P&PDL Picture of the Week for
January 16, 2006

Got Zebras in Your Corn Field?

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen, Purdue Extension Agronomist

Leaf striping in corn can be a diagnostic symptom of nutrient deficiencies. However, sometimes growers find single plants scattered randomly throughout a field that exhibit a more distinct zebra-like striping like those depicted in the accompanying images. Individual plants with such defined striping result from genetic mutations that affect chlorophyll development in very specific spatial patterns in the leaves. The distinct striping and the random occurrence of single affected plants are key clues to identifying genetic mutation as the factor involved with the leaf striping and not nutrient deficiency.

Click image to enlarge

Zebra striping on corn

Zebra striping on corn

Plant 1

Zebra striping on corn

Zebra striping on corn

Plant 2

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service