Some say you are what you eat, but these 8 plants could make you think twice about that saying.
These plants look like corn stalks, but they aren’t really corn at all! Some are plants that farmers have intentionally crossbred to look like corn. In contrast, others are weeds that became invasive enough to resemble the crop itself.
Either way, most of these plants will never satisfy your craving for corn on the cob or help you create your masterpiece crop circle in the backyard.
So next time you go out to harvest corn, make sure you know which stalks are real and which ones are imposters! In this article, I have discussed about 8 most common weeds and crops that look like corn. So, read on to learn about them-
Table of Contents
8 Weeds & Crops That Look Like Corn Stalks
1. Johnson Grass
One of America’s most common weeds that look like corn (and grasses), Johnson grass can grow up to 10 feet high. And its yellow-green stalks have a striking resemblance to corn stalks in size and shape. It’s considered an invasive species, so it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for those tall stalks during harvest season.
Be sure to stay on top of your herbicide regimen if you grow corn as a cash crop. Make sure you recognize other plants that might look like your crop – particularly when it’s not supposed to be growing in your area.
For example, next time you drive through Indiana, look for Johnson Grass alongside I-65 and I-94. You’ll see it looks just like corn. There are also several varieties of Johnson Grass, including tall and dwarf.
If you don’t know what kind of Johnson Grass is growing near your crops, make sure to ask local farmers or extension agents before spraying any chemicals.
2. Giant Reed
The giant reed is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It grows in wetlands, serving as a food source for certain animals like frogs and fish. The giant reed is best known for its light shade of green stalks; it is easy to mistake it for corn in field stubble or fallow fields at a distance.
This aquatic plant can grow over 10 feet tall and only blooms from June to August, after which its stalks die back. Its seeds are not edible either; they are, in fact, highly toxic due to their high levels of nitrates. As far as being an imitation of corn goes?
Well, it’s more like looking at two-foot-tall weeds and thinking, they look just like my favorite crop! Then anything else. This is one of the most common crops that look like corn stalk.
3. Quack Grass
Quack grass (Elymus repens) is a species of grass native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. It was introduced to North America as an ornamental plant.
Still, it has become a serious invasive weed in some areas. In fact, quack grass was named one of Wisconsin’s ten most invasive plants in 1998. It looks exactly like corn stalks at the seedling stage.
Nowadays, if you’re taking your dog for a walk through natural areas in Wisconsin or other Midwestern states like Minnesota or Michigan. And come across a patch of low-lying plants with purplish stalks and green leaves interspersed with red flowers, you might see signs warning you not to let your pets near it.
The reason? Dogs will eat it and die. The same goes for horses, cows, and sheep. All animals are susceptible to poisoning from eating even small amounts of quack grass. Keep them away if you spot any patches where your pet might graze!
4. Dracaena Fragrans Massangeana
Also known as a corn plant, a dracaena is typically sold in braided clusters resembling corn stalks.
The plant itself is much longer than a corn stalk, though; it can grow up to 9 feet tall. Dracaenas also produce nice white flowers once every few months. The flowers only last for one day, but their beauty makes them worth growing indoors or outdoors near a window where you can admire them.
The biggest downside to having dracaena plants inside your home is that they require high light levels and shouldn’t be kept in direct sunlight or placed near air conditioners, heaters, or cold drafts.
They’re also said to create airborne allergens like dust mites and pet dander which may bother allergy sufferers. If you want to add some green to your living room without spending a lot of money on plants, consider buying some of these odd-looking corn stalks.
5. Grain Sorghum
This high-yielding crop is usually harvested for livestock feed. However, it’s also used to make flour, cereal, and baked goods such as bread and muffins.
This crop typically grows about six feet tall, with leaves of varying shades of green and purple. The grain sorghum plant looks like corn from a distance but can be distinguished by its stalk shape.
Sorghum stalks are thick at the bottom and gradually taper at the top; corn stalks are cylindrical all around. Grain sorghum was first developed in Japan and China thousands of years ago; today, it’s grown in warm climates throughout Europe, Africa, and Australia.
It thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 10, where it’s planted between April and June (depending on your location). Planting denser rows about 10 inches apart will produce more biomass per acre than wider rows will.
If you want to harvest some seeds, leave several plants standing after they’ve flowered so they’ll produce ears instead of seeds; cut them down before they begin drying out or dropping their seeds.
In late summer or early fall, harvest your crop by using a scythe or sickle to cut down your stalks before heavy frosts occur. It’s easiest to cut them when they’re dry because wet stems tend to break off easily and could cause injury if you try to handle them later on.
6. Millet Plant
The actual seeds of millet are tiny, but they have a tall, corn-like structure. The stalks can grow up to 7 feet tall and provide a source of food for many animals, including birds and rodents. Despite their name, millet grains are not related to true grains like wheat or oats-millet is actually grass.
Because it’s so similar in appearance to corn, farmers in developing countries often plant it alongside other crops as part of a crop rotation plan to prevent soil erosion and keep pests at bay. Millet is also popular in bread and porridges (often made with sorghum).
7. Arundo Plant
This strange grass looks uncannily like corn, especially when its leaves are young. Arundo, which is native to warm regions in Africa and Asia, can grow between three and 12 feet tall. As its name suggests, it’s sometimes used as a substitute for bamboo. It might also be called elephant grass-which makes sense given its long stalks.
The grass uses rhizomes (horizontal root stems) to spread out over an area in a sort of underground network; these rhizomes make up about half of an Arundo plant’s mass. And since so much of its mass lies underground, there aren’t many weeds that can compete with it.
8. Cattails Plant
At first glance, cattails look like corn stalks.
A quick second glance should set you straight: Cattails, which belong to a different plant family than corn, are much larger and have long, flat leaves as well as flowers and seeds. But despite their lack of corniness (pun intended), these perennial plants do serve an important purpose in sustainable agriculture.
In Asia, farmers cut and then dry cattail stems for use as brooms or fuel for fires. The roots can also be used to make flour, while other parts of the plant can be used to create dyes and even medicines. Some cattail species are considered invasive weeds, but there’s no denying they’re pretty cool-looking.
Corn Plant physiology
The corn plant, scientifically known as maize, is a cereal grain. Maize plants are grown mainly to be harvested for animal feed and human consumption.
The kernels of each individual corn plant are high in starch and have not much protein content. Although it is referred to as a weed, corn can also be considered a plant since it grows independently. (Corn) plants must have adequate nutrients in order to produce grains with healthy roots and stalks.
This includes mineral nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus along with micronutrients such as iron and zinc. Micronutrient deficiencies will lead to stunted growth or even death. (Corn) plants require around eight weeks from germination until maturity. During that time, they grow leaves and tassels which contain pollen for reproduction. To ensure pollination, (corn) plants need wind to flow through their tassels during flowering.
What are you growing in your garden? Are there any odd plants among them? Do let us know by leaving a comment.
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