Flowers are considered decorative items, as they are used to brighten up a space with their gorgeous bloom and divine scent. But is that the sole purpose of flowers? No, flowers play an immense role in our ecosystem.
We usually call any plant which looks good in a vase a flower, but that’s inaccurate. Flowers are a part of the plant, the same as a stem or a leaf. We call daisies, tulips, and roses flowers when they have other organs as well, like roots and stems.
Many plants have flowers during some part of the year. We only regard conventional flowering plants as ‘flowers’, but plants like maple trees, cacti, and poison ivy have flowers as well. But even though all types of plants can have flowers, not all plants do. Like ferns, pine trees, and mosses don’t have flowers.
Now the question arises, ‘why do plants have flowers?’. The answer is reproduction. Flowers are responsible for procreation in plants. This is why they play a crucial role in the life cycle of a plant.
To find out why do plants have flowers, keep on reading!
Why Do Plants Have Flowers?
The male parts of the flower are called the stamen, collectively, and they are responsible for reproduction. We can divide the stamen into two parts: the anther and the filament. The anther is a round pouch that is responsible for the production of pollen. The filament is a hair-like strand that holds the anther on top of it.
Pollen is a substance that appears to be like fine dust, but in actuality, each pollen grain is complex enough to be called a minute body. Each pollen grain contains enough male gametes that are necessary for fertilization.
The female reproductive part in a plant is called a pistil. It can be found in the center of the flower and holds the ovules. After pollination, these ovules later become seeds. There are three parts of a pistil: the style, the ovary, and the stigma.
The style is a tube-like structure coming out of the center of the pistil. The bottom end of the style is attached to the ovaries, which are responsible for producing the ovules. And on the top of the style is the stigma, which is sticky and is used to catch pollen.
Plants reproduce using pollination. Pollination is a process where pollen grains are transferred from the male reproductive organ to the female reproductive organ, from the anther to the stigma. Using pollination, the plant will be able to make seeds, which are necessary for reproduction in plants.
Seeds contain genetic material that contributes to making a new plant. And flowers are the tools used to construct these seeds. The seeds are only produced when pollen is transferred between flowers for the same species.
There are three ways pollination can occur:
- Autogamy – pollen goes from the anther to the stigma of the same flower.
- Allogamy – pollen goes from the anther of one plant to the stigma of another plant (same species, of course)
- Geitonogamy – pollen goes from anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower of the same plant
But hows does this pollen transfer occur? Plants can’t just go up to each other and start asking for pollen. Pollen grains need a medium to travel through to reach from the anther to the stigma. The three mediums are wind, water, and animals.
The wind is a medium for pollination. Wind pollinated plants usually occur in large populations. Water is another medium used for pollination, but a small percentage of plants water-pollinate by releasing their seeds in the water.
Insect pollination is the most common type of pollination. The bright colors, beautiful fragrances, and nectar of flowers attract insects. These insects then deliver the pollen grain to other flowers, that attract the insects with visual and sensory cues.
Some insect pollinators are:
- Honey bees
- Solitary bees
The beautiful bright colors and scents of flowers aren’t just for the show but are functional components of a flower.
Fertilization is the sexual reproductive process that occurs inside a flower. It’s when a pollen grain (a male gamete) fuses with the ovum (a female gamete) to form a diploid zygote. This reaction takes place after pollination and gives birth to a new plant.
After fertilization, the zygote begins to divide and forms an embryo inside the flower. This embryo is stored inside a seed capsule until the conditions are suited for a new plant’s production.
Fruits and flowers seem like completely different things, but any fruit you’ve ever had was a flower at some point. In fruit-producing plants, after pollination, fruit starts to set. And a seed is produced after germination and fertilization.
Later the uneaten fruit falls from the tree and decomposes. These fruits contain seeds, which will eventually grow into a plant and produce fruit. The following are some examples of fruits, and their corresponding flowers.
- Apple trees are covered in blossom. These blossoms cross-pollinate and produce apples.
- Pear trees have white flowers with large heads. These flowers lead to pears.
- Cherry flowers come in many colors, predominantly white and red. They bloom earlier in the year and end up giving us delicious, sweet cherries.
We can conclude that flowers are the most underrated part of the flower. People appreciate them for their beauty, but they’re functional and contribute to the ecosystem. Without flowers, plants won’t be able to reproduce.
Flowers house the male and female reproductive parts of the plant. Pollination occurs inside flowers, so does fertilization. Without the sweet scent of the flowers and their beautiful appearance, insects won’t come to a plant and help pollinate it. Without flowers, we won’t even have fruits, can you imagine?
If you have any more questions regarding why do plants have flowers, leave them in the comment section down below. We sincerely hope that this article cleared up all your queries.