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How to work with Reproduction and Cell Division

Reproduction is vital for all living things. Over the years, plants have adapted and evolved in some very unusual ways in order to reproduce. They will even trick and trap insects and other animals to ensure they get their way!

The skunk cabbage grows in very wet and cold areas in New Jersey, and blooms early in the season. So it can survive in these conditions, it can heat itself up, a process called thermogenesis, thus melting the snow around it. In addition, it emits a smell like rotting flesh, attracting bees and insects to transfer pollen between plants. The Axinaea flower uses a very different method. Sugar-filled yellow berries are attached to the pollen-producing stamens. Irresistible to birds, they feed on these berries. However, as soon as they start to eat them, pollen explodes into their faces. The anthers are full of air, and as soon as a beak squeezes them,  the air is forced out, blowing the pollen into the bird’s face. The bird will then carry the pollen onto the next plant – where it can pollinate the ovum.

Other plants are much more scary. The Jack-in-the-pulpit is a large flower with a hood on the top, which makes it dark inside the flower. This plant has male and female flowers. Bees will venture inside the male flower for pollen, getting covered in it as they fly around in the dark. However, there is a way for them to escape through a hole at the bottom of the flower. The bee can then fly to a female flower and transfer the pollen. Unfortunately for them, the female flower has no escape route, and the bee is trapped and dies inside!

GCSE scientists – you need to be able to explain the difference between asexual and sexual reproduction and the different types of cell division. For help, try our new guide “How to work with Reproduction and Cell Division”.   As always there are questions to try, and answers to check your understanding.

Click on the picture below to see the guide.

Reproduction and Cell Division GCSE

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