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Of all the times you’ve eaten popcorn, how many times have you actually stopped to think about what you’re eating? Popcorn is a seed in which the center of the endosperm has been turned inside out. Learn more about endosperms in this lesson.

Flowers & Seeds

Angiosperms are the only plants that produce flowers and fruits. Flowers are responsible for reproduction and will produce seeds protected by fruits. Seeds have three major parts: an embryo, or baby plant; an endosperm, or the baby plant’s food source; and a seed coat, which surrounds and protects the baby and its food.

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Before the three parts of a seed can develop, two things have to happen within the carpel, or female reproductive structure of a flower: pollination and double fertilization.

Pollination ; Double Fertilization

A pollen grain is a protective structure that contains sperm cells and is produced by the male reproductive part of a flower called the stamen. Pollination occurs when a pollen grain from one flower lands on the stigma, or sticky platform for catching pollen, of another flower’s carpel. Once pollination occurs, a pollen tube will develop from the pollen grain and grow down the style of a carpel to its ovary.An ovary contains at least one ovule. Inside an ovule, cells divide to produce an egg and two other cells called polar nuclei.

Two sperm cells are released into an ovule from a pollen tube. One sperm cell fuses with the egg to produce a zygote, or first cell of a baby plant and the second sperm cell fuses with the two polar nuclei, and the whole structure divides to produce the endosperm. The process of producing the zygote and endosperm is double fertilization.

Seeds and Fruits

In addition, one ovule will develop into a seed.

The zygote will divide many times to produce an embryo. The embryo is nourished by the endosperm, which allows it to grow larger. The rest of the ovule will develop into a surrounding seed coat, and a fruit will usually develop from the ovary tissue to provide additional protection.Next time you eat some popcorn think about the different parts of a seed that you’re eating. The hard outer part of a popcorn kernel is the seed coat.

This is what gets stuck in your teeth. Inside a popcorn kernel is endosperm and a tiny embryo. When a kernel is popped, the inside flips to the outside, and the white fluffy part you enjoy is mostly the endosperm.

Lesson Summary

Let’s review.

In order to reproduce, angiosperm flowers must be pollinated. Pollen contains two sperm cells that will be released inside a flower ovary. An ovary contains an ovule with an egg cell and two polar nuclei. In double fertilization, one sperm cell fuses with the egg to make a baby plant embryo. The other sperm cell fuses with the two polar nuclei to create the baby plant’s food source, or endosperm.

A seed contains an embryo, endosperm, and a protective seed coat. Sometimes the ovary will develop into a surrounding fruit.

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