Plant Life Cycle: An Overview

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A living thing’s life cycle is like its life’s story. The plant’s life cycle describes how it grows and changes from a tiny sapling to an adult tree throughout its life. It is known as a cycle because when a living thing’s life ends, a new living being’s life starts from the beginning all over again. Plants are also considered living things, and for survival, they reproduce and grow. They perform a cycle of life – known as plant life cycle.

Plants cycle begins with the germination of a seed to the reproduction of a new plant seed. This entire process goes through multiple stages. In this article, you will come to know how a plant performs its life cycle from seed formation, growing to seedling, growth of plant and reproduction process. This life cycle in the plant continues.

Different Stages of Plant Life Cycle

Plants are living things like animals and humans and have a life cycle. Plants’ life cycle describes the different stages of life of the plant, from a tiny seed to a mature plant. Other plants have slightly different processes, and the time every step takes differs from one plant to another according to its type.

Plant Life Cycle – Seeds

The seeds can be considered the baby of the plant. Different plants can have seeds of different sizes and shapes, but they all have the outer covering known as a seed coat. The seed coat is a tough protective layer that covers the seed and protects it from damage. When a seed is planted, its life cycle begins. When the seed is sown, it needs nutrients, water, and sunlight to grow and become an adult plant. 

Plant Life Cycle – Germination

The second process is known as germination. It begins when the seed receives the right amount of oxygen, water, nutrients from the soil, and sunlight. Some plants prefer lots of sunlight, while others want just a tiny amount of the sun. Some of the plants need lots of water, while some others like it drier. Consequently, the conditions must suit the seed’s needs before germination.

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In germination, the roots push through the seed coating and grow into the soil. There are few root hairs on the roots, which absorb water and nutrients from the soil to feed the baby plant. Then, the stem pushes its way out of the soil, and a tiny little plant emerges. 

Plant Life Cycle – Seedling

The young plant that comes from the soil after germination is called a seedling. It starts growing towards the sunlight. As long as the seedling gets the correct amount of sunshine, water, and food, it will continue to grow larger and more robust. 

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The seedling receives its food from the soil and the sunlight. The roots get nutrients from the soil, while the leaves get nutrients from the sunlight. The plant’s leaves contain a green pigment known as chlorophyll. This green pigment uses sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to produce energy for the plant by the process of photosynthesis.

Plant Life Cycle – Adult Plant

The plant grows until it becomes a mature or an adult plant. Its roots get deeper into the ground, and it makes flowers. A mature plant has leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and fruits. The roots get nutrients and water from the soil, and the branch carries these nutrients and water to the plant. The leaves create energy through the process of photosynthesis.

The flower of the plant helps reproduce new plants. Flowers have the stamen that produces pollen, which the stigma receives. The petals of the flower are usually bright and colorful. The beautiful petals attract insects, which assist with the pollination process.

Plant Life Cycle – Pollination

The process of pollen transfer from one plant’s stamen to the stigma of another is called pollination. During pollination, the pollen grains are picked from an anther, the male part of a flower, and transferred to the female part called the stigma. The grains of pollen needs to be transferred from the same species of flower.

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Butterflies, bees, and other insects get attracted to the flowers by their colorful petals. The bees and butterflies drink the nectar from the flower. Some pollen sticks to their body and legs when they land on the flower to drink. When the insects fly to different plants to drink more nectar, this pollen is transferred to the ovules in the stigma of the other plant. When the ovules get pollinated, they become seeds. 

The pollination process begins when the grains of pollen from the respective flowers land on the stigma and form a pollen tube with the style length, which connects both the stigma and ovary. Once the pollen tube is completed, the pollen grain begins the transmission of transmitting sperm cells from the grain to the ovary.

Later, the fertilization process in plants will occur when the sperm cells reach the ovary and egg cells. The seed is then released from the parent plant, allowing it to grow into a plant and continue the reproductive cycle with pollination.

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All flowering plants rely entirely on the pollination method for reproduction. There are two different types of pollination, namely self-pollination and cross pollination.

Plant Life Cycle – Self Pollination

It is the primary type of pollination because it includes a single flower. Self-pollination occurs when the grains of pollen fall directly from the anther into the flower’s stigma.

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This process is relatively fast and straightforward, which leads to a reduction in genetic diversity as the sperm and egg cells and sperm of the flower share some genetic information.

Advantages of Self-pollination

  • Self-pollination ensures the elimination of recessive characters.
  • The purity of the race is maintained since there is no diversity in the genes.
  • Significantly less wastage of the pollen grain as compared to cross-pollination.
  • No external factors like water, wind and other pollinating agents are involved.
  • It ensures that even a smaller quantity of produced pollen grains from plants has a reasonable success rate in pollination.

Disadvantages  Self-pollination

The major disadvantage of self-pollination is there is no mixing up of genes. Due to this, the vitality and vigor of the race are reduced, and the immunity to diseases is reduced in the resultant offspring.

Plant Life Cycle – Cross-Pollination

 It is a complex type of pollination that allows the transfer of pollen grains from the anther of the flower into the stigma of another flower. This method increases genetic diversity as different flowers will share and combine their genetic information to create unique offspring.

Advantages Of Cross-pollination

  • The produced seeds are good in vigor and vitality.
  • All unisexual plants can reproduce through the process of cross-pollination.
  • The recessive characters in the lineage get eliminated due to genetic recombination.
  • This process improves the offspring’s immunity to diseases and other environmental factors.
  • Cross-pollination introduces new genes into a sequence of species, mainly due to the fertilization between genetically different gametes.

Disadvantages Of Cross-pollination

  • There is a significant wastage of pollen grains in cross-pollination.
  • Due to genetic recombination during meiosis in cross-pollination, there are chances of additions of unwanted characteristics and eliminations of good qualities in offspring.

Plant Life Cycle – Seed Dispersal

Finally, the new seeds get dispersed and spread away to new places, and the plant life cycle continues. Seeds can spread in several ways. The wind helps the seeds to travel further and increases the area in which the plant can be found. Some animals eat the seeds and spread them by moving around and defecating in different regions. Humans can also help to spread seeds by planting them in the garden.

After the death of the mature plants, their life cycle ends, but they have given new life to so many other plants of their kind. The old plant continues to provide energy to other plants and organisms after it dies. The roots, leaves, stems, and other tissues offer nutrients to the soil. In this way, other plants find the nutrients they need to grow from seedlings to mature plants.

Plants that live and keep on making new seeds every spring and summer are called Perennials. Plants that get mature and die every season are called Annuals. Some flowers colorful and have fragrance to attract butterflies and insects towards them. This helps in pollination.

Summary

Every plant has a life cycle. All plants take birth, grow, and reproduce, and this life cycle continues. The plants grow and reproduce and go through a cyclic process of life. The life cycle in plant begins with the germination of a seed. The seed grows into a seedling, then grows into a mature plant, producing seeds through reproduction, and a new life cycle restart again.

The life cycle of plants can also be called as alternation of generation. In this article, we will discuss the life cycles of plants. The life cycle in plants is a series of stages, from the germination of the seed to the completion of reproduction of that plant. It begins with seed germination, seedling, growth of the plant, and production of new seeds. The life cycle pattern in plants is known as alternation of generation.

Read related topics like soil erosion, causes of soil erosion, reproduction in plants, and more.

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