Picture yourself eating a crisp apple.  You eat the fruit around the core, and then toss it in the trash.  Did you know that the fruit's job is to keep the apple seeds that live in the core safe?  Those apple seeds, if planted and watered, can make a new apple tree.  By the time you eat that tasty apple, the apple tree has done a lot of work to make the fruit and seeds.

Good all the way down to the core.


Seeds and fruit are born from a plant's flowers.  If you look in the very center of a flower, you will find a long, thin tube shaped like an upside-down baseball bat.  It is narrow at the top and wider at the bottom.  This upside-down baseball bat is the pistil, the girl part of a flower that catches pollen to make seeds.  The very top of the tube is sticky to catch the pollen that carries the boy plant cells.


Once the pistil catches the boy plant cells, the boy cells go down a tube to the bottom of the pistil.  Down there, the boy cells meet up with the plant's girl cells to form seeds.  The plant's girl cells are ovules.  Each flower has one or more girl cells that can become seeds.  Remember, your apple has more than one seed.

They call me Pistil Pete.


A flower's ovules live in the very bottom of the pistil.  The ovary is the part of the flower that holds the ovules and becomes the fruit.  Once the seeds form, the ovary protects the seeds.  Some fruits are juicy.  This will make animals want to eat them, which helps spread the seeds.  Other fruits are hard.  This keeps the seeds safe until the fruit rots and breaks open.  You are eating the ovary of the flower when you bite into that tasty apple or juicy watermelon.


Plants need help getting their boy and girl cells together.  Animals can help with this by bringing the pollen from one flower to another.  For example, when a bee lands on a flower to get food from the flower, it also picks up the pollen.  When the bee flies to another flower with the same color or smell, it brings the pollen with the boy cells from the first flower to the second flower.  When the boy and girl plant cells come together, they can form seeds.


You know that flowers come in many different colors and have different smells.  The smells and colors of flowers attract animals such as bees, bugs, birds and bats.  They are like signs that tell the animals "Find food here!"  For example, flowers that smell sweet and have purple or ultraviolet colors attract bees.  The pollination syndrome is the traits of the flower, like smell and color, which draw certain animals to them. 

So many flowers, so few bees.


When you eat a watermelon, you likely eat the juicy red fruit and spit out the seeds.  Those seeds began as ovules in the plant's pistil.  After an animal brought pollen with boy plant cells to the flower, the seeds formed.  Those seeds are an important part of the plant's life cycle.  When they are planted, watered and warmed by the sun, they grow into new plants "" and more tasty fruit.

REFERENCES:

Biology4Kids. (2013). "Flower Structure "" Plant Slideshow." Biology4Kids. http://www.biology4kids.com/extras/show_plants/12.html

Missouri Botanical Garden. (2009). "Biology of Plants: Pollination." Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/pollination.html

Biology4Kids. (2013). "Plant Reproduction "" They'll Make More." Biology4Kids.

http://www.biology4kids.com/files/plants_reproduction.html