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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the two stages of a plant’s lifecycle
  • Compare and contrast male and female gametophytes and explain how they form in angiosperms
  • Describe the reproductive structures of a plant
  • Describe the components of a complete flower
  • Describe the development of microsporangium and megasporangium in gymnosperms

Sexual reproduction takes place with slight variations in different groups of plants. Plants have two distinct stages in their lifecycle: the gametophyte stage and the sporophyte stage. The haploid gametophyte    produces the male and female gametes by mitosis in distinct multicellular structures. Fusion of the male and females gametes forms the diploid zygote, which develops into the sporophyte    . After reaching maturity, the diploid sporophyte produces spores by meiosis, which in turn divide by mitosis to produce the haploid gametophyte. The new gametophyte produces gametes, and the cycle continues. This is the alternation of generations, and is typical of plant reproduction ( [link] ).

 Illustration shows the life cycle of angiosperms, which includes a microgametophyte stage and a megagametophyte stage. The life cycle begins with the fusion of egg and sperm to form a zygote. The zygote undergoes mitosis, resulting in a male microsporophyte or a female megasporophyte. The microsporophyte has a cluster of cells called a microsporangium, and the megasporophyte has a cluster of cells called a megasporangium. Through meiosis, the microsporangium forms microspores, and the megasporangium forms megaspores. Both microspores and megaspores undergo mitosis, forming the microgametophyte and megagametophyte, respectively. Within the microgametophyte, the fusion of egg and sperm completes the cycle.
The alternation of generations in angiosperms is depicted in this diagram. (credit: modification of work by Peter Coxhead)

The life cycle of higher plants is dominated by the sporophyte stage, with the gametophyte borne on the sporophyte. In ferns, the gametophyte is free-living and very distinct in structure from the diploid sporophyte. In bryophytes, such as mosses, the haploid gametophyte is more developed than the sporophyte.

During the vegetative phase of growth, plants increase in size and produce a shoot system and a root system. As they enter the reproductive phase, some of the branches start to bear flowers. Many flowers are borne singly, whereas some are borne in clusters. The flower is borne on a stalk known as a receptacle. Flower shape, color, and size are unique to each species, and are often used by taxonomists to classify plants.

Sexual reproduction in angiosperms

The lifecycle of angiosperms follows the alternation of generations explained previously. The haploid gametophyte alternates with the diploid sporophyte during the sexual reproduction process of angiosperms. Flowers contain the plant’s reproductive structures.

Flower structure

A typical flower has four main parts—or whorls—known as the calyx, corolla, androecium, and gynoecium ( [link] ). The outermost whorl of the flower has green, leafy structures known as sepals. The sepals, collectively called the calyx, help to protect the unopened bud. The second whorl is comprised of petals—usually, brightly colored—collectively called the corolla. The number of sepals and petals varies depending on whether the plant is a monocot or dicot. In monocots, petals usually number three or multiples of three; in dicots, the number of petals is four or five, or multiples of four and five. Together, the calyx and corolla are known as the perianth    . The third whorl contains the male reproductive structures and is known as the androecium. The androecium    has stamens with anthers that contain the microsporangia. The innermost group of structures in the flower is the gynoecium    , or the female reproductive component(s). The carpel is the individual unit of the gynoecium and has a stigma, style, and ovary. A flower may have one or multiple carpels.

Questions & Answers

which of the following statements about plant division is false?
Israel Reply
experiment to show that oxygen, carbondioxide and chlorophyll is needed for photosynthesis
Yannick Reply
What are the events that occur in each phase of interphase
Hazey Reply
what is photosynthesis
Victor Reply
The process plants use to convert sunlight into food (energy).
Some other organisms use
types of photosynthesis
ps1 and ps2
what is used to determine phylogeny?
Israel Reply
which condition is the basis for a species to be reproductively isolated from other members?
Israel Reply
Why do scientists consider vestigial structures evidence for evolution?
8.Which statement about analogies is correct?
What is true about organisms that are a part of the same clade?
Why is it so important for scientists to distinguish between homologous and analogous characteristics before building phylogenetic trees?
what are the processes for experiments for photosynthesis
to show that oxygene
to show that oxygen, carbondioxide and chloropyll is necessary for photosynthesis?
(CH2O)n is the stoichiometric formula of
Marcellus Reply
what are nucleotide
Anastijjaninaiya Reply
Methane,ammonia,water and sugar are dissolved to form nuceotide
Introduction To Biology
Tanveer Reply
can ringworm be caused by bacterium
fred Reply
Branches of biology
no it does not occurs by bacterium
experiment to show that oxygen, carbondioxide and chlorophyll is needed for photosynthesis
what is a brick?
Istifanus Reply
what is gene in biology?
yousaf Reply
it is a heredity unit
what is DNA
yousaf Reply
carrier of genetic information
deoxyribonucleic acid
it contains genetic information and brings it to one generation to other
it is of two Types circular DNA and linear DNA
plasmids are the type of small circular DNA which lies outside the genomic DNA
And what makes a virus to be difficult to destroy
what observation is made when dry seeds and soaked seeds are put in a vacuum flask
Robin Reply
there is respiration from the soak seeds which shows on the walls of the vacuum flask
what's mammals ?
Istifanus Reply
mammals are vertebrates ,any member group of vertebrates animals in which the young are nourished with milk from special mammary glands of the mother.

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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