Historically, U.S. sweet corn has had its evolutionary roots in the Northern Flint-long rachilla type of cob. Yet in recent years the consumer demand has been for deep kernels and a high number of kernel rows. These are characteristics of the Palomero Toluqueno - white rice popcorn type of cob and kernel. We have made progress in sweet corn improvement by going directly to the source of these traits. The thick pericarp of this popcorn is easily removed by breeding. The vestigial glume gene may have to be used with this material in order to allow full eating access to its deep kernels. With little or no rachilla to elevate the kernel above the chaff, there would be serious interference with attempting to eat intact kernels off from the cob.
Walton C. Galinat
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