What is pollen?
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Pollen consists of tiny grains, each with a tough coat that is often patterned with characteristic ridges and spikes. When inhaled, the fine pollen causes allergies such as hay fever in some susceptible people. Pollen can be found in fossil deposits, making it possible to identify the plants that were living then - even though no actual plant fossils may be found.
How are flowers pollinated?
Pollination takes place when a pollen grain is deposited on the tip of a pistil. It then grows a long tube down inside the pistil that fuses with the egg cell and completes the process of fertilization.
Sometimes pollen is blown by the wind, and a single pollen grain is accidentally deposited on the pistil. In other flowers, insects do the same job, carrying pollen stuck to their bodies as they travel from flower to flower. In some plants, the flower is modified to force the insects feeding on nectar to brush past the stamens, collecting a large amount of pollen on their bodies as they pass by.
Millions of microscopic pollen grains are produced by a flower. Pollen grains have a pattern, allowing the plant to be identified.
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Date Added: 15 December '11
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