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Flowers and pollen

The parts of a flower. The colourful petals attract insects to it and carry out pollination. A plant’s flower is the reproductive part of a plant. Here the plant makes seeds which grow into new plants. A typical flowering plant has both male and female parts contained in the flower. Tiny particles, called pollen, which, to the naked eye, look like fine yellow powder, must travel from the anthers (the male parts) of one flower to the stigma (the female part) of another of the same kind. When this happens the male and female cells can join and develop into seeds, from which new plants can grow.

Male and female parts

The reproductive parts of the flower are usually in the centre. Some flowers have only male or female parts rather than both. The male reproductive part of a flower, consisting of an anther and filament, is called a stamen. Pollen is produced in the bag-like anthers on stalks, called filaments. Each pollen grain contains a male cell.Cross-section through a flower
The female reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of an ovary, style and stigma, is called a carpel. The female cells or ovules (eggs) are in the ovary, a fleshy part at the flower’s base. A taller part, called the style, sticks up from this, with the stigma at its top. Some flowers have one carpel, while others have a cluster of carpels, called a pistil.

The scientific name for flowering plants is angiosperm, which means “seed bearing”. The word comes from the Greek angos meaning “box” and sperma meaning “seed”.

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