Asexual Reproduction in Plants
Plants continue to grow throughout their lives.
The tips of their roots and stems contain growing areas called meristem.
Meristem is made up of unspecialized cells that undergo mitosis and cell division repeatedly.
Meristematic cells are cells that are created in the meristem.
Eventually these cells will specialize into the cells that make up the roots, the stems, and the leaves of the plant.
Meristematic cells will stay dormant until they are needed to repairs damaged structures.
Asexual reproduction occurs in plants when the meristematic cells in different plant structures (roots, stems, and leaves) are called to action.
Mitotic Cell division gives plants and other organisms the ability to reproduce asexually and repair themselves. Through asexual reproduction a new plant will have the same DNA as its parent.
Asexual reproduction can take other forms.
Cloning, for example, produces identical offspring from single cells or tissues. Using a cutting from a plant one can clone an exact copy of the parent plant.
A cutting is a “piece” of a stem that can be used to generate a new offspring.
Some plants have the ability to reproduce asexually from their roots (examples are: asparagus, dandelions, parsley, celery etc…). Others will regenerate from meristematic cells found in their stem. These cells divide to produce other cells that will mature develop into a new plant. Special stems called runners are used by some plants like mint and strawberries. New plants grow from the tips of these runners. The new plant growths can be transplanted elsewhere.
Reproduction by spores is another example of asexual reproduction in plants.
Image: Spores on the underleaf of a fern is an example of asexual reproduction.
- 1. Use the Internet to research the life cycle of spores
2. Research the life cycle of mushrooms