Discussion Questions

1. The world's largest flowers are on inconspicuous parasitic plants that resemble a fungus mycelium. If the flowers were not present, would it be possible to tell that the plant is not a fungus? How?

2. In most female gametophytes with eight nuclei, only the egg and the central cell nuclei do not degenerate. What would happen if the megaspore itself functioned as an egg and did not go on to produce other nuclei in a female gametophyte?

3. It takes only one pollen grain to initiate the development of an ovule into a seed, yet a single flower may produce many thousands of pollen grains. Do you suppose such huge numbers of pollen grains are really necessary? Why do you suppose wind-pollinated plants produce much more pollen than insect-pollinated plants?

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4. Are such items as the name of the collector and the date significant on an herbarium specimen?

5. Is it really important that plants be classified? What would be the consequences if they were not?

Learning Online

Visit our web page at www.mhhe.com/botany for interesting case studies, practice quizzes, current articles, and animations within the Online Learning Center to help you understand the material in this chapter. You'll also find active links to these topics:

Diversity of Plants Angiosperms

Economic and Ecological Importance of Angiosperms

Flowers and Fruits


Fruits and Seeds

Additional Reading

Bold, H. C., C. S. Alexopoulos, and T. Delevoryas. 1987. Morphology of plants and fungi, 5th ed. New York: Harper & Row. Crest, M., et al. 1999. Fertilization in higher plants: Molecular and cytological aspects. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Cronquist, A. 1992. An integrated system of classification of flowering plants, 2d ed. New York: New York Botanical Garden.

Endress, P. K., and E. M. Friis (Eds.). 1995. Early evolution of flowers: Plant systematics and evolution—Supplement 8. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Geesink, R. 1991. Thommer's analytical key to the families offlow-ering plants. New York: State Mutual Book and Periodical Service.

Greyson, R. I. 1994. The development of flowers. New York: Oxford University Press.

Hughes, N. F. 1994. The enigma of angiosperm origins. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Johri, B. M. (Ed.). 1984. Embryology of angiosperms. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Krassilov, V. A. 1997. Angiosperm origins: Morphological and ecological aspects. Bethesda, MD: International Scholars.

Kung, S. D. 1999. Discoveries in plant biology, 3 vols. Riveredge, NJ: World Scientific Publications.

Morris, D. L. 1997. Flower drying handbook: Includes complete microwave drying instructions. New York: Sterling.

Raghaven, V. 1999. Developmental biology of flowering plants. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Raven, P. H., R. F. Evert, and S. E. Eichhorn. 1999. Biology of plants, 6th ed. New York: Worth.

Stace, C. 1992. Plant taxonomy and biosystematics, 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Takhtajan, A. 1996. Diversity and classification of flowering plants. New York: Columbia University Press.


Pods of a tropical cacao tree. (Theobroma cacao). The seeds are the source of chocolate.

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  • donnamira
    Are such items as the name of the collector and the date significant on a herbarium specimen?
    8 years ago
  • ramona
    Why are such huge numbers of pollen grains necessary?
    5 years ago

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