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Inflorescence Development in the "Standard Exotic" Maize, Argentine Popcorn (Poaceae)

Marshall D. Sundberg, Christopher LaFargue and Alan R. Orr
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 82, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 64-74
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445788
Page Count: 11
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Inflorescence Development in the "Standard Exotic" Maize, Argentine Popcorn (Poaceae)
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Abstract

Argentine popcorn is an exotic race considered by some to be similar to the earliest cultivated maize. We used scanning electron microscopy to examine inflorescence development in both the tassel and ear. In our material, and under our conditions, both two-ranked central tassel spikes and two-ranked ears were observed as well as more typical four-ranked structures. Subsequent development of spikelets and florets was similar to that observed in other varieties of maize and in their close relatives-the teosintes. We suggest that the switch from two-ranked to four-ranked inflorescences (a key trait difference between teosinte and maize) may be due to a change in developmental timing allowing an additional meristem bifurcation of axillary branch primordia prior to the initiation of spikelet pair primordia.

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