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Do Gymnosperms Need Water For Fertilization? (5 Things You Need To Know!)

Do you also want to know why do gymnosperms need water for fertilization? Does a question like this often come to your mind and you start searching for the answer out of curiosity?

Let’s have a look at it and get some information about gymnosperms and do gymnosperms need water for fertilization.

Do Gymnosperms Need Water For Fertilization
Gymnosperms – via Wikimedia

What Are Gymnosperms?

Gymnosperms are woody plants, trees, shrubs, or vines. They include conifers, cycad, ginkgos, and gnetales, and are an ancient group of plants that, instead of bearing flowers, bears naked seeds.

The production of seeds on gymnosperms is done on the reproductive structure instead of being enclosed as a fruit.

Gymnosperms are the most primitive plants that are said to be evolved from progymnosperms about 360 million years ago. They are the first vascular plants to inhibit land appearing due to the presence of a vascular system capable of water transmission throughout the plant.

Gymnosperms are widely used due to their economical benefits. They are used in the paper industry, furniture production, music industry, and as well as waterproof ships and ropes. They are also known for their contribution to the reduction of carbon dioxide and the greenhouse effect.

There are four main divisions within the gymnosperm plants:

Divisions Of Gymnosperm Plants

Ginkgophyta

Maidenhair fern is the only living representation of this division. It is the oldest known plant genus and is both dioecious and deciduous. Dichotomous venation is present in its fans-shaped leaves.

Cycadophyta

It is the most important plant group in which all species are dioecious. The distinctive feature of cycad plants is their palm-like leaves. They produce one crown of leaves every year.

Gnetophyta

They have three divisions that are different from each other except for the presence of vessel elements in their woods. They have broad leaves and are tropical and dioecious.

Pinophyta or Coniferophyta

It is the largest genus having two kinds of leaves. They are monoecious, which means both females and males are produced on the same tree but separately.

Characteristics of Gymnosperms

Gymnosperms are photosynthetic or autotrophic. They are believed to conserve water, as they have a developed vascular system, which consists of xylem, phloem, and roots. Gymnosperms use their vascular system for the transportation of water and minerals.

Gymnosperms are older than angiosperms on the evolutionary scale. The main characteristic that separates gymnosperms from angiosperms is the presence of their ovules and seeds on the scales of cones rather than being enclosed in ovaries.

Gymnosperm life cycle Do Gymnosperms Need Water For Fertilization
Gymnosperm life cycle – via Wikimedia

Fertilization In Gymnosperms

In gymnosperms, male microstrobili contain microsporophylls that are reduced leaves. On the other hand, pollen sacs are present on the lower side of microsporophylls. Cells in the microsporangia produce microspores by undergoing meiotic division.

While in the gametophyte phase, microspore germinates will be in microsporangium to form the male gametophyte. Mitosis occurs in the single nucleus to produce a few cells. After that, the male gametophyte which is also known as pollen grain is transported through pollination.

The female megastrobili can be present on the same plant or separate plants. A megastrobilus contains megasporophylls in which megasporangia are present.

In every megasporangium, the meiotic division is undergone by every cell to produce four haploid megaspores. Three out of these four haploid megaspores degenerate, while only one remains.

The single megaspore forms a female gametophyte by undergoing mitosis. Ovule at this stage is ready to be fertilized.

Process of Fertilization

For the process of fertilization to begin, the male gametophyte should reach the female gametophyte. The process of transportation of male gametophyte to female gametophyte is known as pollination. Pollination can be done through a pollen tube, or in some cases, it is carried out by pollination droplet.

The egg and sperm continue to grow. The nucleus present in sperm undergoes divisions, forming two male gametes.

Fertilization in gymnosperms occurs when the nuclei of the two sperms meet the egg cells. When this happens, one nucleus dies while the other combines with the egg nucleus. This forms a diploid zygote.

The egg that is fertilized undergoes mitosis to start a new sporophyte generation. It is the multicellular embryo of the seed. After maturation, the gymnosperm embryo is surrounded by two or more seed leaves commonly known as cotyledons.

Do Gymnosperms Need Water For Fertilization?

Gymnosperms are seed plants and they differ from seedless plants in their characteristics.

One of the most common differences that exist between seed plants and seedless plants is the need for water. Gymnosperms do not require water for sperm to swim to reach the egg. This is carried out by the process of pollination.

Pollination is the process through which the transportation of pollen grains occurs from the male cones to the female cones. It can be done through wind, water, insects, or animals. Fertilization may take place by self-pollination or cross-pollination.

The movement of pollen to the ovule in seed plants relies on airborne transport and not on water transport, so as a result, gymnosperms do not need water for their fertilization.


Conclusion

Gymnosperms are seed-producing, flowerless plants that belong to the subkingdom Embophyta. The term gymnosperm means naked seeds. The seeds of a gymnosperm are so termed because the seeds produced by gymnosperms are not enclosed in an ovary.

Fertilization in gymnosperms takes place through pollination, which is carried out by wind, insects, water, or animals. It might be on the same plant or a different plant. Water is not required by gymnosperms for its fertilization.

This article contained all the required information that you need to know about gymnosperms, as well as about do gymnosperms need water for fertilization.

If you have any questions regarding gymnosperms and their fertilization, feel free to get in contact and we will get back to your query as soon as we can!