"From Illinois to Arkansas, the cornfields nodded in silky tassel" [TIME, Aug. 23].
The above sentence is beautiful English, but very poor botany.
Corn silks are not borne on the tassel. They are the stigmas and styles of the pistillate flowers, borne in the form of a spike called the ear on a branch about midway down the side of the stalk or stem. When the silks are first projected from the tip of the ear, en masse, they are pendant, and flexible enough to be swayed by the gentlest breeze.
The staminate flowers...