Q:

What is the function of a flower's style?

A:

In plants, the style is the long, slender stalk that connects the stigma to the ovary. The stigma is where the pollen is deposited, and the ovary is at the bottom of the style and houses the plant's ovules, which contain the egg cells. The function of the style is to check compatibility and judge whether the pollen that lands on the flower can fertilize the plant.

Pollen with male genetic information lands on the flower’s stigma and is secured there due to the stickiness of the stalk. As the pollen germinates on the stigma, it creates a pollen tube, which is used to burrow through the length of the style. The pollen creates a tunnel from the stigma to the ovary.

When the pollen tube reaches the ovary, two sperm cells are released and travel down the pollen tube to the ovary. This sperm then fertilizes the eggs that are waiting in the ovule. After this fertilization, the ovule develops into the seed of the plant. If uneaten, this results in the creation of another plant of the same species.

The style is extremely important during the fertilization process, because this is not only the location where the pollen tube forms but also the checkpoint that stops incompatible pollen from penetrating the ovary.


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