The Importance of Spores Ferns and mosses do not produce seeds. The sporophyte stage of these plants produce haploid spores in structures called spore cases. When the spore case breaks open, the spores are released and spread by wind or water. The spores can grow into plants that will produce sex cells.
Seedless plants include all nonvascular plants and some vascular plants.
Nonvascular plants do not have structures that transport water and substances throughout the plant. Instead, water and substances simply move from cell to cell. Example: mosses Vascular plants have tube-like cells that transport water and substances throughout the plant. Example: ferns
Nonvascular Seedless Plants
Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts are all nonvascular plants.
You recognize mosses as green, low-growing masses of plants
You recognize mosses as green, low-growing masses of plants. This is the gametophyte stage, which produces the sex cells. If you get closer, you might see brownish stalks growing up from the tip of the gametophyte plants. This is the sporophyte stage. On the tip of the stalk is a tiny capsule. Inside this capsule are millions of spores which have been produced. When conditions are just right, the capsule will open and the spores are released. New gametophyte plants will grow from these spores.
Vascular Seedless Plants
Millions of years ago, most plants on Earth were vascular seedless plants. Today, they are not as widespread. Most vascular seedless plants are ferns. Other plants in this group include horsetails and club mosses. All of these plants have vascular tissue to transport water from their roots to the rest of the plant. In these plants, the gametophyte is very small.
Fern Life Cycle The fern plant that you see in nature are sporophyte plants. Fern leaves are called fronds. They grow from an underground stem called a rhizome. Fern spores are produced in structures called sori, usually located on the underside of the frond.
If a fern spore lands on damp soil or rocks, it can grow into a small, green, heart-shaped gametophyte called a prothallus. A prothallus is hard to see because most of them are only 5-6 mm in diameter. The prothallus contains chlorophyll and can make its own food.
Seed Reproduction The fruits and vegetables that you eat come from seed plants. Oak, maple, and other shade trees are seed plants. All flowers are produced by seed plants. Most of the plants on Earth are seed plants.
Pollen In seed plants, some spores develop into small structures called pollen grains. A pollen grain has a water resistant covering and contains male gametophyte parts that can produce sperm. The transfer of pollen grains of a species to the female part of the plant of the same species is called pollination.
After the pollen grain reaches the female part of the plant, sperm and a pollen tube are produced.
The sperm moves through the pollen tube, then fertilization can occur.
Following fertilization, the female part of the plant can develop into a seed.
A seed consists of an embryo, stored food, and a protective seed coat. A new plant can develop more rapidly from a seed than from a spore.
Gymnosperm Gymnosperms are plants that have seeds in cones.
Cones are the reproductive structures of gymnosperms. Each gymnosperm species has a different cone. Gymnosperms include pines, firs, spruces, cedars, cycads, and ginkgoes.
A pine tree is a sporophyte plant that produces male and female cone.
A mature female cone consists of a spiral of woody scales on a short stem. At the base of each scale are two ovules. The egg is produced in the ovule. Pollen grains are produced in the smaller male cones. In the spring, clouds of pollen are released from the male cones. Anything near pine trees might be covered with the yellow, dust-like pollen.
Pollen is carried from male cones to female cones by the wind
Pollen is carried from male cones to female cones by the wind. The pollen must be blown between the scales of the female cone. There it is trapped in a sticky fluid produced by the ovule. If the pollen grain and the female cone are of the same species, fertilization occurs and a seed is formed. When the female cone releases their seed, it makes a crackling noise as the cones’ scales open. From the time a pollen grain falls on the female cone until the seeds are released, can take two or three years. Each seed can grow into a new pine sporophyte.
Angiosperm Angiosperms are plants which produce their seeds in flowers and fruit. All angiosperms have flowers. Flowers are the reproductive organs of angiosperms. Flowers contain gametophyte structures that produce sperm or eggs for sexual reproduction.
The Flower Most flowers have 4 main parts- petals, sepals, stamen and pistil. The colorful parts of the flower are the petals. Outside the petals are usually leaf-like parts called sepals. Sometimes petals and sepals are the same color.
Inside the flower are the reproductive organs of the plant.
The stamen is the male reproductive organ. Pollen is produced in the stamen. The pistil is the female reproductive organ. The ovary is the swollen base of the pistil where ovules are found. Not all flowers have every one of the four parts. Example: Holly plant
A pistil consists of a sticky stigma where pollen grains land, a long stalk-like style, and an ovary. Ovules are the part of the ovary where meiosis occurs to produce gametophyte structures. Eggs are produced in the ovules.
A stamen consists of an anther and a thin stalk called the filament
A stamen consists of an anther and a thin stalk called the filament. Pollen grains form from inside the anther by meiosis. Sperm develop in each pollen grain.
Importance of flowers Large flowers with brightly colored petals often attract insects and other animals. These animals might eat the flower, its nectar, or pollen. As they move about the flower, the animals get pollen on their wings, legs, or other body parts. Later, they spread the pollen to other plants. Other flowers depend on wind or rain to spread their pollen.
Angiosperm Seeds Pollen grains reach the stigma in a variety of ways.
A flower is pollinated when pollen lands on the stigma. A pollen tube grows down through the style. The pollen tube enters the ovary and reaches the ovule. The sperm travels down the pollen tube and fertilizes the egg in the ovule. A zygote forms and grows into an embryo.
Parts of the ovule develop into the stored food and the seed coat that surround the embryo, and a seed is formed. The food is stored in a structure called the cotyledons. (Example: beans and peanuts) Other plants store food in tissues called endosperm. (Examples: corn and wheat)
How do seeds naturally get to the Soil?
Seed Dispersal Plants have many ways of dispersing their seeds. Most seeds grow only when they are placed on or in the soil. How do seeds naturally get to the Soil? For many plants, gravity is the natural way in which seeds get to the soil. They fall onto the soil from the parent plant on which they grew. Wind dispersal usually occurs when small seeds become airborne when released by the parent plant.
Animals can disperse seeds
Animals can disperse seeds. Some seeds have been eaten with fruits, pass through an animal’s digestive system, and are dispersed as the animal moves from place to place. Seeds can attach to fur, feathers, and clothing and be dispersed at great distances. Water also disperses seeds. Raindrops can knock seeds out of a dry fruit. Some fruits and seeds float on flowing water or ocean currents.
Germination The series of events that occur in the growth of a plant from a seed is called germination. Some seeds germinate in just a few days and others take weeks or months to grow. Some seeds can stay in a resting stage for hundreds of years. (Example: lotus) Seeds will not germinate until environmental conditions are right. Germination begins when seed tissues absorb water. This causes the seed coat to break open.
Next, a series of chemical reactions occur that releases energy from the stored food in the cotyledons or endosperm for growth. Eventually, a root grows from the seed, followed by a stem and leaves. After the plant emerges from the soil, photosynthesis can begin.
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