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  Section: Principles of Horticulture » Plant reproduction
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Reproduction in simple multicellular green plants

Plant reproduction
  The seed
  The fruiting plant
  Reproduction in simple multicellular green plants

Figure 7.10 Fern spores
on underside of leaves,
Dryopteris erythrosora
and Phyllitis
scolopendrium Cristata
The seed-producing plants represent the most important division of the plant kingdom in horticulture. Other, simpler multicellular green plants reproduce sexually, but also asexually. Alternation of generations exists when two stages of quite distinct types of growth occur. In ferns (Pteridophyta), a vegetative stage produces a spore forming body on the underside of leaves (see Figure 7.10). Spores are released and, with suitable damp conditions,
Germinating fern
Figure 7.11 Germinating fern
spores and plantlets
germinate to produce a sexual leafy stage in which male and female organs develop and release cells which fertilize and develop in the body of the plant. These spores then germinate while nourished by the sexual leafy stage and develop in turn into a new vegetative plant. Ferns can be produced in cultivation by spores if provided with damp sterile conditions to allow the tiny spores to germinate without competition (see Figure 7.11). Vegetative propagation by division of plants or rhizomes is common.

Many plants are able to reproduce both sexually and asexually by vegetative propagation. This is described in detail in Plant Propogation.


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