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Examples of Asexual Reproduction in Plants

Updated November 21, 2016

Asexual plant reproduction is any manner of reproduction that does not involve meiosis or fertilisation. In flowering plants, meiosis ordinarily involves a staman, the male part of a flower, and the pistol, the female part. The staman provides pollen that sticks to the stigma on the tip of the pistol. The numerous varieties of asexual reproduction do not require these sexual parts.

Rhizomes

Rhizomes are stems that grow laterally underground and grow new plants from joints called notes. Cattails, grasses and sedges reproduce asexually through rhizomes.

Tubers

The underground stem of a rhizome swells into a tuber that has buds that will grow into a into new plant. A potato is an example. What are commonly called the "eyes" of a potato are its buds. New plants grow from these eyes, a form of asexual reproduction.

Stolons

Stolons are runners that spread along the top of the ground. At points along the runners called nodes, roots develop that grow down into the soil. The result is a new plant reproduced asexually. The strawberry plant (Fragaria --- ananassa) reproduces in this manner.

Bulbs

The bulbs of onion, chives and lilies among other plants spend the winter in the form of a bulb. Fleshy leaves surround the short stem of a bulb. Each spring, a shoot grows from the nutrients stored in bulb leaves.

Corms

Plants can reproduce asexually through a corm that looks like a bulb but has no storage leaves. A corm stores nutrients in a stem that swells. The crocus (Crocus sp) reproduces by a corm. So does the gladiolus (Gladiolus sp.)

Apomixis

Plant geneticists believe a rare form of asexual reproduction called apomixis may have evolved to prevent some plants from going extinct. In this form of asexual reproduction, an egg develops from female flowers without being fertilised. The dandelion reproduces asexually both by apomixis and by spreading roots.

Plantlets

A few plants including Kalanchoe and duck weed, an aquatic plant, grow miniature plants on the edges of their leaves. These tiny plantlets drop off and grow into mature plants.

Grafting

Gardeners can reproduce plants asexually by grafting a stem or twig called a scion onto the rootstock, sometimes called the stock, of a compatible plant. Different varieties of fruit may be grafted onto the stock of one related tree. Each grafted limb retains the genetic characteristics of its parent plant.

Roots

Some plants have spreading roots that grow the stems of new plants. Spreading roots are different from rhizomes that are underground stems. Both aspen trees and poplar trees reproduce themselves from spreading roots.

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