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Flowering Plants: Reproduction & Fertilization

Flowering Plants: Reproduction & Fertilization
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  • 0:02 The Parts of a Flower
  • 0:42 Sterile Parts
  • 1:31 Female and Male Parts
  • 2:43 Steps in Fertilization
  • 3:59 Fruit and Fertilization
  • 5:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kelly Robson

Kelly has taught High School Science and Applied Communications. She holds an Education Specialist Degree in Ed. Leadership.

Some plants use flowers to reproduce. The flowers contain all the parts needed for the reproduction process. This lesson explains how all of these parts are used to create the next generation of flowering plants.

Parts of a Flower

A flowering plant is an angiosperm, which is any plant that produces a flower or fruit. The sole purpose of the flower is to allow the plant to reproduce. Each part of the flower plays a role in the steps of reproduction. Some flower parts are sterile but still aid in the process of reproduction. There are male gametes and female gametes. They are both directly involved with creating the next generation of that plant; therefore, it is sexual reproduction. All the parts they need to reproduce are in a single flower. Pollen may spread from plant to plant but can only reproduce with the same species of plants. Let's take a look at the different parts of the flower.

Parts of a Flower
Flower Diagram

Sterile Parts

Let's start with the sterile parts of the flower, or those parts that are neither male nor female. These sterile parts are not directly involved in the fertilization process. Technically, a flowering plant can reproduce without them; however, they do play important roles in helping with reproduction.

The receptacle is the part of the branch on the plant where the flower is attached. Sepals are the parts that look like little leaves that cover the flower before it blooms. They cup the flower to protect it while it grows. Petals are the delicate and usually brightly colored part that gives the flower its character. When a flower catches your eye, it's usually because of the beauty of its petals. But humans are not the only ones attracted to those colorful petals. Insects, birds, and bats come from miles around and, in the process, spread the pollen from flower to flower.

Female and Male Parts

The function of the female parts is to catch the pollen and deliver the sperm inside the pollen to the egg that is waiting to be fertilized. They also house the eggs. Carpels are the main female parts. A carpel is actually three parts fused into one: stigma, style, and ovary. The stigma is the top of the carpal. It's sticky to catch the pollen.

The style is a long tube that attaches the stigma to the ovary. The pollen will eventually slide down the tube to fertilize the egg. The ovary is at the end of the style. It's where the ovule, or egg, is waiting to be fertilized. The fertilized ovule becomes a seed, and the ovary matures and forms the fruit to guide the newly-formed seed on the next step of its journey.

The function of the male parts of flowering plants is to produce pollen grains. The pollen grains contain sperm which will fertilize the egg and create a seed to sprout the next generation of plants. The main male part is the stamen. It is divided into two parts: the anther and the filament. The anther produces the pollen grains that contain the sperm needed for fertilization. The filament supports the anther.

Passiflora
Passiflora

Steps in Fertilization

The flower is formed to begin the process of reproduction. The female parts will create an ovule, or unfertilized egg. The egg (or eggs) will remain in the ovary and wait to be fertilized. The male parts (in particular, the anther) will produce pollen, which contains the sperm needed to fertilize the egg.

Meanwhile, the sterile parts of the flower also begin to do their jobs. The petals and the fragrance of the plant attract small creatures like insects, small birds, and bats. Although flowers attract many small animals, let's stick with using the bee as an example for this lesson. Bees fly around the flower, usually getting nectar, a sugary substance that the bees use to make honey. While the bee is flying around the flower, pollen grains located at the top of the anther stick to its feet and body.

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