A plant is nature’s gift as they provide us with the food, oxygen, shelter, clothing, etc. They are also known as universal or primary producers. Like all other living things, plant respire, grow, develop, excrete and reproduce. All higher plants reproduce by fertilization. Fertilization in flowering plants was discovered by Ralph B. Strassburger in the year 1884. Let us have a brief discussion on fertilization.
What is Fertilization?
Fertilization is a process of sexual reproduction in plants, which occurs after pollination and germination.
Fertilization can be defined as the fusion of the male gametes (pollen) with the female gametes (ovum) to form a diploid zygote. It is a physicochemical process which occurs after the pollination of the carpel. The complete series of this process takes place in the zygote to develop into a seed.
In the fertilization process, flowers play a significant role as they are the reproductive structures of angiosperms (flowering plants). The method of fertilization in plants occurs when gametes in haploid conditions fuse to produce a diploid zygote.
In the course of fertilization, male gametes get transferred into the female reproductive organs through pollinators (honey bees, birds, bats, butterflies, flower beetles) and the final product will be the formation of the embryo in a seed.
In flowers, the pollen grain germinates after the pollination of the carpel and grows into the style by creating the pathway for the pollen grain to move down to the ovary.
The pollen tube breaks into the ovule through the micropyle and bursts into the embryo sac. Here the male nucleus fuses with the nucleus of an egg inside the ovule forming a diploid zygote, which later swells up and develops into a fruit.
Also Read: Post Fertilization in Plants
Types of Fertilization
Fertilization process can be grouped into three types and are classified mainly based on the entry of the pollen tube into the ovule.
It is the common type of fertilization carried out in all angiosperms or flowering plants. In this type of fertilization, the pollen tube enters the ovule through the micropyle.
This type of fertilization is carried out in all casuarina species of plants. In this condition, the pollen tube enters the ovule through the pollen tube.
This type of fertilization is seen in all Cucurbit plants, such as pumpkin, ridge gourds, bitter gourd and other gourd plants. In this type of fertilization, the pollen tube enters the ovule through its middle part or through the integuments of the ovule.
Also Refer: Types of Fertilization in Animals
Double fertilization is a process of fertilization characterized by the fusion of a female gametophyte with two male gametes. In this mechanism, one sperm cell fuses with the egg-producing zygote, and the other fuses with the two polar nuclei to make the endosperm. All angiosperm plants undergo double fertilization process.
Explore more: Double Fertilization
Learn more in detail about the fertilization, its process, significance and other related topics @ Byju’s Biology.