How Do Plants Reproduce? - Short Answer

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Plants are living entities and exhibit living characteristics such as breathing, digesting, excreting, reproducing and so on. Reproduction is an inherent characteristic of living organisms which allows them to produce offspring. The genetic constitution of a plant is determined by the mode of reproduction which helps us in understanding its exhibited traits. A close look at a plant helps us to understand the different plant structures which can be classified into –

  • Vegetative parts – Stem, Roots, Leaves
  • Reproductive parts – Flowers

A flower is the reproductive organ of the plant. A unisexual flower can either be a male flower producing male gametes or a female flower producing female gametes. A flower can also possess both male and female reproductive organs, producing both male and female gametes. These flowers are known as bisexual or hermaphrodite flowers.
During the sexual mode of reproduction, these male and female gametes fuse to produce seeds. These seeds then germinate to produce new plant structures.

Plants reproduce through two modes of reproduction:

  • Asexual mode of reproduction – New plants arise from vegetative parts
  • Sexual mode of reproduction – New parts arise from reproductive parts of the plant

Asexual Reproduction

In the asexual mode of reproduction, plants give rise to new plant structures without the fusion of the male and female reproductive parts and hence there is no formation of seeds and fruits. In plants, it is carried out in the following ways:

  • Budding – new plants arise from the bud or an outgrowth from the parent body
  • Vegetative propagation – a portion of the plant gives rise to a new plant structure, which can occur both naturally or manually
  • Apomixis – Seeds are formed and the embryo is developed without the male and females gametes coming in contact with each other
  • Fragmentation – Small fragments from the parent body develop into new plants

Sexual Reproduction

In the sexual mode of reproduction, new plants are produced through the fusion of female and male gametes which forms the embryo. This fusion of gametes gives rise to the seed which is the site that would bear the new plant structures in the future. The flower can either be bisexual or unisexual and is the reproductive part of the plant, wherein the pistil is the part of the female reproductive flower and the stamen is the part of the male reproductive flower. In plants, sexual reproduction can occur through the following three stages:

  • Pollination – Pollination can either occur through cross-pollination or self-pollination methods where the transfer of pollen grains takes place.
  • Zygote formation – Male and female gametes fuse to form the zygote at the ovary of the pistil after the transfer of pollen grains.
  • Fruit and seed formation – The zygote develops into the embryo where the ovules bear the seed and the ovary develops into the fruit.

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Related Links:

Types of Pollination
Vegetative Propagation

More to Read:

Test your Knowledge on Reproduction in Plants


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