How Plants Produce Seeds

How Plants Produce Seeds image by Dandelions image credit - Sundstrom: sxc.hu, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/774386, Agave seed pods image - Credit: Public Domain, USDA Plants Database, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agave_utahensis_seed_pods.jpg, Amaryllis stamens image - Credit: Henningklevjer: Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amaryllis44.jpg,

Seeds Are the Babies of Plants

Plants create seeds when they become mature enough to produce fruits or flowers, which are their seed-making and seed-distribution mechanisms. Seed plant propagation requires interaction between the male and female parts of the plant--the stamens and pistils, respectively. Pollination, or the fertilization needed for seed production, takes place when pollen from the stamens reaches the seed ovules in the pistils. Then new seeds are born, grow to ripeness and are ready to create a new plant.

Stamens and Pistils

As a plant matures it begins producing foliage and roots, which draw in nutrients and light. It also grows its sex organs, the male stamens and the female pistils, that produce seeds for self-replication. Both sex organs are contained in the flowering parts of plants. Stamens are usually visible as slender stalks with caps containing pollen, a sticky, dust-like substance that is the male fertilizer. Pistils are usually found in protected growths at the base of a plant's flowers. They contain the seed ovules, which become seeds once they are fertilized.

Pollination

Seeds come in all sizes and shapes, with nature deciding the best way plant propagation takes place for that species. All seeds are either uncovered or covered. The World Book Encyclopedia says biologists classify the so-called "naked" seeds as gymnosperms and the covered type as angiosperms. Examples of naked seeds are those produced by pines and other cone-bearing trees, plus some fern-like plants. But the seeds of all flowering plants, including trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs, are the covered type--even if the cover appears very thin and the seed is as tiny as a pinpoint.

Kinds of Seeds

Seeds come in all sizes and shapes, with nature deciding the best way plant propagation takes place for that species. All seeds are either uncovered--such as needle-like marigold seeds--or covered, such as in the Rose-of-Sharon large oval seed pods. The World Book Encyclopedia says biologists classify the so-called naked seeds as gymnosperms, and the covered type as angiosperms. Examples of naked seeds are those produced by pines and other cone-bearing trees, plus some fern-like plants. But the seeds of all flowering plants, including trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs, are the covered type--even if the cover is very thin.

Preventing Seed Production

Dead-heading, or cutting off dead or dying flowers, prevents the development of seeds and is often recommended in flower gardening to make plants produce new blooms. Also, the removal of stamens from plants, such as lilies, can prevent fertilization of the seed ovules. The absence of bees and other natural pollination helpers can also lead to poor or reduced seed production.

Keywords: seed production, how plants produce, plant propagation

About this Author

Patrice Gravino is a professional writer with more than 20 years experience and began writing for eHow in 2008. As an AP journalist, she has been published in the "San Francisco Chronicle," the "New York Times," the "Los Angeles Times" and the "Dallas Morning News." She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Regis University and is a certified master gardener.

Photo by: Dandelions image credit - Sundstrom: sxc.hu, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/774386, Agave seed pods image - Credit: Public Domain, USDA Plants Database, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Agave_utahensis_seed_pods.jpg, Amaryllis stamens image - Credit: Henningklevjer: Creative Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amaryllis44.jpg,