27/07/2016 8:00 PM AEST | Updated 27/07/2016 11:54 PM AEST

Corn Silk Has A Way Cooler Purpose Than You Ever Realised

Sex. It's for sex.

Fresh corn on the cob.
TUGIO MURATA/amanaimagesRF via Getty Images
Fresh corn on the cob.

Corn silk is the bane of any corn lover’s existence. The husk is tricky to yank off the cob, and the silk sticks to it like glue, which makes eating your summer fresh corn a messy experience. Have you ever wondered why it’s there, anyway? 

The folks behind the video series “How Does It Grow” answered this burning question and the answer is simple: reproduction. Each ear of corn has to be pollinated in order to grow, but the husk ― acting as a chastity belt ― gets in the way. Corn silk pokes out the top of the husk and catches pollen, and then transfers it down to the cob to pollinate the kernels on the ear. That’s right, there are as many strands of corn silk as there are kernels on the cob. Those strings may be annoying, but they’re the reason we have summer corn. Watch the video above for the full explanation.

Now that you know, here are a few ideas for those kernels once you free them of their silk.