Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reproduction is the creation of new life. All living things contain the parts needed for reproduction. In flowers, these produce male and female cells called gametes, which join to create new plants. The many specialized parts of flowers include petals, stamens (the male parts of the plants), and one or more carpels (the female parts). In most flowers, the petals are arranged around the reproductive organs. Before a plant blooms, it produces a bud, which eventually develops into a flower. It grows from the receptacle, which is the extended stalk tip. The buds are surrounded by the leaf-like sepals.

A flower's male reproductive parts are stamens. A stamen is made of an anther, a pod-like structure which contains pollen sacks, at the end of a stalk called a filament. When an anther opens, it releases grains of pollen, male reproductive cells. A female's reproductive part is the carpel or pistil. It is made up of the stigma, the top part, which has a sticky surface for pollen to stick to, the style, and the ovaries, each of which holds one or more tiny eggs. The tiny eggs are the female reproductive cells, which develop into seeds after they are fertilized.

Some flowers, like buttercups, have several carpels, while others, like poppies, have only one. Flowers that have male and female parts are described as hermaphrodite. Some plants have two types of flowers - pistillate flowers, which are female, and staminate flowers, which are male. These are called monoecious plants. Other plants, like holly, have only male or female flowers on them and require another plant for fertilization. These are dioecious plants.

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