P&PDL Picture of the Week for
April 5, 2010

Corny Oddities: Siamese Triplets

RL (Bob) Nielsen, Extension Corn Specialist, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University

Once in a while strange things occur in plants. Over the years, I occasionally come across examples of corn kernels that contain multiple embryos. The accompanying photos illustrate an example of "Siamese Triplets" where three embryos developed within a single kernel and, ultimately, developed into three corn seedlings sharing the same endosperm reserves of the mother kernel. These embryos appeared to be complete in the sense that each exhibited not only a coleoptile (containing the first few leaves) but also a radicle root. The three embryos were seemingly connected to a common scutellar node.

Click image to enlarge

Siamese corn

Siamese corn

Siamese corn

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service