Flowers do more than add color to a garden. They reproduce in order to make seeds to grow more flowers. Looking at flowers, we don’t really think of them as having a reproductive system, but like people, plants have organs designed to bear offspring.
Flowers, such as roses or lilies, have both male and female parts called “perfects.” Some flowers, such as those found on cucumbers or melons, have all male or all female parts but not a combination of both. These types of flowers are called “imperfect.”
As with most living things, the male and female parts of a flower work together to reproduce.
Female Reproductive Parts of a Flower
The main female reproductive part of a flower is called the pistil. Located in the center of the flower, the pistil holds the ovules, or what will become seeds, after pollination. It’s easy to identify the pistil by its three distinctive parts. Coming out of the center of the pistil is a tube called the style. On the bottom end, the style attaches to the ovary, the part of the plant that produces the ovules. Attached to the top of the style is the stigma, a sticky knob that catches pollen.
Male Reproductive Parts of a Flower
Collectively, the male parts of the flower are called the stamen. Individually, the male reproductive parts are called the anther and the filament. The filament, which resembles a hair, holds a round pouch on top of it called the anther. The anther produces pollen, which is held in the small round pouches that sit on top of the filament.
Pollination and Reproduction
In order for ovules to become seeds, fertilization needs to take place. This happens when pollen lands on the stigma’s sticky surface. When that occurs, a pollen tube grows through the style. Pollen travels through the tube to land on the ovary to join the ovule. Once fertilization happens, the ovule becomes seeds and the ovary becomes fruit.
Flowers often receive inadvertent but essential assistance with pollination. Bees, bats and butterflies are especially helpful. As they collect nectar, they drop pollen on the stigma. The wind also helps. As it blows, pollen can break free from the anther and land on the stigma. People and animals brushing past plants can also dislodge pollen. Cross pollination happens when insects or bats have pollen attached to their legs and it drops into another flower as they fly from plant to plant. Sometimes, different species are born through cross-pollination.
In addition to adding color and beauty to gardens, flowers provide us with valuable oxygen. Thus, flowers don't just give life to more flowers, they also aid in a positive quality of life for all living things.