Flowers grow in all colors and shapes, providing a wonderful landscape and pleasant scents. Regardless of the type of bloom, flowers reproduce themselves using seeds that are produced during the plant's life cycle. Flowers may use the assistance of another flower to create seeds, or they may produce the seeds on their own.
Before flowers can produce seeds, the flower's stigma must be pollinated. As the flower grows, it produces pollen. The pollen is produced in the male segment of the flower, called stamen. To begin the pollination process, the pollen must reach the female segment of the flower, called the pistil. The stigma rests at the top of the pistil and is usually sticky to the touch. This natural stickiness helps the stigma to capture and secure the pollen. The pollen travels through the stigma and down into the pistil. The pollen comes to rest in the ovule, which is where the flower begins to create its seeds.
Because flowers are stationary, they require assistance in moving the pollen from the stamen to the pistil. Though the stamen and pistil are near each other, very seldom do they directly touch one another. The process of moving pollen from the stamen to the pistil is called pollination. Pollen is moved to stigma by animals, insects, wind and rain.
Animal and insect pollination occurs when the animals or insects feed on the flowers. Whether they are attracted by the scent or the color, when these assistants feed on the flowers, the pollen attaches to them. When they leave to feed on other similar plants, the pollen then falls into place, attaching to the stigma. Wind and rain also aid in pollination. The wind and rain sweep the pollen from the flowers, allowing it travel to the stigma. With all pollination methods, the pollen may be released onto the same flower or other similar flowers. Many flowers produce high levels of pollen. This ensures that they have a better chance for reproduction, because not all pollen successfully reaches the stigma.
After the flower is pollinated, the pistil uses the stigma's pollen grains to develop a tube that reaches downward into the flower's ovary. When the proper length is reached, the tube connects with the flower's ovule and the ovule is fertilized. After the ovule ripens, seeds are produced.