P&PDL Picture of the Week for
September 25, 2006

Corny Bouquets Can Be Troublesome for Growers

R.L. (Bob) Nielsen, Extension Corn Production Specialist, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University

An unusual oddity of corn growth and development has been reported in scattered fields throughout at least Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa in recent weeks. Years ago, I labeled this oddity a MESS (aka Multiple Ears on Same Shank) that was usually found only in the occasional corn plant along the edges of a field. This year, the oddity can be more accurately characterized as a problem because of the high percentages of plants affected in some fields.

Multiple ears on a single plant are not unusual, but the multiple ears usually develop separately from individual stalk nodes. The oddity/problem being reported this season is one of multiple ears that originate from individual nodes on a single ear shank. A lengthier discussion of this problem plus more images are available at http://www.kingcorn.org/news/articles.06/Bouquets-0912.html.

Click image to enlarge

Multiple ears on single plant, but two originating from same stalk node. This type of multiple ear development is not as common

Multiple ears on single plant, but two originating from same stalk node. This type of multiple ear development is not as common

Closer view of double ear at same ear shank. Second ear attached at lower shank node.

Closer view of double ear at same ear shank. Second ear attached at lower shank node.

Double ear originating from same ear shank, but second ear withered away as usually occurs.

Double ear originating from same ear shank, but second ear withered away as usually occurs.

A "bouquet" of 5 ears originating from the same ear shank.

A "bouquet" of 5 ears originating from the same ear shank.

A "bouquet" of 3 ears originating from the same ear shank.

A "bouquet" of 3 ears originating from the same ear shank.

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service