What would nature be like if trees didn't have flowers? The forests and glens would all be decked in varying shades of green - that wouldn't be so bad, provided we hadn't been exposed to the multicolored, multi-scented extravaganza of flowers! However, knowing flowers as they are, it is very difficult to imagine a world without them! I mean, isn't it so much better for the harrowed lover to have such a wide choice of bouquets to choose from for appeasing the displeasure of one's lady-love or making up after a lovers' tiff? Besides being the most useful instrument in Cupid's armory, flowers are also used to convey a lot of other sentiments such as sympathy, condolence, for expressing joy at someone's good fortune, for symbolizing mourning, for conveying peace and harmony, etc.
Well, well, mushy melodrama apart, flowers have a very important role to play in nature's plan - carry out the plant reproduction cycle. As plant lifeforms evolved on Earth, reproduction from seeds became the major norm. These seed bearing plants were further divided into two categories - gymnosperms and angiosperms (the former being non flowering plants and the latter being flower-bearing plants). That being said, let's take a quick look at some interesting and useful angiosperm facts.
Random Facts about Angiosperms
- Let's begin this tour of interesting facts about angiosperms with when it all began. Angiosperms came into being some 240 - 200 million years ago when they diverged from gymnosperms, their evolutionary predecessors!
- In fact, the reproductive organs of angiosperms are a modified, more advanced version of gymnosperms. In gymnosperms, the seeds are not encased within a floral structure (gymnosperm = gymnospermos which is Greek for "naked seeds") while in angiosperms, the unfertilized seeds are contained within the ovaries of the flowers. Post fertilization, these ovaries become engorged and fleshy, becoming the fruits that contain the germ-containing fertilized seeds that are ready for germination on striking suitable soil environment after getting appropriately dispersed.
- The flowers of angiosperms are the reproductive units and they may vary sexually. While some plants have separate male and females flowers, others may have male and female reproductive organs within the same flower. Still other plants can have both male and female flowers on the same plant while some species may have separate male and female plants depending upon the sexuality of the flowers that they grow.
- Although they appeared way later than all other plant forms, angiosperms are the dominant plant varieties populating Earth today, with gymnosperms counting as close seconds.
- Angiosperms are more dependent upon humans and other animals for pollination and dispersal of seeds than any other variety. Both the flowers and fruits are largely useful to humans while a lot of animals, insects and birds feed on the fruits and nectar of flowers. This way, the pollens and seeds reach their destinations carried by bipedal, quadrupedal and avian carriers.
- Apart from constituting the majority of wild growing plant population on Earth, angiosperms are, incidentally, also the most cultivated plant forms by humans. Don't believe me? Well, check out all cereal crops - they are all flowering plants!
- Flowering plants form an extremely important part of Earth's ecology as an amazingly huge number of insects feed on the nectar of flowers. These insects are, in turn, eaten by various birds and animals. Therefore, flowering plants play the role of the first link of the food chain!
- Angiosperms are further classified as monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants. Cotyledons are the first leaves - the seed leaves - that a plant grows upon germination.
- The female reproductive organs of an angiosperm are the stigma, style and the ovary which are collectively known as the carpel. The male reproductive organs include the filaments and anthers which are collectively known as the stamen. The pollens produced by the stamen go on to fertilize the ovules contained inside the ovary.
- The life cycle of a typical angiosperm involves pollination, fertilization, formation of fruit and seeds and dispersal of the seeds.
- Angiosperms flourish over a wide variety of geographic areas having a large diversity of climatic conditions. Today, there exist over 400 families of angiosperms classified into about 250,000 species!
I hope you found the above angiosperm facts information interesting as well as resourceful. I don't know about you but I am mighty glad that nature came up with the idea of adding frills to the reproductive paraphernalia of botanical life forms! Besides striking interdependence upon zoological and botanical life, flowers also double up as nature's very own ornament of interior décor! Don't you agree?