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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Plant Reproduction

Asexual Reproduction

Some plants can grow from cut off leaves or stems. Many of our house plants are shared this way. Some plants even grow little plants on their leaves or root when a piece of stem is buried.

All these methods of reproduction work well. However, they do not make it possible for plants to move to new locations. They result in plants with the same characteristics as the parents: the same resistance to the same diseases, the same responses to flood, drought, heat and cold, and the same schedules of growing. They are vulnerable to everything that might destroy the parents. A viable community needs members with diverse strengths and vulnerabilities.

In addition to reproducing asexually, most land plants also reproduce sexually.

Sexual Reproduction

Once plants got out of the water and onto the land, they faced real challenges. One of those problems was to invent ways to share and to scatter genetic material. Some of the early plants, ferns, for instance, found ways to exchange reproductive material in water, and later released many tiny spores into the air. However, much of the earth is too dry for this strategy. Plants had to find ways to deal with the dry air.


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