Plant reproduction is the process by which plants generate new individuals, or offspring. Reproduction is either sexual or asexual. Sexual reproduction is the formation of offspring by the fusion of gametes. Asexual reproduction is the formation of offspring without the fusion of gametes. Sexual reproduction results in offspring genetically different from the parents. Asexual offspring are genetically identical except for mutation.
In higher plants, offspring are packaged in a protective seed, which can be long lived and can disperse the offspring some distance from the parents. In flowering plants angiospermsthe seed itself is contained inside a fruit, which may protect the developing seeds and aid in their dispersal.
All plants have a life cycle that consists of two distinct forms that differ in size and the number of chromosomes per cell. In flowering plants, the A hibiscus flower, showing anthers, five stigmas, and pollen. The sporophyte produces haploid microscopic gametophytes that are dependent on tissues produced by the flower.
The reproductive cycle of a flowering plant is the regular, usually seasonal, cycling back and forth from sporophyte to gametophyte. The flower produces two kinds of gametophytes, male and female. The female gametophyte arises from a cell within the ovulea small structure within the ovary of the flower. The ovary is a larger structure within the flower that contains and protects usually many ovules. Flowering plants are unique in that their ovules are entirely enclosed in the ovary.
The ovary itself is part of a larger structure called the carpel, which consists of the stigma, style, and ovary. Each ovule is attached to ovary tissue by a stalk called the funicle. The point of attachment of the funicle to the ovary is called the placenta. As the flower develops from a bud, a cell within an ovule called the archespore enlarges to form an embryo-sac mother cell EMC. The EMC divides by meiosis to produce four megaspores.
In this process the number of chromosomes is reduced from two sets in the EMC to one set in the megaspores, making the megaspores haploid.
Three of the four megaspores degenerate and disappear, while the fourth divides mitotically three times to produce eight haploid cells. These cells together constitute the female gametophyte, called the embryo sac. The eight embryo sac cells 3 types of plant asexual reproduction diagrams into two synergids, three antipodal cells, two fused endosperm nuclei, and an egg cell.
The mature embryo sac is situated at the outer opening micropyle of the ovule, ready to receive the sperm cells delivered by the male gametophyte. The male gametophyte is the mature pollen grain. Pollen is produced in the anthers, which are attached at the distal end of filaments. The filament and anther together constitute the stamen, the male sex organ.
Flowers usually produce many stamens just inside of the petals. As the flower matures, cells in the anther divide mitotically to produce pollen mother cells PMC. The PMCs divide by meiosis to produce "3 types of plant asexual reproduction diagrams" microspores in groups of four called tetrads. The microspores are housed within a single layer of cells called the tapetum, which provides nutrition to the developing pollen grains.
Each microspore develops a hard, opaque outer layer called the exine, which is constructed from a lipoprotein called sporopollenin. The exine has characteristic pores, ridges, or projections that can often be used to identify a species, even in fossil pollen.
The microspore divides mitotically once or twice to produce two or three haploid nuclei inside the mature pollen grain. Two of the nuclei function as sperm nuclei that can eventually fuse with the egg and endosperm of the embryo sac, producing an embryo and endosperm, respectively.
For sexual fusion to take place, however, the pollen grain must be transported to the stigma, which is a receptive platform on the top of the style, an elongated extension on top of the carpel s.
Here the moist surface or chemicals cause the pollen grain to germinate. Germination is the growth of a tube from the surface of a pollen grain. The tube is a sheath of pectininside of which is a solution of water, solutesand the two or three nuclei, which lack any cell walls. Proper growth of the pollen tube requires an aqueous solution of appropriate solute concentration, as well as nutrients such as boron, which may aid in its synthesis of pectin.
At the apex of the tube are active ribosomes and endoplasmic reticulum types of cell organelles involved in protein synthesis. Pectinase and a glucanase both enzymes that break down carbohydrates probably maintain flexibility of the growing tube and aid in penetration. The pollen tube apex also releases ribonucleic acid RNA and ribosomes into the tissues of the style. The tube grows to eventually reach the ovary, where it may travel along intercellular spaces until it reaches a placenta.
Through chemical recognition, the pollen tube changes its direction of growth and penetrates through the placenta to the ovule. Here the tube reaches the embryo sac lying close to the micropyle, and sexual fertilization takes place. Fertilization in flowering plants is unique among all known organisms, in that not one but two cells are fertilized, in a process called double fertilization. One sperm nucleus in the pollen tube fuses with the egg cell in the embryo sac, and the other sperm nucleus fuses with the diploid endosperm nucleus.
The fertilized egg cell is a zygote that develops into the diploid embryo of the sporophyte. The fertilized endosperm nucleus develops into the triploid endosperm, a nutritive tissue that sustains the embryo and seedling.
The only other known plant group exhibiting double fertilization is the Gnetales in the genus Ephedra, a nonflowering seed plant. However, in this case the 3 types of plant asexual reproduction diagrams fertilization product degenerates and does not develop into endosperm. Double fertilization begins when the pollen tube grows into one of the two synergid cells in the embryo sac, possibly as a result of chemical attraction to calcium.
After penetrating the synergid, the apex of the pollen tube breaks open, releasing the two sperm nuclei and other contents into the synergid. As the synergid degenerates, it envelops the egg and endosperm cells, holding the two sperm nuclei close and the other expelled contents of the pollen tube. The egg cell then opens and engulfs sperm cell, whose membrane breaks apart and allows the nucleus to move near the egg nucleus.
The nuclear envelopes then disintegrate, and the two nuclei combine to form the single diploid nucleus of the zygote. The other sperm cell fuses with the two endosperm nuclei, forming a single triploid cell, the primary endosperm cell, which divides mitotically into the endosperm tissue.
Double fertilization and the production of endosperm may have contributed to the great ecological success of flowering plants by accelerating the growth of seedlings and improving survival at this vulnerable stage. Faster seedling development may have given flowering plants the upper hand in competition with gymnosperm seedlings in some habitats, leading to the abundance of flowering plants in most temperate and tropical regions.
Gymnosperms nevertheless are still dominant at higher elevations and latitudes, and at low elevations in the Pacific Northwest coniferous forests, such as the coastal redwoods.
The reasons for these patterns are still controversial. The seed is the mature, fertilized ovule. After fertilization, the haploid cells of the embryo sac disintegrate. The maternally derived diploid cells of the ovule develop into the hard, water-resistant outer covering of the seed, called the testa, or seed coat.
The diploid zygote develops into the embryo, and the triploid endosperm cells multiply and provide nutrition.