In flowering plants, the flower is the reproductive organ which is a specialised shoot consisting of a modified stem and leaves. The stem-like part is the pedicel and receptacle, while modified leaves form corolla and calyx.
Structure and functions of parts of named insect and wind pollinated flowers
Structure of a flower
A typical flower consists of the following parts:
Made up of sepals.
They enclose and protect the flower when it is in a bud. Some flowers have an outer whorl made of sepal-like structures called epicalyx.
Consists of petals. The petals are brightly coloured in insect - pollinated flowers.
This is the male part of the flower, it consists of stamens. Each stamen consists of a filament whose end has an anther. Inside the anther are pollen sacs which contain pollen grains.
It is the female part of the flower, it consists of one or more carpels. Each carpel consists of an ovary, a sty le and a stigma. The ovary contains ovules which become seeds after fertilisation.
A monocarpous pistil has one carpel e.g. Beans, a polycarpous pistil has many carpels. If the carpes are free, it is called apocarpous as in rose and Bryophyllum, in carpels that are fused it is called syncarpous as in Hibiscus.
A complete flower has all the four floral parts, a regular flower can be divided into two halves by any vertical section passing through the centre. E.g. morning glory. Irregular flower can be divided into two halves in only one plane e.g. crotalaria.
Pollination and agents of pollination
This is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to the stigma.
Types of pollination
Self-pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther of one flower to the stigma of the same flower.
Cross-pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther of one flower to the stigma of a different flower, of the same species.
Agents of pollination
Agents of pollination include wind, insects, birds and mammals.
Insect pollinators include bees, butterflies and mosquitoes.
Features and mechanisms that hinder self-pollination and self-fertilization
The process of fertilization
Fertilisation in Plants
The pollen grain contains the generative nucleus and a tube nucleus. When the pollen grain lands on the stigma, it absorbs nutrient and germinates forming a pollen tube. This pollen tube grows through the style pushing its way between the cells thus getting nourishment from these cells.
The tube nucleus occupies the position at the tip of the growing pollen tube. The generative nucleus follows behind the tube nucleus, and divides to form two male gamete nuclei. The pollen tube then enters the ovule through the micropyle.
When the pollen tube penetrates the ovule disintegrates and the pollen tube bursts open leaving a clear way for the male nuclei. One male nucleus fuses with the egg cell nucleus to form a diploid zygote which develops into an embryo. The other male gamete nucleus fuses with the polar nucleus to form a triploid nucleus which forms the primary endosperm. This is called double fertilisation.
After fertilisation the following changes take place in a flower:
Fruit and seed formation and dispersal
Fruit development without fertilisation is called parthenocarpy e.g. as in pineapples and bananas.Such fruits do not have seeds.
Classification of fruits
This is the arrangement of the ovules in an ovary.
The placenta appears as one ridge on the ovary wall e.g. bean.
The placenta is on the ridges on ovary wall.
Ovules are in them e.g. pawpaw.
The placenta is in the centre.
Ovary is divided into a number of loculi. e.g. orange.
The placenta is formed at the base of the ovary e.g. sunflower.
Free Central placentation.
Placenta is in the centre of the ovary.
There are no loculi e.g. in primrose.
Methods of fruit and seed dispersal.
Fleshy fruits are eaten by animals.
Animals are attracted to the fruits by the bright colour, scent or the fact that it is edible.
The seeds pass through the digestive tract undamaged and are passed out with faeces. E.g. tomatoes and guavas.
Such seeds have hard, resistant seed coats.
Others have fruits with hooks or spines that stick on animal fur or on clothes.
Later the seeds are brushed of or fall off on their own e.g. Bidens pilosa (Black jack).
Fruits and seeds are small and light in order to be carried by air currents.
A fruit that is a capsule e.g. tobacco split or has pores at the top e.g. Mexican poppy.
The capsule is attached to along stalk when swayed by wind the seeds are released and scattered.
Some seeds have hairy or feather-like structures which increase their surface area so that they can be blown off by the wind e.g. Sonchus.
Others have wing-like structures e.g. Jacaranda and Nandi Flame.
These extensions increase the surface area of fruits and seeds such that they are carried by the wind.
Fruits like coconut have fibrous mescocarp which is spongy to trap air, the trapped air make the fruit light and buoyant to float on water.
Plants like water lily produce seeds whose seed coats trap air bubbles.
The air bubbles make the seeds float on water and are carried away.
The pericarp and seed coat are waterproof.
Self-dispersal (explosive) Mechanism
This is seen in pods like bean and pea.
Pressure inside the pod forces it to open along lines of weakness throwing seeds away from parent plant.