Real Family Holiday - FAMILY ACTIVITY: Seeds and Fruit

FAMILY ACTIVITY: Seeds and Fruit

What seeds and fruit can you find growing in your local area?

Seeds are formed in the female part of the flower after the ovule has been fertilised by pollen.

A pollen grain lands on the stigma when the flower is pollinated (e.g. by a bee). A tube grows down through the style to the ovary and into the ovule (known as the pollen tube). When the male pollen and female ovule join, the ovule is fertilised. The fertilised ovule develops into a seed. This seed may eventually grow into a new plant.

The ovary protects the seed as it develops. The combination of fertilised ovule and ovary is called the fruit. In scientific terms, the word 'fruit' has a slightly different meaning to its everyday usage. As well as familiar edible fruits (like apples, bananas and lemons) acorns, holly berries and sycamore 'helicopters' are all classed as fruits.

Plants need to spread (or disperse) their seeds some distance from the parent plant, so that the new plant is not in competition (for light, water and mineral salts).

Not all seeds land in a suitable place to grow. Some seeds do not even germinate, while others will die young, before the new plant is able to make seeds of its own. To overcome this problem, plants usually produce large numbers of seeds to make sure that some survive.

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