Name: Mary E.
My fourth grade class is studying plant reproduction and
have stumped me with a question. I hope you can help. Why do plants
that reproduce through division of bulbs or corms also have complete
flowers? Is fertilization necessary for the bulb to divide? Thanks!
Two methods of reproduction can be advantageous to plant
survival. Fertilization is not necessary for the bulb to divide.
Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.
Vegetative reproduction like division, usually is a supplement to seed
reproduction, not a replacement for it - evolution has produced another way
for the plant to be successful in its environment. Fertilization is not
necessary for the bulb to divide, and the new plant is a clone of the old
one. Sexual reproduction by way of flowers creates a new genetic mix, and
thus a whole "new" plant.
It is possible for some organisms to reproduce without others of their
species nearby. Asexual reproduction creates genetically identical offspring
however. This is ok for the mostpart, but it is very important to maintain a
level of genetic diversity in any population so that in the event of
environmental change, there are members that can survive. Seed production is
a means of creating genetically different offspring and keeping diversity
high. So in some plants, there are two ways to reproduce.
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Update: June 2012