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How Are Flowers Useful to Us

  • Date Submitted: 03/16/2013 05:33 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 45.8 
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Why Are Flowers Important to the Earth?
Flowers play an integral role in the movement of the seasons, providing primary-produced sugars for insects, habitat for microorganisms, and seeds for propagation of plant species. A flower is the sexually reproducing organ of a plant, whereby genetics are intermixed and evolution can occur. All higher life forms, such as animals and humans, could not exist without flowers and the primary producers which first fix the sunlight into edible forms.
1. Flower parts and pollination
o Flowers consist of brightly colored petals to attract insects, the vectors of their pollen. Within the petals are the sexual organs, the pistil and the stamens. As an insect approaches the center of the flower to drink of the sugars (nectar) produced there, pollen from the stamens typically adhere to their bodies. At the same time, pollen from other plants of the same species may get transferred from the insect to the pistil of the plant, and the pollen grain may then fertilize the flower.
o After a pollen grain has been transferred from one plant to the pistil of another, of the same species, the pollen grain grows a pollen tube into the ovary beneath the pistil. Here the floral genetics are combined via the coupling of gametes, and seeds are born. Most plant species cannot self-pollinate, as this lessens diversity, and must be pollinated by another individual of the same species for fertilization to occur.
o Flowers are primary producers -- they manufacture simple sugars from photosynthesis. These sugars feed a whole variety of insects, from ants to butterflies, bees to beetles. Many insects are specialized to specific flowers, in a mutualism or obligatory symbiosis. Orchids, especially, have a very specific and integrated life-cycle with certain bees and wasps, as do certain types of fruit, such as the fig. In turn, these insects provide food for birds and secondary consumers. Flowers are as important to the earth as...


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