Flowers are not only delightful to behold but they serve a higher purpose. Do you know that through the pollination of flowers many plants are able to reproduce and many animals get enough protein or carbohydrates to survive? Consider the food you eat everyday, around 30% is the result of pollination. This source guide to flower pollination is a good way for you to learn and appreciate this important mechanism.
Pollination is the process of transporting the pollen of a flower to the stigma of the same flower or of another flower then to the ovary where it fertilizes an egg cell to produce a new seed. The pollen of a flower (located in the anther) consists of the powdered-like grain and has the male gametes (sperm cells). The stigma which is part of the pistil (the female organ of the flower) is often located on the topmost part of the flower. It receives the pollen and since it has sticky surface, the pollen adheres to it. The pollen is then delivered to the ovary where it fertilizes an egg cell to produce new seed.
The Mechanics of Pollination
Pollination is just like way that babies are produced; in other words, it is the sexual reproduction in plants. Pollen grains containing the male gametes unite with the egg cell in the female part of the flower producing a new seed. Pollination can be accomplished in two ways:
1. Self- pollination happens when the pollen grains fertilize the egg cell of the same flower. The pollen and pistil are from the same plant. Self-pollination takes place when the pollen from one flower is transported to pollinate the same flower or flower belonging to the same plant. Self pollination may be classified as autogamy when pollen is carried to the female part of the same flower or geitonogamy when the pollen is brought to the female part of the flower belonging to the same plant. Plants that are subject to self-pollination seem to have the same length of stamen and carpel.
2. Cross-pollination or allogamy is done when pollen grains are transported to the stigma of other flowers or the pollen is delivered to the pistil of the flowers of another plant. In cross-pollination, the pollen and pistil are from different plants. Plants that are likely to cross-pollinate often have stamens which are taller than carpels.
Who does pollinating? Most plants are not capable of carrying their pollen to the pistil whether in self-pollination or cross-pollination. There has to be a bearer which is called the pollinator. The wind is a pollinator as it easily bears pollen from one plant to another. But the most common, are animals as their activities causes pollen to be carried from one part of the plant to other plants.
Insects are the best pollinators for flowers. The performance of bees, wasps, beetles, butterflies, flies and other insects as pollinators are most significant. For example, as the bees alight on flowers to sip its nectar, their rough bodies are able to carry off some pollen which they pass on to other flowers as they flit about looking for more nectar.
Importance of Pollination
Pollination is important to plants, animals and humans. With the mechanism of pollination, plants reproduce new seeds which in turn produce more plants. Pollination, at low level, results in lower production, slower maturing of plants and increased occurrence of plant disease. Without pollination, plants can no longer reproduce causing its flower blossoms to wither away without producing fruit. Pollination makes it possible for the plant species to survive from generation to generation.
Through pollination, more food are produced which insures the survival of both men and animals. Imagine the consequence affecting both men and animals when there is scarcity of food due to the absence of pollination! When all pollination ceases to occur, eventually all flowering plants and the creatures that they support would be extinct.
For activities and resources, refer to these links:
- Jigsaw Puzzles Pollination Game
- PDF Cache of Pollination Outdoor Games
- The Pollination Game
- Teacher’s Activity: Pollination Games
- Events/Activities about Pollination and Pollinators
- Pollination Videos for Kids
- Teachers’ Resource: Lesson in Pollination
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