Fertilization Of Flowers

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FERTILIZATION OF FLOWERS. If we compare the flowers of different plants, we shall find almost infinite variety in structure, and this variation at first appears to follow no fixed laws; but as we study the matter more thoroughly, we find that these variations have a deep significance, and almost without exception have to do with the fertilization of the flower. In the simpler flowers, such as those of a grass, sedge, or rush among the monocotyledons, or an oak, hazel, or plantain, among dicotyledons, the flowers are extremely inconspicuous and often reduced to the simplest form. In such plants, the pollen is conveyed from the male flowers to the female by the wind, and to this end the former are usually placed above the latter so that these are dusted with the pollen whenever the plant is shaken by the wind. In these plants, the male flowers often outnumber the female enormously, and the pollen is produced in great quantities, and the stigmas are long and often feathery, so as to catch the pollen readily. This is very beautifully shown in many grasses. we see that the outer leaves of the flower become more conspicuous, and that this is often correlated with the development of a sweet fluid (nectar) in certain parts of the flower, while the wind-fertilized flowers are destitute of this as well as of odor.

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