The secret life of plants: Sex
It is something that has puzzled man for
many years and yet it makes sense in many ways: Do plants have sex?
Plants don’t have access to dating sites,
apps such as tinder and there are no awkward situations with the do I don’t I
ask him/her. There are no one night stands, no friends with benefits and yet
plants really do have sex. It seems odd when you understand it may change your
whole outlook on plants and flowers, but facts are facts. If this were not so,
plants would not exist.
Just to add something steamier and perhaps
revolting to the whole plants having sex thing one needs to just smell plants.
When you smell a beautiful rose or perhaps a lily you are in fact smelling the
reproductive or private parts of a the plant. You are having a good sniff of
the male part of the plant or stamen that is loaded with pollen, yes pollen is
pretty much the sperm or semen of the flower. You are also having a good deep
smell of the female, egg holding part of the plant called the pistil. How do
you feel now having just gained a fragrant waft of roses in the garden?
Bisexual flowers are found on nearly all
plants. These flowers have both the male and female “sexual organs” of the
plant world. However, there are some plants that have pure heterosexual tendencies.
Plants such as Squash have both male and female flowers and why not 100% sure
why this happens a few things are becoming evident. It is now known that male
and bisexual plants have a lot more seeds than female plants. Scientists
understand that this is because male flowers utilise more energy in producing
and turning out seeds for the female plants to receive.
How do plants have sex?
If you are expecting something steamy or
even romantic, then this is not the place to be. Plants have sex from a
distance and use the natural elements around them to mate. Using wind, water,
animals and even humans to transport pollen towards the female stigma sex
occurs. The grains of pollen germinate and creep towards the ovaries of the
plant and eventually come into contact with eggs. Here seeds are born. It is
hard to imagine, but if you are eating some fruit with seeds or pips in it you
are actually eating unborn fruit lifeforms. Makes you think, hey?
Flowers are not unique in the plant kingdom;
other plants also have sex and have sex quite often. Take the 270 million year
of Gingko tree that has totally separate male and female trees. This perhaps
confuses the chicken and egg conundrum as with two separate sexes of tree which
came first? With this tree, the male tree produces a spore that become sperm
that find eggs inside the ovule of the female tree.
Abstaining from sex
Some plants and flowers do not have sex.
They abstain and yet they still reproduce. One amazing example of this is
Duckweed that produce leafy parts that simply break off and grow into more
duckweed and the cycle continues.
So yes, plants do have sex but not in the
way you may well imagine.