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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

what is biology
lilian Reply
what is biology
Dada Reply
The scientific study of life.
juanita
the virus that causes mumps in humans is composed of a protein outer Shell containing a core of DNA
Daniel Reply
Basic science and applied science question about cancer
Joyce Reply
what are the importance of ATPs
Olatunji Reply
How can biology be studied from a microscopic approach to a global approach
Joyce Reply
The large central opening in the poriferan body is called
Chynna Reply
You go for a long walk on a hot day. Give an example of a way in which homeostasis keeps your body healthy.
Joyce Reply
You sweat.
juanita
sweating is your bodies way of keeping you from overheating.
juanita
Thank you
Joyce
what is biology
Neya Reply
biology is the study of life
IYANUYIMIKA
Biology is the study of Life
Brianna
is the branch of science which deals with the of living things.
Peter
what is metabolism
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Atta
pls come a again
Gyamfi
Describe the steps and results of reintroducing wolves to Yellowstone National Park.
Natalia Reply
tag and release wolves into Yellowstone. wolves eventually reproduce and the pack grows. as wolves hunt they cull the sick and weak prey. the carcass that is left provides food for other species (scavengers and insect.. etc). this heals the circle of life and contributes to the biodiversity...
Will
before you know it species that are critical to the eco system return. having apex predators is crucial to an ecosystem... it helps run the deer and elk , etc around.
Will
example: there was a species of shrub/ plant that grows along river banks that moose love to eat.. the moose have no predator so they decimate that food source which also helps prevent erosion. when the wolves were reintroduced this changed. oddly enough this plant species started to repopulate in
Will
the areas where wolf feces sat and decayed
Will
which of the following statements about the parts of an egg are false?
Israel Reply
Monotremes include...?
Israel
medicinal plants including microbs
vijay Reply
,medicinal plants including microbes
vijay
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study of living organisms...
R0se
study of plants and animals
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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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