Irrespective of the type of flowering plant, the season it fertilizes or germinates in, or the number of years it may take before it bears seeds or sprouts, most flowering plants (with exceptions) follow a simple basic pattern. They all go through a series of changes from birth to growth to reproduction and then to dispersal and germination of seeds. This is essentially the life cycle of a flowering plant.
A detailed look at this study will explain the process in a more simplified way.
1. Seed Germination :
Seeds break open to give rise to the new sapling. It is dependent on the soil, water and optimum temperature. All these elements play a major part in seed germination to give rise to a new plant. If one or more of these elements is absent, the seed, even though it may germinate to a new sapling, will die in no time.
Based on water, sunlight, nutrients from the soil and temperature, the new sapling will grow into a big plant. This again is dependent on the amount of water, sunlight, and external favourable influences. If there is too much hindrance like lack of sunlight, overshadowing by tall plants around, choking due to lack of soil space or weeds or brambles, the plant will not grow in a healthy manner.
3. Reproductive Stage:
When the plant has reached maturity, it will produce flowers. The flowers are the reproductive organs of the plant. Some plant flowers contain both male and female organs while some plant flowers are sex specific. The male organs called the Stamens release pollen while the female organ called the Carpel is responsible for the formation of the ovule(s).
Bees and many other birds and flying insects help spread pollen from one flower to another. This causes the pollen to merge with the ovules to produce seeds. Wind is also one main element which affects pollination, taking with it pollen from one place to another although the plants may not be in close proximity at times. Pollination results in fertilization, where the pollen joins with the ovule to form the seed. This then results with the death of the flower or the formation of the fruit. with the seed(s).
5. Dispersal of seeds:
The seeds are embeded in the fruit and are dispersed by various means. Often, with the wind, they are dispersed as far away as possible showing nature’s way of making sure that clusters of seeds do not germinate together in one place only. The process starts all over again once the seed reaches the soil at Step 1.
Seasons, weather conditions, type and species of flowering plant, external elements such as light, nutrients, water, etc, play a part in determining the time span between each stage, but essentially this kind of a ‘life cycle of a flowering plant’ is observed.