Plant reproduction in plants can be accomplished via either sexual or asexual mechanisms. Sexual reproduction produces offspring by the fusion of gametes, resulting in offspring genetically different from the parent or parents. Asexual reproduction produces new individuals without the fusion of gametes, genetically identical to the parent plants and each other, except when mutations occur. In seed plants, the offspring can be packaged in a protective seed, which is used as an agent of dispersal.
- 32.0: Prelude to Plant Reproduction
- Plants have evolved different reproductive strategies for the continuation of their species. Some plants reproduce sexually, and others asexually, in contrast to animal species, which rely almost exclusively on sexual reproduction. Plant sexual reproduction usually depends on pollinating agents, while asexual reproduction is independent of these agents. Flowers are often the showiest or most strongly scented part of plants.
- 32.1: Reproductive Development and Structure
- Sexual reproduction takes place with slight variations in different groups of plants. Plants have two distinct stages in their lifecycle: the gametophyte stage and the sporophyte stage. The haploid gametophyte produces the male and female gametes by mitosis in distinct multicellular structures. Fusion of the male and females gametes forms the diploid zygote, which develops into the sporophyte.
- 32.2: Pollination and Fertilization
- Pollination takes two forms: self-pollination and cross-pollination. Self-pollination occurs when the pollen from the anther is deposited on the stigma of the same flower, or another flower on the same plant. Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower on a different individual of the same species. Self-pollination occurs in flowers where the stamen and carpel mature at the same time.
- 32.3: Asexual Reproduction
- Many plants are able to propagate themselves using asexual reproduction. This method does not require the investment required to produce a flower, attract pollinators, or find a means of seed dispersal. Asexual reproduction produces plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant because no mixing of male and female gametes takes place. Traditionally, these plants survive well under stable environmental conditions when compared with plants produced from sexual reproduction.