Production

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Maize

Maize (Zea mays)

Maize is a commonly cultivated plant of great economic importance in many countries.

It is a monocotyledon bearing simple linear eaves on a long unbranched stem.

The leaves have parallel venation and broad sheathing leaf bases for attachment to the stem.

The stem of maize is supported by whorls of prop roots.

Maize flowers

The flowers are anemophilous. They are borne in large inflorescences, the male inflorescence being terminal, and the female inflorescence axillary.

Each flower is unisexual, sessile, incomplete, and zygomorphic.

The male and female flowers occur in pairs.

Each pair forms a spikelet which is enclosed by two bracts called glumes.

The male spikelets are arranged on a large branching male inflorescence.

The female inflorescence is known as a cob.

It consists of female spikelets arranged compactly on a stout, fibrous peduncle to form a spadix.

The cob is enclosed in a series of boat-shaped leaves called spathes. The maize plant is monoecious as it bears both male and female flowers.

Each male spikelet is enclosed in a pair of leaf-like glumes. Each male flower of this pikelet is in turn enclosed in a pair of bracts called pales.

It is made up of three stamens with long filaments holding the anthers. When ripe, the filaments hold the anthers outside the glumes.

Each anther produces a large number of light pollen grains that are easily carried away by the wind.

Sepals, petals, and gynoecium are absent from the male flower.

Each female spikelet consists of one fertile flower and one sterile one. Both flowers are enclosed in a pair of glumes.

The fertile flower is well-developed and is in turn enclosed in a pair of pales.

It consists of one carpel which is made up of an ovary, a long, feathery style, and a hairy stigma.

The style extends far beyond the tip of the cob.

Together, all the styles form a tuft of long, silky threads at the free end of the cob.

In this position, they can trap pollen grains floating about in the air.

The ovary contains one large ovule. It develops into a caryopsis after fertilization.

Sepals, petals, and androecium are absent from the female flower. The sterile female flower is small, inconspicuous, and undeveloped.

Pollination and fertilisation are crucial stages in the reproductive process of maize (corn) plants, chaktty.

Maize Pollination

According to farmpally, maize has separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flower produces pollen grains, the male gamete, which is released into the air. 

The silk, which is the female flower, captures the pollen grains that are released into the air to make pollination occur. 

Maize is propagated by wind and insects, which play a big role in the transfer of the pollen grains from the tassel (male part) to the silk (female part). 

Each silk strand corresponds to a potential kernel on the cob.

How Fertilisation occurs in Maize

Once the pollen grains are transferred to the silk, they germinate and grow down the silk tube to fertilize the ovules (eggs) in the ovary of the female flower. 

Each fertilised ovule develops into a kernel of corn.

Factors responsible for better pollination and fertilization

Many factors are responsible for crops’ food yield, from genetics, species, seed and plant health, and natural elements.

Of course yes, for pollination and fertilization, good weather conditions such as water, wind, optimum temperature, and low humidity, support pollen grains release, and silk receptivity.

Another factor is the spacing in seed planting, chaktty reinstated. You should not plant it too close to one another so there would be enough space for the plants to grow.

Adequate spacing between plants allows for better airflow and pollen grains transfer.

Also, make sure the soil is loamy, and moisture levels support healthy plant growth and reproductive development.

Timely planting is also important, make sure you plant on fertile soil and ensure synchronization of flowering among plants, optimizing pollination.

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