Tulip flower (Tulipa ′Queen of the Night′). Close up of the flower′s reproductive structures
Flowering plants are the dominant plant form on land and they reproduce by sexual and asexual means. Often their most distinguishing feature is their reproductive organs, commonly called flowers.
Reproduction is the biological process by which new individual organisms are produced. Reproduction is a fundamental feature of all known life; each individual organism exists as the result of reproduction. The known methods of reproduction are broadly grouped into two main types: sexual and asexual.
Plants create more of their own kind by either sexual reproduction or asexual reproduction. In sexual reproduction, a male sperm cell joins with a female egg cell to produce a new plant. Both the egg and the sperm cells contain genes (hereditary material). Genes determine many of the characteristics of a plant. A plant that is produced by sexual reproduction inherits genes from both parent plants. It is a unique individual and has traits that may be different from either parent.
Sexual reproduction in flowering plants involves the production of male and female gametes, the transfer of the male gametes to the female ovules in a process called pollination. After pollination occurs, fertilization happens and the ovules grow into seeds within a fruit. After the seeds are ready for dispersal, the fruit ripens and by various means the seeds are freed from the fruit and after varying amounts of time and under specific conditions the seeds germinate and grow into the next generation.
Asexual reproduction can occur in many ways. It often involves the division of one plant into one or more parts that become new plants. These plants inherit genes from only one parent and have exactly the same characteristics as the parent plant. This type of asexual reproduction is called vegetative propagation. Many plants reproduce both sexually and by vegetative propagation.