From Seed to Seed:
Plant Science for K-8 Educators


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H. Asexual Reproduction

Because they are rooted in one place and often rely on insect pollinators, plants have limitations when it comes to finding suitable "mates" for sexual reproduction. As a result, some plants have evolved other, non-sexual, ways of reproducing.

In a nutshell, asexual propagation is simply any method of producing offspring that does not involve the union of gametes. (To help distinguish the terms sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction, from now on we will use the term asexual propagation in place of asexual reproduction.) Asexual propagation can be as familiar and simple as rooting an ivy cutting in a jar of water on the windowsill, or as mysterious as tissue culture, a process that takes place only in a sterile laboratory environment.

In essence, however, these two extreme examples produce similar results. One of the most important things to remember about asexual propagation is that it produces offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant.


Let's look at the structures involved, as well as the importance of asexual propagation to plant populations in nature.


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