The Plant Lifecycle for Kids

Plants are great to look at, especially when they have pretty flowers. They are more than just pretty, though. They are also a very important part of nature, too. Did you know that plants are living things? Like all living things, plants have a life cycle where they grow from a baby plant to a mature plant and then eventually, they die away. When you learn the stages of a flowering plant's life cycle, you can identify them when you see a plant.

Seeds

Most kids are familiar with what a seed looks like. You may have even eaten them a time or two. But do you know what a seed does? The inside of a seed contains all that is necessary to create a new plant life, which includes an embryo and endosperm. The embryo is actually a very tiny new plant. The endosperm is the food that feeds the embryo. The outside of the seed is protected by a shell that is called a seed coat. This coat may be hard or it can be soft. It is important because it keeps the inside from becoming dry or injured. They can differ in appearance depending on the plant they came from. Some seeds are planted in the ground deliberately in order to grow a specific type of flowering plant. Other seeds may fall from a plant naturally or be dispersed by the blowing wind or an insect or bird. Either way, the first step of the flowering plant's life cycle often depends on a seed.

Seedling

When seeds begin to grow, it is called germination. For this to happen, seeds need four very important things. These are oxygen, the right temperature, the right type of light, and moisture. The right temperature and type of light depends on the plant and the type of seed. Sometimes, a seed will germinate if there is a lot of light, but sometimes, darkness is better. As germination happens, leaves push out of the seed coat and out of the dirt where it has been planted. This young new plant is a seedling.

Mature Plants

With the continued right conditions and nutrients, the seedling grows into a mature plant. A mature plant is an adult plant that is fully grown. When a plant is mature, it will have roots and leaves. It will also begin to produce flowers. The flower is the part of the plant that produces the seeds that start the life cycle. After a while, the mature plant will begin to die. Although this ends the life cycle of the plant, when it dies, it becomes nutrients for the dirt and future plants that might grow from it.

The Flower and its Parts

The flower that grows from the mature plant is very important because of the seeds that will come from it. But how can a flower make seeds? To understand that, it's important to know what the flower's parts are. The part of the flower that people like to look at are the petals. Petals are really a type of leaf that protects the inner parts of the flower. Petals are so pretty because pollinators will think they are pretty as well. Pollinators are birds or insects such as bees that transfer pollen. For flowers, pollen is very important. Flowers have girl and boy parts. The boy parts make up the flower's stamen. The stamen is where the pollen is located. The stamen is where the reproductive cells that are produced in what is called the anther. The anther is held aloft by the filament, which is a stalk. The girl parts of the plant are called the pistil. The pistil has ovules, an ovary, a style, and a stigma. The ovule is located at the pistil base. This is where the plant seeds are made. The ovules are contained in the ovary. When the birds, animals, insects, or wind carry the sticky pollen to the pistil, it lands on the stigma. The pollen then goes down a tube called the style. The style takes the pollen to the ovary, where the pollen fertilizes the cells and creates the seeds.

Seedless Plants

Did you know that not all plants have seeds? Well, it's true! While seeds are an important part of a plant's life cycle, they aren't always necessary. Ferns and moss are both plants that do not produce seeds. Instead, they reproduce and grow from spores. Spores are carried by the wind to new locations, where they land on the ground and grow into new plants.

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