What Is the Function of the Anther on a Flower?

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The flower is the reproductive part of the plant. Flowers create pollen and attract pollinators to transport this pollen between plants. The transfer of pollen allows the plant to develop seeds that create a new generation of infant plants. The anthers on the flowers are an integral part of the flower's structure that create the pollen.

Characteristics

  • The anthers rise high from the flower's center on long filaments. Different flower species have varying numbers of anthers, but most have five to six anthers that circle the center of the flower. Botanists call the filaments and anthers together the stamen of the flower. Anthers are grainy pods on the ends of the filaments that range in color from light yellow to deep red.

Flower Anatomy

  • The male organs are the anthers and the filaments, which together are the stamen. The female organs of the flower are the pistils. A flower may have one or more pistils, which consist of the stigma, style and ovary. The stigma is the bulb at the tip of the style that rises from the center of the flower like the filaments. The stigma is sticky, but the anthers are grainy and covered with pollen. The ovary is located at the bottom of the style inside the center of the flower.

Purpose

  • Anthers hold the pollen that contain the sperm necessary for reproduction. The long filaments hold the anthers up from the center of the flower to increase the chances that a visiting pollinator will brush against the anthers and collect the pollen. When the pollinator travels to the next plant, the pollen falls from its body onto the female organs of the flower. The pollen then sends sperm into ovary to fertilize the waiting egg. Without the anthers producing the sperm and the pollen, the flower cannot reproduce.

Factors

  • Most flowers are hermaphrodites, containing both male and female organs, but some flowers are only male or only female. Anthers and filaments are absent on female flowers. When a flower receives insufficient nutrients or light, the flower's anthers may develop poorly with small pods or few pollen grains. Many hybrid flower species are infertile because the cross-breeding results in anthers that cannot produce viable sperm cells.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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