Reproductive Plant Parts
The stem of a flower is topped with small green petals called sepals. The actual flower petals grow in a ring located in the sepals. The well made by the flower petals is called the corolla. Growing inside the corolla is the stamen.
The stamen is made up of tiny thread-like stalks called filaments and are topped with anthers. This is the male reproductive part of the flower. The female reproductive part of the flower is called the carpel. The carpel is located directly in the center of the stamen. The top part of the carpel is called the stigma. The stalk on which the stigma grows is called the style. The very bottom of the carpal is the ovary. It is the ovary where the seeds are produced.
Pollen is located on the anthers and needs to relocate to the ovary of the flower. This is done through pollination. While the flower is in bloom, it produces nectar which birds and insects use as food. During the gathering of the nectar, pollen particles stick to the insect or bird. As the creature moves to another flower the pollen falls off onto the stigma. It then travels down the style into the ovary. The ovary contains the eggs from which the seeds are produced.
Very few plants self pollinate and this is generally done by flowers growing in harsh conditions when normal pollination does not occur. These types of flowers are known as cleistogamous flowers. Other flowering plants use asexual reproduction to reproduce such as strawberries. These plants clone themselves from stolons, also called runners.
Results of Pollination
Flowering plants reproducing through pollination grow the seeds in the ovary over the course of several months. After the pollen drops into the ovary, it is dispersed among the egg cells. The eggs become fertilized and start to grow.
The eggs develop into seeds as they grow, storing food and nutrients from which the seed feeds while it is germinating. Without this developmental stage the seeds would be useless and would not be able to germinate, producing another flowering plant. Generally, when the mother flower dies, the seeds are fully developed and may be collected for the following year's growing season.