Basic Parts of a Plant
There are thousands of different types of flowering plants, but they all have the same basic parts:-
Roots - Anchors the plant into the soil, takes in water and nutrients from the soil.
Stem - Main support column of the plant, grows as tall as possible to get as much sunlight as possible.
Leaf - Big and wide to receive as much sunlight as possible. Contain the chemical Chlorophyll to absorb light energy for Photosynthesis.
Flower - The reproductive part of the plant. Is sometimes brightly coloured to attract insects.
The Life Cycle of a Plant
The diagram below shows the stages of a plant's life cycle:-
The life cycle above shows the stage of growth for a plant, from seed to flowering plant to the production of more seeds.
We could start the story of a plant at any point in this cycle, but for now we will start with a flowering plant and follow the whole process.
Flowers may look very pretty, and are most of the reason that we have them in our homes, but the flowers serve a really important role to the plant; they are the plant's reproductive system.
When a living thing makes a new individual like itself, this is called reproduction. To reproduce, most organisms produce special sex cells called Gametes.
In an animal, the male gamete is the sperm cell and the female gamete is the egg cell.
In a plant, the male gamete is Pollen and the female gamete is the Ovule.
To reproduce, the male sex cell must meet and join with the female sex cell.
Parts of a Flower
Flowers come in thousands of different colours shapes and sizes, but all flowers have the same basic structure:-
Parts of a flower and their function:-
Sepal - Green cover that protects the flower as it develops.
Petal - Brightly coloured to attract Insects for pollination.
Stamen and Anther - The "male" part of the plant; the stamen supports the anther, where the pollen is produced.
Stigma, Style and Ovary - The "female" part of the plant; the sticky stigma collects pollen, which passes down the style to the ovary, where fertilisation takes place.
The parts of a flower shown above all work together as the plant's reproductive system. However, the plant cannot just reproduce on its own, they need help.
Plants can be pollinated by two methods:-
Wind Pollination - The pollen is light enough for the wind to blow the pollen onto other flowers.
Insect Pollination - The pollen is sticky, insects (or other animals) feeding on the nectar in the flower carry the pollen from one flower to another.
Wind Pollination is the process of pollen being transferred between plants by the wind. In order to get blown long distances, the pollen must be very light. This makes the pollen very small and fine, which can be carried by the smallest of breezes. As the wind can blow the pollen anywhere, it only has a small chance of landing on the right plant, so wind pollinated flowers produce large amounts of pollen.
This large amount of pollen in the air can cause health problems for certain people. It is this wind blown pollen that causes Hay Fever.
Plants that are pollinated by the wind include:-
Insect Pollination is the process of pollen being transferred between plants by insects or other animals (such as birds or bats). In order to get carried by an insect, the pollen must be very sticky.
As the plant needs insect to carry its pollen between flowers, the flow has to be very attractive to insects. A plant does this by making lots of sugary nectar that the insect will feed on, as well as having bright colours and sweet smell.
Plants that are pollinated by insects include:-
The differences between insect pollinated and wind pollinated plants are shown in the table below:-