What Is Cross Pollination?

Overview

Most flower-bearing plants must be pollinated in order to produce seeds and fruit. Some plants are self-pollinating while others must be cross-pollinated. Cross-pollination takes place when the pollen from one plant is transferred to a different plant.

Significance

Cross-pollination is a means by which plants are fertilized. It allows for genetic diversity among plants, giving them the best chance to continue their species.

Function

Cross-pollination can take place through insects, animals, humans or nature.

Parts

The main flower parts that are involved in the pollination process are the stigma, the stamen and the ovule. Pollen from the male stamen of one plant must be transferred to the female stigma of another plant for cross-pollination to take place. The ovule is a housing place for the seeds to grow and develop.

Effects

All segments of the female flower must be pollinated for the fruit to reach its maximum potential and for enough seeds to form. Fertilizer imbalance, inadequate water and excessive heat or cold can negatively affect fruit development.

Expert Insight

Botanists are using cross-pollination to produce a desired gene occurrence within a plant species such as size, taste, nutritional value and disease resistance.

Importing Bees

A major parasitic disease and the overuse of pesticides have significantly reduced the number of honeybees available for cross-pollination in the United States. Several companies are involved with the task of importing bee hives into commercial farms and orchards for crop pollination.

References

  • End Times Report: Pollination and Cross Pollination
  • Pollination.com: Pollination
  • U.S. Forest Service: Celebrating Wildflowers
Keywords: cross-pollination, how flowers reproduce, sexual parts of a plant

About this Author

Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for Suite101. Degraff holds a Master's degree in Communications Design from Pratt Institute.