If you have paid attention in biology class, you have surely heard about the different parts of plants. It is quite clear that the plant world is immense. There are many different types of plants, each with its own characteristics. Well, some of them have reproductive organs. Although they do not use the same method to reproduce as we do, the basis is the same: they generate seeds with all the genetic information that will end up giving rise to a new living being. The stamens of a flower play a fundamental role in this process.
What are they? What do they do? Although many will have heard of this botanical term, not everyone will know how to answer these questions. That is why we are going to dedicate this article to explain what are the stamens of a flower, how are they classified and what are their functions. In short: Everything you need to know. In the event that you are interested in the subject and you are lovers of botany, I recommend that you continue reading, because it really is a basic concept in the world of vegetables.
Table of Contents
What are stamens and pistil?
As some of you may already know, in some plant species there are male flowers and others female. The latter have their own reproductive organ, called the pistil. It generally has an acorn-like shape and is usually found in the center of the flower. In the case of hermaphrodite flowers, that is, those that have both male and female organs, it is usually surrounded by stamens.
But what are the stamens of a flower? Well, if the pistil is the female organ, the stamens are the male organs. These are the carriers of the so-called pollen sacs. In them, pollen grains are created, essential for the reproduction and pollination of this type of plants. All the stamens of a flower form a group called androecium. It should be said that both angiosperms and gymnosperms have stamens, but their morphology is quite peculiar in both groups. However, we are interested in the stamens of the flowers, that is, of the angiosperms.
In this type of plants, the stamens have an anther, in which the pollen grains are created. Therefore, it is the fertile part of the male organ of the flower. This anther is usually made up of a total of two thecae, which are basically the pollen sacs. Each of the theca contains two microsporangia, which unite to form a single locule when the theca has reached maturity.
It should be noted that sterile stamens also exist. These are called staminodes and appear only in some flowers. They are usually well concealed and closely resemble normal stamens. They have different functions that are usually related to the striking function of the petals or the production of nectar. They may also simply represent a distinctive feature between species, as is the case in the genus pahiopedilum (orchids), for example. In addition, on some occasions they may have a structure similar to a non-functional anther. In these cases they are called anterodia.
How are stamens classified?
Once we are clear about what these flower organs are, it should be noted that there are different groups of them. The stamens of a flower can be classified into two large groups: connate and adnate. The former are characterized by these united or fused in the same spiral. Within this group, there are the following types:
- diadelphos: They are partially fused into two masculine structures.
- Monadelphos: They are fused into a single composite structure.
- Polyadelphia: They are fused into at least three masculine structures.
- Synanthereans: Only the anthers, as Asteraceae, are considered connate.
On the other hand we have the adnate group. In this case, the stamens are united or fused into several whorls, not just in one. Also here there are different types:
- Didinamos: They arise in a total of two pairs and are of different length.
- epipetals: They arise from the internal whorl belonging to the flower, also called the corolla, which is made up of the petals.
- Experts: They exceed the corolla.
- Inserts or included: They do not exceed the corolla.
- protruding: They are longer than the corolla.
- Tetradynamos: They arise in a group made up of six filaments, of which two are shorter than the others.
Function of the stamens of a flower
Now that we know what the stamens of a flower are and how they are classified, it is time to comment on their function. Well, as we have already mentioned before, these are the male organs of flowering plants. Therefore it is not surprising that its function is to reproduce the plant.
The stamens are responsible for produce and store pollen, which contains all the genetic information of the plant in question. Apart from its production and storage, these organs also help transport it to the ovary belonging to a female flower. This ensures that a seed, essential to be able to carry out its reproduction.
Another of the main functions of the stamens of a flower is that of attract vectors or pollinators. It is for this reason that they are usually, like the petals, quite striking. However, to the human eye they are not always so attractive. There are some flowers in which the stamens are somewhat difficult to identify, at least for us. But insects or birds can detect them without any problem.
In order to increase its ability to attract the attention of pollinators, some stamens even produce nectar. But what is this exactly? It is a liquid solution that contains a high level of amino acids, sugars and mineral ions, among other substances. This nutrient-rich mixture attracts many animals, thus greatly increasing the chances of successful reproduction of this plant, thanks to the pollination method.
In conclusion we can say that the stamens are vital organs for flowering plants. Without them it would not be possible to carry out a natural reproduction, without human intervention. So now you know: take care of them!