What Is the Life Cycle of a Plant?

What Is the Life Cycle of a Plant? image by DRW & Associates Inc. (3), Microsoft Office clip art, Image (3): Wikimedia Commons
What Is the Life Cycle of a Plant? image by DRW & Associates Inc. (3), Microsoft Office clip art, Image (3): Wikimedia Commons

Overview

Plants flourish in such magnificent variety that sometimes it seems that each species is following a different pattern. Plants, though, like all organisms, are born, grow to maturity, propagate the species, age and die. The miracles of their existence begin with the tiny seeds that mark the end of one generation and the beginning of the next.

Hosta seeds and pods.

Seed

New plants, encased in shells, fall from dying plants to fall on new ground: when---and if---conditions are hospitable, it will begin to grow.

First stages of growth.

Sprout

The plant breaks its shell: a "radicle" grows downward, collecting nutrients and moisture as a "plumle" grows upward, opening leaves to absorb sunlight.

Adult plants in the vegetative stage.

Maturation

In the vegetative stage, the plant produces chlorophyll to transform nutrients into food to grow branches and leaves.

A flower blooms then fades.

Buds and Bloom

As the plant matures, buds swell at stem and branch terminals and open into fruit or inflorescence (flowers), the reproductive organs of the plant.

Rose hips containseeds.

Setting Seed

Each species of plant may differ in its specific anatomy but most produce seed, fertilizing an egg to develop an embryo encased in a covering that will harden into a shell.

Marigold seeds are the center of the flower.

Dormancy or Death

Cool temperatures signal the plant's growth to slow, and shortened days end the production of chlorophyll. The plant dies back to the ground, dropping the seeds or seed pod.

Who Can Help

  • Learning about the lives of plants
  • The Biology of Plants--Missouri Botantical Gardens

About this Author

Laura Reynolds began writing professionally in 1974. She has worked as a nonfiction author and editor, and as a newspaper editor. Reynolds has been appointed and elected to local offices as well. She has a Bachelor of Science in education from Northern Illinois University.

Photo by: DRW & Associates Inc. (3), Microsoft Office clip art, Image (3): Wikimedia Commons