Plants reproduce or attempt to make new plants in one of two main ways. One of those is by making seeds, but what is the other one?
Animals and plants strive to reproduce and pass their genes on to the next generation. However, there are many different ways that this happens. Among animals, some have one baby at a time and others have hundreds. Similar to animals, plants also have more than one strategy for reproducing. All plants choose one of these main strategies for reproduction.
1 – Seed Producing Plants
The first main kind of plants are those that reproduce with seeds. Within this group of plants there are two very different kinds of plants – those that have flowers and those that have cones.
Plants that produce seeds have special structures on them that need to come together (male and female parts) in order for the plant to be fertilized. If a plant gets fertilized then it can produce a seed.
After fertilization a tiny plant, called an embryo is formed inside the seed. The seed protects the embryo and stores food for it. Then if the seed lands in the right spot and the conditions are good, the embryo will grow into a new plant.
Angiosperms or Flowering Plants
One subset of the seed producing plants are those that grow flowers. The flowers attract pollinators which increase their chances of reproducing and make their reproduction more efficient.
Gymnosperms or Naked Seeds
The other subset of seed producing plants are the conifers or cone producing plants. Gymnosperms make seeds that are located inside of a cone, such as a pinecone.
2 – Seedless or Spore Producing Plants
These are the non-flowering plants and include mosses, liverworts, and ferns.
Spore producing plants have a very different reproductive strategy than the seed producing plants. Remember the seed producing plants need to be fertilized and have both a male and female part. In contrast to this, the spore producing plants simply send out spores, which are one or a few cells.
Spores differ from seeds since they are not protected and they don’t store any food. This makes it a bit harder for each spore to grow into a new plant. However, if the spore lands in the right spot it can grow into a new plant.