plant reproduction

Monique Reed monique at mail.bio.tamu.edu
Mon Jan 13 13:50:26 EST 2003


Yes, in some species there are separate male and female plants. 
"Separation distance" (to coint a phrase useless outside this thread :
-) ) depends on the mode of pollination.  It has to be as far as a
pollinating insect will go, or as far as water can carry pollen.  In
the case of wind-pollinated plants, it can be a very long distance
indeed.

Case in point:  College Station, TX is up to its ears in yaupon holly,
a species with separate female and male plants.  It's insect
pollinated.  Because there's so much around, nothing is out of bug
range and every single female will always have fruit, even if there
isn't a male in sight.  If it were a more uncommon species, some truly
isolated females might go unpollinated. 

Case in point:  Encephalartos woodii, a poor cycad with only a few
remaining specimens, all of them male.  Without any females, no
reproduction. Last time I checked the literature, they weren't having
much luck tissue culturing or vegetatively propagating this handsome
plant, but that may have changed by now.

Monique Reed

cra2 wrote:
> 
> Sorry to bother you, but I have a curiousity about sexual reproduction in
> plants and so far I've not been able to find an easy answer.
> Because I'm not a botanist myself, most of the websites I visit are over my
> head and I'm unable to "weed" out the answer I'm looking for.
> 
> Some plants have only male or female sex organs, right?
> These need a plant member of the opposite sex nearby in order to reproduce,
> right?  (a bee or the wind distributing the pollen, for example)
> 
> Does that mean that if I were to isolate a female plant (by moving it far
> enough away from any males for example), it would not be able to reproduce?
> 
> How far is far enough?  Do plants need a "mate" in the same yard?  Same
> neighborhood?  Same state?  Same country?
> 
> Thanks so much!
> cra2 "at" mindspring "dot" com



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