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Stamens of an Hippeastrum with prominent anthers carrying pollen

The stamen (plural stamina or stamens, from Latin stamen meaning "thread of the warp") is the male organ of a flower. Each stamen generally has a stalk called the filament (from Latin filum, meaning "thread"), and, on top of the filament, an anther (from Ancient Greek anthera, feminine of antheros "flowery," from anthos "flower"), and pollen sacs, called microsporangia. The development of the microsporangia and the contained haploid gametophytes, (called pollen-grains) is closely comparable with that of the microsporangia in gymnosperms or heterosporous ferns. The pollen is set free by the opening (dehiscence) of the anther, generally by means of longitudinal slits, but sometimes by pores, as in the heath family (Ericaceae), or by valves, as in the barberry family (Berberidaceae). It is then dropped, or carried by some external agent — wind, water or some member of the animal kingdom — onto the receptive surface of the carpel of the same or another flower, which is thus pollinated. It is the part that contains the sperm cells.

Stamens in context

Typical flowers have six stamens inside a perianth (the petals and sepals together), arranged in a whorl around the carpel (pistil). But in some species there are many more than six present in a flower (see, for example, the spider tree flower, below). Collectively, the stamens are called an androecium (from Greek andros oikia: man's house). The anthers are bilocular, i.e. they have two locules. Each locule contains a microsporangium. The tissue between the locules and the cells is called the connective. In an immature, unopened flower bud, the filaments are still short. Their function is then to transport nutrients to the developing pollen. They start to lengthen once the bud opens.

The stamens of flowering plants contain often also microstructures lining the locules. Orbicules or Ubisch bodies are tiny sporopollenin particles that originate as lipid droplets within the tapetal cytoplasm.

Contents

Descriptive terms

Scanning electron microscope image of Penta lanceolata anthers, with pollen grains on surface

The anther can be attached to the filament in two ways:

  • basifixed: attached at its base to the filament; this gives rise to a longitudinal dehiscence (opening along its length to release pollen)
  • versatile: attached at its center to the filament; pollen is then released through pores (poricidal dehiscence).

Stamens can be connate (fused or joined in the same whorl):

  • monadelphous: fused into a single, compound structure
  • diadelphous: joined partially into two androecial structures
  • synandrous: only the anthers are connate (such as in the Asteraceae)

Stamens can also be adnate (fused or joined from more than one whorl):

  • epipetalous: adnate to the corolla
  • didynamous: occurring in two pairs of different length
  • tetradynamos: occurring as a set of six filaments with two shorter ones
  • exserted: extending beyond the corolla
  • included: not extending from the corolla.

Sexual reproduction in plants

Stamen with pollinia and its anther cap. Phalaenopsis orchid.

In the typical flower (that is, the majority of flowering plant species) each flower has both a pistil and stamens. Bisexual plants are named hermaphrodites or perfect flowers.

In some species, however, the flowers are unisexual with only either male or female parts (monoecious = on the same plant; dioecious = on different plants). A flower with only male reproductive parts is called androecious. A flower with only female reproductive parts is called gynoecious.

A flower having only functional stamens is called a staminate flower.

An abortive or rudimentary stamen is called a staminodium or staminode, such as in Scrophularia nodosa.

The pistil and the stamens of orchids are fused into a column. The top part of the column is formed by the anther. This is covered by an anther cap.

Gallery

References


Simple English

File:Amaryllis stamens
Stamens with prominent anthers carrying pollen

The stamen is the male reproductive organ of a flower. It produces the pollen. The stamen has two parts: the anther, and the stalk.

The anther contains microsporangia. Each microsporangium contains pollen mother cells. These undergo meiosis, and produce pollen grains, which contain the male gametes (sperm).

The pollen grains are actually haploid male gametophytes.[1]

The pollen is released by the opening of the anther. The pollen is carried by some agent (wind, or some animal) to the receptive surface of the carpel of the same or another flower. This process is known as pollination. After successful pollination, the pollen grain (immature microgametophyte) completes its development by growing a pollen tube and undergoing mitosis to produce two male gametes.

File:Mature flower
Stamens in context

References

  1. This is to do with alternation of generations. All plants go through a cycle with a haploid gametophyte alternating with a diploid sporophyte. In the case of flowering plants the gametophyte stage is very small and brief.







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