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Flowering Principles

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Success in Seed Production

Flowering to produce seeds is used by all plants around the world. Therefore, flowering is a successfull way to sexually reproduce in the many environments in which plants grow. Success is relative however, and many factors can influence the degree to which male and female gametes get together to make seeds. Answer the following questions and you will get an idea of the nature of some of these factors that influence the synchrony and status of gamete production in the flower.

Question : A corn plant is flowering during a week when the highs are over 100° F. The ear that is harvested from this plant has about 100 seeds scattered around the ear rather than the 600 seeds that can potentially be produced. This observation indicates that the high temps...

A. damaged all the male gametes.
B. damaged most of the male gametes.
C. damaged all the female gametes.
D. Both A. and B.

Question : A soybean plant is flowering during a very hot day. A few days later all the flowers have fallen off the plant and no pods with seeds are developing. This observation indicates that the high temps...

A. damaged the plants reproductive structures.
B. forced the plant to self pollinate.
C. forced the plant to cross pollinate.
D. None of the above.

Question : If a female cottonwood tree is south of any male cottonwood trees that are within a mile. The female tree produces no seed that year. This observation indicates that...

A. high temps damaged the female gametes.
B. high temps damaged the male gametes.
C. when the male plants were flowering, winds were blowing hard from the south.
D. when the male plants were flowering, winds were blowing hard from the north.
Question : A sorghum plant is male sterile. This means it produces perfect flowers but the stamen is not able to produce viable pollen. This male sterile plant produces seed. This observation indicates that because of male sterility the plant…

A. cannot sexually reproduce.
B. must have been planted near a male-fertile sorghum plant.
C. is forced to cross pollinate rather than self pollinate.
D. Both B and C.

Question : A pearl millet plant has flowers in which the pistil matures and its stigma is receptive to pollen two days before the anthers mature and shed pollen in that flower. Because of the asynchrony in the male and female flower part development, a seed can develop in a pearl millet flower by cross pollination if...

A. a nearby flower is two days ahead in maturity.
B. a nearby flower is two days behind in maturity.
C. there are no other flowers nearby.
D. None of the above.

From the questions above, it can be seen that environmental conditions such as temperature and wind can influence the success of a male and female gamete coming together in a flower. The status of the flowering parts can also be controlled by genes which influence when or if a stamen or pistil is functional. Therefore, flowering can occur without a successful reproductive result.


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