Real, Leslie Department of Zoology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Meeuse, Bastiaan J. D. Department of Botany, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Last reviewed:March 2018
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- Self- and cross-pollination
- Flower attractants
- Animal pollinators
- Bird pollination
- Bat pollination
- Hawkmoth pollination
- Butterfly pollination
- Fly and beetle pollination
- Bee pollination
- Wind pollination
- Water pollination
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The transport of pollen grains from the plant parts that produce them to the ovule-bearing organs, or to the ovules (seed precursors) themselves. Pollination is a process that ensures the successful life cycle of plants. Without pollination, there would be no plant fertilization; thus, it is of crucial importance for the production of fruit crops and seed crops. In the pollination process, pollen (the small male reproductive bodies produced in the pollen sacs of seed plants; Fig. 1) is transferred to the female reproductive organs of a plant, thus facilitating fertilization. In gymnosperms (plants with naked seeds), including conifers and cycads, the pollen, usually dispersed by the wind, is simply caught by a drop of fluid excreted by each freely exposed ovule. In angiosperms (flowering plants), where the ovules are contained in the pistil, the pollen is deposited on the pistil's receptive end (the stigma), where it germinates. Pollination also plays an important part in plant-breeding experiments that are aimed at increasing crop production through the creation of genetically superior types. See also: Agricultural science (plant); Breeding (plant); Fertilization (plant); Flower; Palynology; Plant reproduction; Pollen; Seed; Seed germination
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