Q:

Where does fertilization take place in a flower?

A:

Quick Answer

Fertilization in a flower takes place in the ovary. Pollen lands on the female part of the flower, then it develops a pollen tube and burrows down to the ovary, where it fertilizes what ultimately becomes the seed and fruit of the plant.

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Full Answer

The male part of the flower is called the stamen, and that is what carries pollen. Pollen can be transferred by wind, animals or insects, and most plants develop adaptations that encourage local animals to come to them and transfer their pollen. The female part of the flower has three parts: the stigma, the style and the ovary. The end of the stigma is sticky, which helps the pollen stay in place until the pollen tube is strong enough to hold it in place. The pollen tube burrows down the style until it reaches the ovary, which contains the ovules.

The sperm are released into the ovary, where they compete to fertilize the ovule. Most flowering plants contain both male and female parts and lack the ability to pollinate themselves, though there are exceptions to both rules. Cross-pollination, or flowers that are pollinated by other flowers, produce more resilient offspring. Because of this, the anthers are positioned to make self-pollination difficult to accomplish in flowering plants that can pollinate themselves.

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