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Plant Physiology

Critical Stages in the Life of a Corn Plant

Heather Darby and Joe Lauer, 2010
Maize (Zea mays L) is a annual crops and including the type grass / graminae which has a
single trunk, although there the possibility of the
emergence of seedling branches in several genotypes and
particular environment. Stems of corn consists of books and
sections. corn leaf grow in every book, facing each other.
Male flowers located in a separate section at the plant so
prevalent pollination cross. Corn is a short-day plant,
number of leaves is determined at the time of initiation of
male flowers, and controlled by the genotype, long
radiation, and temperature.
Generally, maize has a similar growth pattern, but interval of
Photo1. Corn Crop
time between stages of growth and a growing number of leaves may be different. Corn growth can
be grouped into three stages: (1) phase of germination, when the water imbibition process
characterized with swelling of the seed up to before the advent of leaves first; (2) the vegetative
growth phase, ie the phase began with the emergence of leaves perfect first open until tasseling
and before discharge female flowers (silking), this phase is identified by the number of leaves
formed; and (3) reproductive phases, namely the growth phase after silking until physiological
Corn seed germination occurs when the radicle emerges from the skin seed. Corn seeds will
germinate if the seed moisture content at the time in soil increases> 30% (McWilliams et al. 1999).
Germination corn seed, first seeds absorb water through the process of imbibition and seeds swell,
followed by an increase in enzyme activity and respiration high. Initial changes are mostly starch
catabolism, fat, and stored
hydrolyzed proteins into
substances cars, sugar,
fatty acids, and amino acids
that can be transported to
growing. At the beginning
of germination, koleoriza
lengthwise penetrate the
pericarp, then radikel
penetrate koleoriza. after
radikel appears, then four
lateral seminal roots also
appear. at the time The same
Photo 2. Germination of seed corn
or a moment later plumule covered by the coleoptile. Coleoptile pushed upward by mesokotil
elongation, which encourages the coleoptile to the ground surface. Mesokotil plays an important
role in the appearance sprouts to the ground. When the tip of the coleoptile appear to the outside
surface land, and the stalled elongation mesokotil plumul emerged from the coleoptile and
penetrate the soil surface. Corn seeds are planted at a depth of 5-8 cm. when proper humidity,
sprouts uniform appearance within 4-5 days after planting. The deeper the planting hole the longer
the appearance of sprouts onto the surface of the ground. In humid environmental conditions,
stage appearance lasts 4-5 days after planting, but on the condition that cold or dry, the
appearance of the plants can take up to two weeks after planting or more. Uniformity of
germination is very important to get results high. Germination is not uniform if power grows low

seed. Plants that grow too late to be shaded and more competitive weeds with plants,
consequently plants grow abnormally late and cob is relatively smaller than the plants that grow
more early and uniform.
After germination, growth of corn through several phases the following:
Stage V3-V5 (number of leaves open a perfect 3-5)
This phase takes place at the time the plant was between 10-18 days after germinate. In
this phase of the seminal roots have started to stop growing, root nodules have started active, and
growing point is below ground level. Soil temperature greatly affect the growing point. Low
temperatures will slow out of leaves, increasing the number of leaves, and delay the formation of
male flowers (McWilliams et al. 1999).
Stage V6-V10 (number of open leaf perfectly 6-10)
This phase takes place at the time the plant was between 18 -35 days after germinate.
Growing points already on the ground, development roots and spread on the ground very fast, and
stem elongation increasing rapidly. In this phase will be the male flowers (tassel) and cob
development begins (Lee 2007). Plants begin to absorb nutrients in greater numbers, because the
fertilization at this phase required to meet the nutrient needs of plants (McWilliams et al. 1999).
Stage V11- Vn (number of open leaves a perfect 11 until the last leaf 15-18)
This phase takes place at the time the plant was between 33-50 days after germinate.
Plants grow quickly and accumulation of dry matter rising very quickly as well. Nutrient and water
needs are relatively very high to support the growth rate of plants. Plants are very sensitive to
drought stress and nutrient deficiencies. In this phase, drought and nutrient deficiency affects the
growth and development of the cob, and will even decrease number of seeds in a cob cob because
sags, which consequently lowering the yield (McWilliams et al. 1999, Lee 2007). Drought in phase
This will also slow the emergence of female flowers (silking).
Stage Tasseling (male flowering)
Tasseling phase usually between 45-52 days, characterized by the presence of the last
branch of the male flowers before the emergence of female flowers (silk /hair cob). Phase VT
begins 2-3 days before hair cob appear, where in this period almost reached maximum plant height
and started spreading pollen (pollen). In this phase produced biomass maximum of the vegetative
parts of the plant, which is about 50% of the total weight dried plants, absorption of N, P, and K by
plants each 60-70%, 50%, and 80-90%.
Phase R1 (silking)
Silking stage preceded by the appearance of the hair on the cob husk wrapped, usually
begin 2-3 days after tasseling. Pollination (pollination) occurs when pollen is released by the male
flowers fall touching the hair surface fresh cobs. Pollen that takes about 24 hours to reach the egg
(ovule), where conception (fertilization) will take shape ovule. Hair and ready pollinated cobs
appear for 2-3 days. Hair grows lengthwise cob 2.5 to 3.8 cm / day and will continue to extends
until pollinated. Fertilized ovules grow in a cob structure to be protected by three important parts
of seeds, namely glume, lemma, and palea, and has a white color on the outside of the seed. The
inside of the seed translucent color and contains very little fluid. At this stage, if the seed is cleaved
by using a razor blade, yet to be seen structure of the embryo inside. Uptake of N and P are very
fast, and K is almost complete (Lee 2007).

Phase R2 (blister)
Phase R2 appears
around 10-14 days seletelah
silking, hair cob already dry and
dark. Size cob, husk, and
corncob almost perfect, the
seeds have started to appear
and white blister, starch began
to accumulate into the
endosperm, seed moisture
content of about 85%, and will
decreased continuously until

Photo 3. Corn crop growth stage.

Phase R3 (mature milk)

This phase formed 18 -22 days after silking. Charging the original seed in form a clear fluid,
changing as milk. Starch accumulation in each seed very quickly, the color of the seeds have started
to appear (depending on the color of the seeds each variety), and part of the endosperm cells are
already fully formed. Drought in R1-R3 phase decreased the size and number of seeds formed.
Seed moisture content can reach 80%.
Phase R4 (dough)
Phase R4 begin to occur 24-28 days after silking. Part in such seeds pasta (not hardened).
Half of the seeds are dry matter accumulation formed, and seed moisture content decreased to
about 70%. Stress drought in this phase effect on grain weight.
Phase R5 (seed hardening)
R5 phase will be formed 35-42 days after silking. Whole grains has been formed perfect,
ripe embryo and seed dry matter accumulation will immediately stopped. Seed moisture content
Phase R6 (physiological maturity)
The maize crop physiological maturity stage 55-65 days after silking. At this stage, the
seeds on the cob has reached the maximum dry weight. Hard starch layer on the seed has grown
to perfection and has also formed abscission layer is brown or blackish. The formation of the black
layer (black layer) takes place gradually, starting from seeds at the base of the cob go to the end
cob. In the hybrid varieties, plants that have a fixed nature green (stay-green) high, husk and leaves
the top of the still-colored green though has entered the stage of physiological maturity. At this
stage the levels of seed moisture ranges from 30-35% to the total dry weight and NPK uptake by
plant reaches 100% respectively.

Hardman and Gunsolus. 1998. Corn growth and development. Extension Service.
University of Minesota. p.5.
Lambert, R.J. 1994. High oil corn hybrids. In: Arnel R. Halleuer (Ed.). Specialty corns. CRC
Press Inc. USA.
Lee, C. 2007. Corn growth and development. crops.
McWilliams, D.A., D.R. Berglund, and G.J. Endres. 1999. Corn growth and management