PollinationIn order to produce a new plant many flowers need to pollinate. A simple definition of pollination would be: the transfer of pollen from a stamen to a pistil of the same flower or of another flower. Pollination is a very important process because it leads to the development of seeds that eventually turn into plants, flowers, fruit and nuts. The seeds are very important because they contain the genetic information necessary to produce another plant.
The flowering plants have male parts called stamens, which produce a yellow powder called pollen. The pistil is the female part of a plant. The top, sticky part of the pistil is called stigma. These parts are implied in the pollination process. Each pollen grain grows in a tube called pollen tube. After growing enough, the pollen grains reach the plant ovary. This is the part of a flower where the pollen tubes meet. The male gamete from the tube meets the egg extant in the ovary and thus a seed is born. The ovule becomes the seed and the ovary the fruit.
Ninety-six per cent of the angiosperms are hermaphrodite plants, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs on the same individual or even on the same flower. Because of this, there are two types of pollination: self-pollination and cross pollination. Self- pollination occurs when the pollen of a plant's stamen is transported on the stigma of the same plant. Cross-pollination occurs when the pollen belonging to one plant arrives on the stigma belonging to another plant. Remember! The plants must be from the same species! The pollen coming from a rose cannot pollinate a tulip stigma. Only pollen from a carnation can pollinate another carnation.
Cross-pollination is done with the help of animals, insects, people and wind. The honeybees are the most important pollinators. However, cross-pollination is accidental, because honeybees are on a plant to get the nectar out of it, not to facilitate the plant's reproduction process. Positive cross-pollination produces new plants that are better adapted to the surrounding environment than the parent plants. Negative cross-pollination gives birth to plants that are less adapted to the environment than the parent plants. The seeds that result after the self-pollination process have an inferior quality in comparison to those resulting after the cross-pollination process. This is why the majority of plants underwent a natural selection process that favors the cross-pollination process.vv Even in the case of plants the reproductive process is not always successful. A plant can be only partially fertilized and the fruit or the seed does not develop entirely. There are also cases when the whole pollination process is a failure and the plants do not reproduce at all.
However, not all plants have flowers. There are plants that reproduce themselves through the help of spores. Pine or spruce trees reproduce by the pollen of the male cone, which is taken by the wind to a female cone, belonging to the same species. The fungi also reproduce themselves through spores.
The pollination process is extremely important for the world we live in. Theoretically, all seed plants need to be pollinated. Plants and trees produce oxygen, necessary for the development of life on Earth. Life would not be possible in the absence of oxygen. Plants clean the soil and the waters, which have become extremely polluted in the last century.
More than half of the fats and oils used for cooking come from animal-pollinated plants: oil palm, sun flower, etc.
The natural pollination has the following benefits:
- reduces the labor costs
- improves of fruit quality
- increases productivity
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