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Plant Life Cycles and Reproduction



The life cycles of major plant groups share some similarities, but each is unique. All plants are in the kingdom Plantae, which consists of eukaryotic organisms that undergo photosynthesis. There are four major groups of land plants: bryophytes (mosses), pteridophytes (ferns), gymnosperms (cone-bearing plants), and angiosperms (flowering plants). Each plant group consists of species that share similar traits and life cycles. The stages of each group's life cycle are unique, but all plants are autotrophs, making their own food.

At A Glance

  • The kingdom Plantae contains four major groups of land plants: bryophytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.
  • Plant life cycles exhibit alternation of generations, having one multicellular stage with two sets of chromosomes and one multicellular stage with only one set of chromosomes.
  • The life cycles of bryophytes are governed by gametophytes.
  • Ferns have a life cycle dependent on spore production.
  • Gymnosperm life cycles include the production of seeds without coverings.
  • The angiosperm life cycle involves diverse methods of producing seeds that are enclosed in tissues.
  • Flowers provide the location for seed production in angiosperms.
  • Pollination is the means by which flowering plants are fertilized. Angiosperms undergo double pollination, meaning two sperm cells are required for fertilization to occur.
  • Seeds must be carried away from the parent plant in order to have the best chance of reaching maturity, and there are various mechanisms for dispersing seeds.
  • Asexual reproduction produces offspring plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant.