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Pollen Tube: Growth, Function & Formation

Pollen Tube: Growth, Function & Formation
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  • 0:02 Angiosperms
  • 0:29 Flower Reproductive Review
  • 1:32 What Is a Pollen Tube?
  • 1:56 How It Works
  • 2:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Battista
During the fertilization process, some plants utilize a pollen tube. In this lesson, we'll explore how a pollen tube forms, how it functions and how it grows.

Angiosperms

Do you have a favorite flower? Maybe it's growing in your neighbor's garden or near a hike you take in the forest? Plants that produce flowers are called angiosperms and differ from non-flowering plants, like pine trees or ferns. Part of how these flowering plants reproduce, making more of your favorite flowers next year, is by using a pollen tube.

Let's review some flower anatomy first before we get into the pollen tube in detail.

Flower Reproductive Review

Although flower reproduction shares some similarity with that of animals, plants cannot move, so other animals must help them pollinate. A pollen grain is the plant version of a human sperm cell. Inside of the pollen grain, we find the male gametophyte, or the haploid or half chromosome version of a plant's spore. The gametophyte forms when the plant's spores divide and contain half of the genetic material of the plant. When the gametophyte fertilizes an ovule, both contribute their half of genetic material, and the end result is a new plant.

A flower has a few important parts we should go over. The eggs or ovules are housed in the ovaries, which are housed in a bulge at the bottom of a tube, shaped a bit like a vase. The tube is called the style and the top of the tube is called the stigma. All together, these parts are called a pistil.

Sperm cells attach at the stigma, forming the pollen tube that extends down the style and into the ovary
Mature flower

Now, once the plant releases the pollen grain with its enclosed gametophyte with a little luck, it may encounter the stigma of a similar plant species. The pollen grain attaches to the stigma, where it begins to germinate and produce a pollen tube.

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