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Angiosperms: Characteristics, Definition & Examples

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  • 0:02 Definition
  • 0:22 Characteristics
  • 1:43 Examples
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Flowering plants are also known as angiosperms. In this lesson, we will explore this vast group of plants to learn what sets them apart from other types of plants and how they survive.

Angiosperms: Definition

Angiosperms are the largest group of plants on Earth. There are approximately 270,000 known species alive today. There's probably one nearby right now. Angiosperms include all plants that have flowers and account for approximately 80% of all known living plants.

Example of an angiosperm
Carpel of Broomrape plant

Characteristics

Angiosperms are able to grow in a variety of habitats. They can grow as trees, shrubs, bushes, herbs, and small flowering plants. Some of the characteristics of angiosperms include:

  • All angiosperms have flowers at some stage in their life. The flowers serve as the reproductive organs for the plant, providing them a means of exchanging genetic information.
  • Angiosperms have small pollen grains that spread genetic information from flower to flower. These grains are much smaller than the gametophytes, or reproductive cells, used by non-flowering plants. This small size allows the process of fertilization to occur quicker in the flowers of angiosperms and makes them more efficient at reproducing.
  • All angiosperms have stamens. Stamens are the reproductive structures found in flowers that produce the pollen grains that carry the male genetic information.
  • Angiosperms have much smaller female reproductive parts than non-flowering plants, allowing them to produce seeds more quickly.
  • Angiosperms have carpels that enclose developing seeds that may turn into a fruit.
  • A great advantage for angiosperms is the production of endosperm. Endosperm is a material that forms after fertilization and serves as a highly nutritional food source for the developing seed and seedling.

Examples

Angiosperms come in a variety of forms. Some common examples of angiosperms include magnolia trees, roses, tulips, and tomatoes. Magnolia trees can be found towering all throughout the southern United States. These trees are prime examples of angiosperms. They are large trees growing up to 40 feet tall. Their large, impressive flowers are used to attract pollinators and as a means of reproduction.

Magnolia tree
Picture of a Magnolia tree.

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