University of Florida

Plant Identification Learning Module:
Vegetables

Sweet Corn (Zea mays var. saccharata)

The plant is upright, often growing to a height of 8 feet or more. The 1-2 inch diameter stem has several internodes which are nearly smooth in the upper part, but somewhat grooved lower on the plant. Leaves, called "blades," are alternate, long, sharp-edged, pointed and covered with hairs on top. The central stalk is hollow. Ear shoots develop at the base of internodes. The ear (female flower) is wrapped with leaves (husk) and contains a slender "cob" covered with rows of kernels (seeds), each attached to a threadlike "silk." The male flowers are in the tassel at the top of the stalk. The seed kernel is plump and smooth when fresh, but may be hard and wrinkled when dried. Seed color varies from white and yellow to hues of red.