Biology » Plant Reproduction » Reproductive Development and Structure

Summarizing Reproductive Development and Structure


The flower contains the reproductive structures of a plant. All complete flowers contain four whorls: the calyx, corolla, androecium, and gynoecium. The stamens are made up of anthers, in which pollen grains are produced, and a supportive strand called the filament. The pollen contains two cells— a generative cell and a tube cell—and is covered by two layers called the intine and the exine. The carpels, which are the female reproductive structures, consist of the stigma, style, and ovary. The female gametophyte is formed from mitotic divisions of the megaspore, forming an eight-nuclei ovule sac. This is covered by a layer known as the integument. The integument contains an opening called the micropyle, through which the pollen tube enters the embryo sac.

The diploid sporophyte of angiosperms and gymnosperms is the conspicuous and long-lived stage of the life cycle. The sporophytes differentiate specialized reproductive structures called sporangia, which are dedicated to the production of spores. The microsporangium contains microspore mother cells, which divide by meiosis to produce haploid microspores. The microspores develop into male gametophytes that are released as pollen. The megasporangium contains megaspore mother cells, which divide by meiosis to produce haploid megaspores. A megaspore develops into a female gametophyte containing a haploid egg. A new diploid sporophyte is formed when a male gamete from a pollen grain enters the ovule sac and fertilizes this egg.



sum of all the stamens in a flower


the three cells away from the micropyle


outermost covering of pollen


multicellular stage of the plant that gives rise to haploid gametes or spores


the sum of all the carpels in a flower


inner lining of the pollen


second phase of female gametophyte development, during which the surviving haploid megaspore undergoes mitosis to produce an eight-nucleate, seven-cell female gametophyte, also known as the megagametophyte or embryo sac.


tissue found in the ovary that gives rise to the female gamete or egg


first phase of female gametophyte development, during which a single cell in the diploid megasporangium undergoes meiosis to produce four megaspores, only one of which survives


bract (a type of modified leaf) on the central axis of a female gametophyte


opening on the ovule sac through which the pollen tube can gain entry


tissue that gives rise to the microspores or the pollen grain


central axis of a male cone on which bracts (a type of modified leaf) are attached


(also, petal or sepal) part of the flower consisting of the calyx and/or corolla; forms the outer envelope of the flower

polar nuclei

found in the ovule sac; fusion with one sperm cell forms the endosperm


multicellular diploid stage in plants that is formed after the fusion of male and female gametes


type of cell found in the ovule sac that secretes chemicals to guide the pollen tube towards the egg

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