How Do Flowering Plants Reproduce Sexually?

Parts of a Flower

Flowers contain all the physical parts necessary to produce seeds. Each flower contains the female carpel surrounded by male stamens. The carpel is made up of 3 parts, the stigma, the style and the ovary. The stigma is the tip of the carpel and its function is to receive the pollen and hold it so fertilization can take place. The style is a tube like structure that runs from the stigma to the ovary. The ovary is an enlarged structure at the base of the carpel that produces the eggs. The Stamen consists of a thin stalk called the filament on which sits the anther. The anther contains the pollen sacks that contain the male gametophytes.


The process begins with the pollination of the flower either by self pollination or by cross pollination. Cross pollination involves the transfer of pollen from one plant to another while self pollination involves the fertilization of a plant with its own pollen. Some plants such as most fruit trees must be cross pollinated in order for fertilization and the production of fruit to occur.


Once pollen comes in contact with the stigma the pollen takes in water and germinates. It grows a long tube that enters the style and grows toward the ovary. Sperm from the pollen grain then migrate into the ovary and fertilizes the eggs. The resulting zygote develops into an embryo encased in a seed shell and the female tissues of the ovule (the parts surrounding the ovary) develop into fruit.

Keywords: pollination and fertilzation of flowers, how do flowering plants form seeds, what are the sexual parts of a flower

About this Author

Joan Puma is a graduate of Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts, and has worked in the film industry for many years as a script supervisor. Puma's interest in gardening lead her to write The Complete Urban Gardener, which was published by Harper & Row. Other interests include, art history, medieval history, and equitation.