P&PDL Picture of the Week for
July 31, 2006

Two Ears, Same Ear Shank

Bob Nielsen, Extension Corn Specialist

It is not uncommon to see two or more ears develop at different stalk nodes on a single plant. Once in a while one finds two or more ears developing from the same ear shank at a single stalk node. This curiosity serves as a reminder that what we usually call the ear shoot is actually comprised of a miniature stalk (the ear shank), leaves (husks), and flowers (ears). The main growing point of the ear shank initiates an ear (female flower) whereas the growing point of the main stalk of the plant initates a tassel (male flower). The ear shank is composed of many stalk nodes, each of which initiates a leaf (husk) that remains tightly wrapped around the shank. The nodes are capable of also initiating additional ears as illustrated by these photos.

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Two ears, same ear shank

Two ears, same ear shank

Two ears, same ear shank

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service