Most of the corn plants in our Three Sisters bed have reached the tassel stage, and some of them have also reached the silk stage. This is important, because corn has both male and female parts — that is, the silk and the tassel.
Alan was nice enough to snap this photo of the golden and red tassels formed on our popcorn plants:
Proper soil moisture, as well as air temperature, are both critical to having both the tassel and silk appear at the same time, and therefore create the proper circumstances for successful pollination. Many of our crop plants are pollinated by insects, (e.g., bees, wasps, moths and ground beetles), but corn is different. The corn plant depends on wind to carry the pollen from a tassel to the silk strands that form at the top of each potential ear of corn.
For more info, click here for the Top 5 Things to Know about Corn Pollination.