MadSci Network: Botany

Re: Do ALL plants come from seeds?

Date: Fri Apr 6 18:46:00 2001
Posted By: Eric Biddinger, Staff, 4-H/Youth Extension Educator, St. Joseph Extension
Area of science: Botany
ID: 986563808.Bt

That is a very good question, Lori!

The answer is no, not all plants come from seeds.  While many plants do 
produce seeds, there are many that do not.  Also, the seeds from some 
plants take a long time or need certain conditions to sprout making them 
difficult to work with.  And some plants do produce seeds, but there are 
easier ways to grow it!  Let me give you some examples...

English Ivy is a really neat plant.  It doesn't flower (and seeds come from 
flowers).  But there is a really easy way to make a new plant.  Just cut a 
stem off and put the end in a glass of water.  Roots will grow in just a 
few days!

How about a potato?  It flowers and produces seed, but it is much easier 
just to put a chunk of potato in the ground and let it grow!  Lillies, 
tulips, and other flowers that grow from bulbs are also examples of this.

Using science we can use tiny pieces of roots and leaves to grow whole new 
plants.  These tiny pieces are often grown in test tubes until they are big 
enough to be put in a pot.  This method is called micropropagation 
and allows us to get a whole bunch of plants really fast.  So even if a 
plant grows from seed, we might be able to grow it another way as well!!

I hope I answered your question!

Eric Biddinger
Educator, 4-H/Youth
Purdue Cooperative Extension

David Hershey, MadSci Moderator, adds:

There are also thousands of species of seedless plants that reproduce via 
spores. Seedless nonvascular plants are  mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. 
Seedless vascular plants include ferns, horsetails or scouring rushes, whisk 
ferns (genus Psilotum), club mosses (genus Lycopodium), quillworts (genus 
Isoetes) and spike mosses (genus Selaginella). 

Seedless Vascular Plants

Seedless Plants

Seedless Vascular Plants

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