Forms of Asexual Reproduction in Plants

Any reproduction of a plant that does not involve meiosis, or fusion of two gametes, is considered asexual or vegetative, according to the University of California, Berkeley. This results in new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. When it comes to agriculture or horticulture, creating exact clones of plants that display a desirable characteristic is a great advantage. Horticulturists can make mass numbers of these desirable, exact clone plants for sale to other farmers or gardeners.


Division or cloning is another way to describe fragmentation in plants. Various plant parts can be physically separated from the mother plant and will become entirely new plants. Plant cells can differentiate to form different plants. For example, a segment of root can develop new growth stems and leaves and become a new plant, or some types of succulent plants can rise from a small segment of leaf or stem that comes into contact with the soil. Other plants produce roots (tubers, rhizomes) or stems (stolons) that become new plants away from the original parent plant.


Vivipary means "live birth" and in the context of plants it means small plantlets developing on a leaf or stem of a plant and growing into an independent plant. On century plants (Agave) and chandelier plants (Kalanchoe), small plantlets form on leaf edges or in the flower stalk after the blossoms fade and then drop to the ground to become new plants. Some tropical waterlilies also demonstrate vivipary by developing tiny plantlets on their floating leaf pads. These plantlets sink to the pond bottom and root in the soil.


Apomixis is the production of a seed without fertilization (which occurs after pollination of the flower). In some plants, the ovary contains compartments or ovules that have the full chromosome number and will form seeds. Or, according to Kimball's Biology Pages, some ovules that only have the usual one-half the chromosomes will still become seeds that will germinate. Dandelion weed is an example of a plant that employs apomixis.

Keywords: plant vegetative reproduction, vegetative propagation, reproduction without flowers, plant asexual reproduction

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.