Analysis of Variety among Zea mays Pollen

Palenik, Zoe - University of Chicago
Madeleine McLeester - University of Chicago
Kathleen Morrison- University of Chicago

Zea mays pollen is readily identified using a size range of 58 to 98.6 um, as established by Whitehead and Langham (1965). However, a closer analysis of Zea pollen size yields more descriptive data with regard to size differences among specific maize varieties. We analyze maize varieties from herbarium samples dating back to 1893 as well as contemporary hybrid and non-hybrid varieties grown in the Midwest. Statistical comparisons are made regionally, between Midwestern and Southwestern varieties, between hybrids and non-hybrids, and between the herbarium and contemporary samples. Preliminary results suggest significant regional differences, which have implications for how Zea mays pollen is identified in archaeological study of agriculture in these areas.