While flowers are pretty to look at and make for great decoration, flowers actually have a very important purpose. A flower is part of the reproductive system of flowering plants by means of pollination. Reproduction is the act of making more of something, so pollination is how flowering plants make more flowering plants.
Flowering plants are also known as angiosperms. Most angiosperms are not always in bloom but instead have a certain season during the year in which they bloom. Spring and summer are the usual seasons for flowering plants to have flowers, but some flowers bloom in autumn, and some flowers are in bloom year-round.
You might be wondering just how flowers can help a plant make more flowering plants. Learning more about the parts of a flower can help you understand how they are formed and grow.
The stamen is the male reproductive part of a flower. The stamen is comprised of the anther and the filament. The anther is responsible for making pollen, and the filament is what attaches the anther to the stem of the flower and supports it.
The pistil is the female reproductive part of a flower and is typically located in the center section of the flower. The pistil is comprised of the stigma, the ovary, and the style. The stigma is the tip of the pistil. It collects the pollen where it will begin the process of reproduction. The ovary contains the special cells called ovules (or seeds) that make new flowering plants when they meet with pollen. The stigma and the ovary are connected to each other by a long tube called the style.
Did you know? Did you know that flowers that contain both male and female parts are known as perfect flowers? About 90% of flowering plants are perfect flowers. The other 10% have only male or only female parts, making them imperfect flowers. Of course, being "perfect" or "imperfect" has nothing to do with their beauty - only their ability to reproduce on their own.
Flowering plants reproduce through a process called pollination, which was mentioned earlier. Pollination is the act of transferring pollen from the male part of the flower to the stigma of the female part of the flower. Flower petals are an important part of this process. The bright and colorful flower petals attract small animals and insects such as birds, bees, bats, and other small creatures. These creatures get into the pollen and end up spreading it without even knowing that they are helping the flowers reproduce. Besides the bright petals, another way that flowering plants can pollinate is by means of the wind or by water, either of which can carry pollen far away from where it started.
Have you ever seen a budding flower that hasn't bloomed yet? The green, leaf-like structure around the flower is called the sepal. The sepal protects and supports the flower before it blooms. This helps the plant protect its reproductive organs until it is ready to pollinate. After the flower blooms, depending on the plant, the sepal can do one of many things. In some plants, the sepal withers and goes away. In some plants, it stays there but no longer helps to protect the flower. In many flowering plants, the sepal helps the flower after it blooms by growing thorns to protect the flower.
The part of the stem where the flower is attached is known as the receptacle. The part of the stem that offers support to the flower is known as the peduncle.
Now that you know a little bit more about flowers and the process of pollination, here are some fun links that can help you to learn a little bit more:
Written by Lily Calyx