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Purpling of corn plant tissue results from the formation
of a reddish-purple anthocyanin pigment that occurs in the form of a
water-soluble cyanidin glucoside. A hybrid's genetic makeup greatly
determines whether corn plants are able to produce anthocyanin. A hybrid
may have none, one, or many genes that can trigger production of anthocyanin.
Purpling can also appear in the silks, anthers and even coleoptile tip
of a corn plant.
--Bob Nielsen, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University
Plant and Pest Digital Library and Digitally Assisted Diagnosis, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana.