This is my forth post on plant knowledge from a series of five all detailing different area and parts of plants that you may or may not know, using all the notes I wrote and collected when I did my RHS course.
Let me know what you think – interesting, boring or just indifferent I’d really like to know.
As an extra challenge I’m going to see if I can get each post under 500 words. Don’t count me though 😉
Part Four – Pollination
This was the part in my course I was taught how all plants, and especially flowers, are created to reproduce and carry on their lives, heritage and various varieties through the ages.
Yup, when you see all those pretty pink flowers they are nothing more than a sign-post to some serious sexy time, and all those years I naively just thought that a pretty flower was just that and nothing more. Oh it was like being back at school!
Pollination is extremely important though. in fact it’s a two way thing, we can’t have flowers or fruit or various other plants without pollination taking place and it’s no joke when we hear about the bees declining. Without the the right plants to pollinate we won’t get the pollinators, such as the bees and without bees we literally won’t get anything to eat.
At the beginning
Pollination is a process to allow fertilization of plants to happen. It’s also part of a bigger process in the overall structures found in plants and assists the plant including:
- Takes up food to plant and water
- Anchors the plant in the soil
- Stores nutrients over winter (such as onions)
- Reproduces – reproduction
- Storage of starch (such as carrots)
- Adventitious roots for climbers
- Parasitic roots e.g. haustorium – feeds off the host plant
- Nitrogen fixing nodules
- Transplants food and water to part of the plant
- Supports the plant above the ground
- Transports water and nutrients
- Manufactures ‘food’ carbohydrates in a process called photosynthesis
- Produces flowers and seeds
Flowers are the reproductive system of the plants
Male and female organs can exist in the same flowers, same plant or different plant and are categorised in the following way:
Hermaphrodite – Has both male and female organs on the same flower such as Lilium or Fuchsia
Monoecious – Takes one plant to reproduce. Male and female organs on separate flowering parts of the plant.
Dioecious – Takes two separate plants to reproduce. Separate male flowers and female flowers parts on separate plants such as Ilexoquifolium (Holly)
All flowers reproduce variations on a similar plan.
Flowers are modified for the sole purpose of reproduction and are made up of:
Petals– Situated around the reproductive area of the flower, they usually bright to attract insects
Sepals – The very outer part of the flower head, there to protect the inner petals. They are usually green or brown in colour.
Wind dispensing pollinating plants don’t need to be so brightly coloured such as grasses.
Sepals and petals sometimes looks the same – these are called tepals such as magnolia flowers.
Sometimes flower heads will have visible lines along the petals – these are called pollen lines and they guide the insect and the botanist to the pollen.
Pollination is the transfer of pollen from the male sexual organ to the female sexual organ and of course plants being static it means they have to be colourful enough and structured in just such a way to bring the pollinators to them.
Pollination methods include:
Fertilization is the joining of the make sex organ (sperm) and the female egg cell ovules called zygote
Inflorescense – Is a word describe how flowers are arranged onto the stem. However these vary greatly from one genus to another, each different genus of flower having a different inflorescence like umbel or panicle. This is the actual description of how the flower will form.
And that about covers plant pollination….
Remember – look after the bees and they’ll look after us.