How Non-Flowering Plants Reproduce


Some plants produce stems that travel along the ground, searching for a suitable place for a new plant to start growing. These stems form roots at their tips, which can grow into the ground in order to establish root structure for new plants. Some of these stems travel underground through rhizomes, bulbs, corms or tubers. The root systems grow directly from these underground stems, and new and separate plants sprout up. One type of plant that reproduces this way is the tapioca plant.


Miniature versions of the plant grow on the leaves and then fall off onto the ground. These plants establish root systems and start to grow if they land in appropriate environments for growth. Most of these new plants do not reach fertile soil, so the plants release large numbers of them. Begonias and kalanchoe reproduce through the leaves.


Some plants reproduce by expanding their roots along the ground. Out of these roots rise stems that develop leaves and flower heads. Weeds with this type of reproduction are very difficult to deal with because they will continue to regrow even when the stems are ripped from the roots. Dandelions reproduce through their roots.


Many commercial plants are reproduced by taking the stem, called the scion, and root system of a new tree, chopping the stem off the root system, and attaching the branch of an old tree onto the new root system. This process is done during the winter when the scion and rootstock are dormant. The scions are cut with sharp knives that are sterilized. Scions are not used unless they lack disease, insects and damage. The scions are wrapped together and stored in cool locations under ice or in coolers. The grafting is done by splitting the woodstock open at the top, inserting two scions into the woodstock, and pouring waxed graft union into the gap where the woodstock has been split. Trees that can be reproduced this way include macadamia trees.


Not all seeds need to be fertilized. Some plants are able to develop unfertilized seeds that can grow up and survive just as successfully as fertilized seeds. Unfertilized seeds drop from the plant, land in fertile soil, germinate and grow into adult plants. This occurs through a process called apomixis. Research is being conducted to make apomixis possible for plants that reproduce sexually in order to create very standardized crops. Oranges are an example of a plant that can reproduce without pollination.

Keywords: plant propagation, grafting, non-flowering plants

About this Author

Charles Pearson has written as a freelancer since 2009. He has a B.S. in literature from Purdue University Calumet and is currently working on his M.A. He has written the ebooks "Karate You Can Teach Your Kids," "Macadamia Growing Handout" and "The Raw Food Diet."