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Stamen of a Flower: Definition, Function & Design

Stamen of a Flower: Definition, Function & Design
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  • 0:16 Reproductive Organs in Plants
  • 0:48 Function of the Stamen
  • 2:19 Pollination
  • 3:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Margaret Cunningham

Margaret has taught many Biology and Environmental Science courses and has Master's degrees in Environmental Science and Education.

This lesson will explore the male reproductive structures of flowering plants, with a focus on the structure known as the stamen. The lesson will also focus on the parts of the stamen, their functions, and their involvement in pollination.

Reproductive Organs in Plants

For most organisms, including humans, the reproductive organs are hidden within the body, but some organisms prefer to show off their reproductive organs. Many types of plants prefer to have their reproductive organs be large, flashy, and highly visible. The reproductive organs of these types of plants are actually flowers!

Flowers house the female and male reproductive structures. The female reproductive part is called the pistil and is comprised of the stigma, style, and ovary. The male reproductive part of a flower is referred to as the stamen and consists of the filament and the anther. The filament is a stalk-like structure that attaches to the base of the flower and supports the anther, which is the structure that produces pollen.

Stamen of a Flower
anther and filament

Function of the Stamen

The main function of the stamen is to produce the pollen grains, which house male gametes, or sex cells, necessary for reproduction. The anther is located within the stamen where these gametes are created. Pollen grains vary in size, shape, and surface structures based on the type of flower that produces them. Most pollen grains are round or oblong and are very tiny. They range from between 15-200 micrometers. If you are unfamiliar with micrometers, 10,000 micrometers is equal to only one centimeter! This means that pollen grains, which are only between 15-200 micrometers, are extremely small, and most are not visible without the use of a microscope.

Despite the differences in size and shape, all pollen grains have one structure in common. They all have outer shells that help protect the gametes inside from the elements outside the pollen grain.

Variation in Pollen Types
pollen

Although the filament may be thought of as just a simple stalk, it actually has a very important function. The filament is responsible for getting the pollen-bearing anther as close to the top of the pistil as possible because this is the location where pollen will be transferred to the female reproductive organ. The filaments are normally tall, and there are many of them designed in a circle around the pistil to increase the likelihood of pollen transfer. If a filament was too short or too far away from the pistil, the transfer of pollen would be more difficult and could result in a decreased rate of successful reproduction.

Pollination

Once the pollen has been created in the anther, the stamen assists in transferring the pollen grains to the pistil, which is a process known as pollination. Pollination can be divided up into two different types. Self-pollination is the more simple method, whereby pollen from the anther of a flower is transferred to the pistil of the same flower. The pollen is often transferred by falling from the anther, which is held above the pistil by the filament, down to the top of the pistil.

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