Reproduction is the biological process where a new individual organism is produced by their parents. In general, plants reproduce either asexually i.e. without seed formation or sexually i.e. with seed formation. The parts of plants involved in asexual reproduction are called vegetative parts (e.g. leaves, roots, stem) and parts of plants involved in sexual reproduction are called reproductive parts (e.g. a flower). Let’s learn how a flower develops into fruits, seeds and different means of seed dispersal.
FERTILIZATION & SEED FORMATION
Flowers are the reproductive part of a plant. They carry either stamen or pistil or both. Thus they have necessary components for the fertilization process of sexual reproduction.
Fertilization is the process of fusion of male gamete and female gamete to form a zygote. In the process of pollination, pollinators like wind, water, birds or insects transfer pollen grains from the anther to the stigma of the flower. Once pollen is transferred to stigma, the male gametes from pollen grains release and fuse with egg in the ovule to form a zygote. Thus fertilization takes place and so formed zygote divides and develops into an embryo.
Following the fertilization, every part of the flower sheds off except ovary. The ovary of the flower develops into a fruit while ovules develop into seeds. Within the seed, the growing embryo develops and matures.
Seeds are an essential element of sexual reproduction. A majority of plants, especially flowering plants depend on seeds for reproduction. Hence, dispersal of seeds is as important as seed formation.
Seeds require adequate sunlight, water, space, and minerals for proper growth. Distribution of seeds in different places avoids the problem of competition for basic requirements and results in the healthy growing plant. Seed dispersal takes place both naturally as well as artificially. Botanist and garden-keepers do this artificial method of seed dispersal. The natural process of dispersal takes place with the help of agents like wind, water, insects, birds, and even humans contribute to this.
For instance seeds of the drumstick and sunflower are winged, hairy and are light-weighted. Such seeds can be easily carried away by the wind and dispersed in far away places. Few seeds are carried by water like coconut. While some seeds are spiked ones, they easily clutch to the fur of animals or birds and are carried by them. This is the reason how seeds are distributed in different places.
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