What is Pollination? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Sarah Meers

Sarah has taught elementary education for 10 years and has a master's degree in Education Leadership.

Have you ever wondered how all of the plants in the world got here? In this lesson, you will learn all about pollination, the amazing way that Mother Nature creates all of the beautiful plants that make up our world.

Pollination

Have you ever looked around and wondered where plants come from? They are made through a very important part of the plant life cycle: pollination. Pollination is the process of transferring pollen from the male part of the plant, the anther, to the female part of the plant, the stigma, to fertilize the plant and make wonderful baby plants, called seedlings.

There are many parts of a flower. The anther and the stigma aid in pollination.
parts of flower

Cross-Pollination

The bright colors, wonderful smells, and cool shapes of plants are not just for humans to enjoy. They actually have a very important job. These characteristics actually attract birds, insects, and other animals to help with the pollination process. When these animals land on the plant, they help spread the pollen from the anther to the stigma. When pollen moves from one plant to another, it is called cross-pollination. This is the most common type of pollination.

Here's an example. A butterfly is flying around a group of flowers looking for sweet nectar to eat. The butterfly decides to stop for a snack. Pollen from the plant's anther gets stuck to the butterfly's legs. As the butterfly flies from one flower to the next, he is spreading the pollen from his legs to the stigma of other similar flowers, helping the pollination process.

A bee gathering pollen from a flower and helping with pollination.
bee

How are Seedlings Formed?

Once the pollen enters the stigma of the plant, it travels to the egg and fertilizes the plant. Then a seed is formed. The seed is eventually dropped to the ground. Once again, nature is there to help spread this seed to an area where a new plant will grow. Wind or water can move the seed. Other times it may attach to an animal or human. Sometimes, animals will eat something with the seed and then poop it out somewhere else. Kind of gross, but it is all part of Mother Nature's ways of helping plants grow.

Self-Pollination

Another type of pollination is self-pollination. Self-pollination is when a plant can fertilize an egg without the help of any other part of Mother Nature to create a seed. A tomato is an example of a plant that can self-pollinate.

Other Ways to Pollinate

There are certain plants that spread their pollen by using the wind. These plants are usually dry and the pollen looks like dust. These plants are not very flashy, but usually have more feathery-looking flowers. Trees and grasses are examples of plants that use the wind to help them make seedlings.

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