Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/353

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349
PERFECT FLOWERS IN MAIZE

Another most interesting ear of perfect flowers was found by chance in a lot of Boone County White Corn, secured from a prominent grower. This variety represents the highest development in modern improved corn. The ear in question was unusually large and well developed, as shown by Fig. 4, the ear weighing about 16 ounces. Fig. 5 is a cross-section of the same, showing the presence of stamens with every kernel. Fig. 6 is an enlarged photograph showing both sides of one kernel. On the anterior side are shown three well-developed stamens. On the posterior side, at the very tip and practically embedded in the cob, are three small stamens. These are the last remnants

PSM V79 D353 Corn kernel displaying stamens.png

Fig. 6. Showing both sides of Kernel, from Ear in Fig. 4. Three well-developed stamens shown on posterior side. On the anterior side and embedded in the cob were three rudimentary stamens, remnants of the abortive flower.

of the abortive flower, described in the former article referred to. This little abortive flower can only be found in the early embryonic stages of development, and usually all trace of its presence is lost except the extra pair of glumes on the posterior side of the kernel. These little stamens, however, indicate that at one time it might have functioned and give us another clue to some of the evolutionary changes that this interesting plant may have gone through.