Sunday, January 10, 2021


To produce its kind is a characteristic of all living organisms. You have already learnt this in Class VI. The production of new individuals from their parents is known as reproduction. But, how do plants reproduce? There are different modes of reproduction in plants which we shall learn in this chapter. 

MODES OF REPRODUCTION In Class VI you learnt about different parts of a flowering plant. Try to list the various parts of a plant and write the functions of each. Most plants have roots, stems and leaves. These are called the vegetative parts of a plant. After a certain period of growth, most plants bear flowers. You may have seen the mango trees flowering in spring. It is these flowers that give rise to juicy mango fruit we enjoy in summer. We eat the fruits and usually discard the seeds. Seeds germinate and form new plants. So, what is the function of flowers in plants? Flowers perform the function of reproduction in plants. Flowers are the reproductive parts. 

There are several ways by which plants produce their offspring. These are categorised into two types: (i) asexual, and (ii) sexual reproduction. In asexual reproduction plants can give rise to new plants without seeds, whereas in sexual reproduction, new plants are obtained from seeds 

Plants have two kinds of parts: 
Vegetative Parts - These are the parts of the plant that plays a major role in the life cycle of a plant such as preparation of food, transportation of food, water and nutrients etc. For Example, roots, stems and leaves. 

Reproductive Parts - These are the parts of a plant that play a major role in the reproduction process in plants, For Example, flowers, fruits

Reproduction in plants can be categorized into two types:
Asexual Reproduction – The new plants are produced without using the seeds. In this process, generally, the leaves, stems and roots participate in reproduction. 

Cut a branch of rose or champa with a node. This piece of branch is termed a cutting. Bury the cutting in the soil. A node is a part of the stem/branch at which a leaf arises. Water the cutting every day and observe its growth. Observe and record the number of days taken for roots to come out and new leaves to arise. Try the same activity by growing money plant in a jar of water and record your observations. 

You must have seen flower buds developing into flowers. Apart from flower buds, there are buds in the axil (point of attachment of the leaf at the node) of leaves which develop into shoots. These buds are called vegetative buds. A bud consists of a short stem around which immature overlapping leaves are present. Vegetative buds can also give rise to new plants

Take a fresh potato. Observe the scars on it with the help of a magnifying glass. You may find bud(s) in them. These scars are also called “eyes”. Cut the potato into small portions, each with an eye and bury them in the soil. Water the pieces regularly for a few days and observe their progress. What do you find? 

Likewise you can also grow ginger or turmeric. Bryophyllum (sprout leaf plant) has buds in the margins of leaves. If a leaf of this plant falls on a moist soil, each bud can give rise to a new plant. Roots of some plants can also give rise to new plants. Sweet potato and dahlia are examples. Plants such as cacti produce new plants when their parts get detached from the main plant body. Each detached part can grow into a new plant. 

Plants produced by vegetative propagation take less time to grow and bear flowers and fruits earlier than those produced from seeds. The new plants are exact copies of the parent plant, as they are produced from a single parent. Later in this chapter you will learn that plants produced by sexual reproduction have characters of both the parents. Plants produce seeds as a result of sexual reproduction. 

Budding: You have already learnt about the tiny organisms like yeast can be seen only under a microscope. These grow and multiply every few hours if sufficient nutrients are made available to them. Remember that yeast is a single-celled organism. Let us see how they reproduce? 

The small bulb-like projection coming out from the yeast cell is called a bud. The bud gradually grows and gets detached from the parent cell and forms a new yeast cell. The new yeast cell grows, matures and produces more yeast cells. Sometimes, another bud arises from the bud forming a chain of buds. If this process continues, a large number of yeast cells are produced in a short time. 

Fragmentation: You might have seen slimy green patches in ponds, or in other stagnant water bodies. These are the algae. When water and nutrients are available algae grow and multiply rapidly by fragmentation. An alga breaks up into two or more fragments. These fragments or pieces grow into new individuals. This process continues and they cover a large area in a short period of time. 

Spore formation In Chapter 1 you learnt that the fungi on a bread piece grow from spores which are present in the air. Repeat Activity 1.2. Observe the spores in the cottonlike mesh on the bread. When spores are released they keep floating in the air. As they are very light they can cover long distances. Spores are asexual reproductive bodies. Each spore is covered by a hard protective coat to withstand unfavourable conditions such as high temperature and low humidity. So they can survive for a long time. Under favourable conditions, a spore germinates and develops into a new individual. Plants such as moss and ferns also reproduce by means of spores. 

Sexual Reproduction – The new plants are produced with the help of the seeds of a plant. In this process, the flowers of the plants participate in reproduction. You have learnt earlier the structure of a flower. You know that the flowers are the reproductive parts of a plant. Stamens are the male reproductive part and pistil is the female reproductive part.

Study the various parts of a stamen and pistil. Flowers which contain either only pistil or only stamens are called unisexual flowers. Flowers which contain both stamens and pistil are called bisexual flowers. Corn, papaya and cucumber produce unisexual flowers, whereas mustard, rose and petunia have bisexual flowers. Both male and female unisexual flowers may be present in the same plant or in different plants. Could you identify the anther and the filament of a stamen? 

Anther contains pollen grains which produce male gametes. A pistil consists of stigma, style and ovary. Ovary contains one or more ovules. The female gamete or the egg is formed in an ovule. In sexual reproduction a male and a female gamete fuse to form a zygote. 

Pollination Generally, pollen grains have a tough protective coat which prevents them from drying up. Since pollen grains are light, they can be carried by wind or water. Insects visit flowers and carry away pollen on their bodies. Some of the pollen lands on the stigma of a flower of the same kind. The transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma of a flower is called pollination

If the pollen lands on the stigma of the same flower or another flower of the same plant, it is called self-pollination. When the pollen of a flower lands on the stigma of a flower of a different plant of the same kind, it is called cross-pollination

Fertilisation The cell which results after fusion of the gametes is called a zygote. The process of fusion of male and female fertilisation . The zygote develops into an embryo. Fruits and seeds form After fertilisation, the ovary grows into a fruit and other parts of the flower fall off. The fruit is the ripened ovary. The seeds develop from the ovules. The seed contains an embryo enclosed in a protective seed coat. Some fruits are fleshy and juicy such as mango and orange. Some fruits are hard like almonds and walnuts. 

SEED DISPERSAL: In nature same kind of plants grow at different places. This happens because seeds are dispersed to different places. Sometimes after a walk through a forest or a field or a park, you may have found seeds or fruits sticking to your clothes. 

Did you try to observe how these seeds were clinging to your clothes? What do you think will happen if all seeds of a plant were to fall at the same place and grow there? There would be severe competition for sunlight, water, minerals and space. As a result the seeds would not grow into healthy plants. 

Plants benefit by seed dispersal. It prevents competition between the plant and its own seedlings for sunlight, water and minerals. It also enables the plants to invade new habitats for wider distribution. Seeds and fruits of plants are carried away by wind, water and animals. Winged seeds such as those of drumstick and maple, light seeds of grasses or hairy seeds of aak (Madar) and hairy fruit of sunflower get blown off with the wind to far away places. 

     Some seeds are dispersed by water. These fruits or seeds usually develop floating ability in the form of spongy or fibrous outer coat as in coconut. Some seeds are dispersed by animals, especially spiny seeds with hooks which get attached to the bodies of animals and are carried to distant places. Examples are Xanthium and Urena. 

Some seeds are dispersed when the fruits burst with sudden jerks. The seeds are scattered far from the parent plant. This happens in the case of castor and balsam.

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