What Part of the Plant Produces Pollen?

Overview

Angiosperms are plants that reproduce sexually, by producing flowers. Flowers can be either male or female, with one flower fertilizing the other, or they may be self-pollinating, with flowers that possess both male and female organs within the same flower. Pollen is produced within the flower to provide the male portion of the reproductive process.

The Male Reproductive Organ

The entire male portion of the plant is referred to as the androecium. The primary parts of the androecium are the stamen and the anthers. Some stamens are long filaments, protruding conspicuously from the center of the flower, as is the case with lily flowers. Other stamens are very short and are attached to modified leaves within the flower, as in magnolia flowers. Stamens support the anthers within the flower.

Anther Structure

Each anther is at the end of a stamen filament. Within the anther is sporogenic tissue that produces the actual pollen grains. Another portion of the anther is called the tapetum; it provides nutrition for the pollen that will develop within the anther.

Pollen Development

In the beginning of the process, pollen mothercells form. These will eventually become spores that reproduce by cell division. The tapetum will eventually enclose each spore in a cellular casing called an exine. Exines are often sticky, allowing the pollen grains to attach to pollinators such as insects.

Pollen Transport

After the pollen matures, it will contain the male gametophyte, or sperm cells, that are necessary for fertilization of the flower. The grains will dry out on the surface of the anther and remain there until moved by some physical force, such as wind, rain or animal interactivity.

Germination

The pollen grains are then transported by this action to the stigma, the tip of the female reproductive portion of the flower. When each pollen grain contacts the stigma, it will fuse to it and release the male gametophyte, which will then move through the stigma, then into the pistil and finally into the ovary by means of a tunnel called a pollen tube. Germination then takes place.

Keywords: pollen organ, pollen production, anther pollen

About this Author

Located in Jacksonville, Fla, Frank Whittemore has been a writer and content strategist for over 15 years, providing corporate communications services to Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics that stem from his fascination with nature, the environment, science, medicine and technology.