Lab 14 The Flowering Plants

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Biol 3601: Plant Diversity

Dr. Julie R. Etterson

Spring 2009

Lab 14

The Flowering Plants

DOMAIN Eukarya


Phlyum: Anthophyta
Angiosperms are the most widespread plant phylum with the highest species diversity. They range in size from the giant sequoia growing in California's Sequoia National Park (275 feet tall and 30 feet across at the base) to the microscopic plant, Wolffia. To appreciate this range in size, examine the demo slide showing a whole mount of a Wolffia plant (also shown on a finger tip on right).
Draw what you see.

Exercise 1: Flower dissection

Examine the flowers on the center bench and identify the parts using the sheets provided. Then tour the greenhouse and collect five different flowers to bring back to the lab and examine:
Are your flowers from monocot or eudicot plants?


Dissect your flowers and identify the whorls that are present. Draw at least one of these flowers and label the parts as follows:

Look at the perianth.

Find the calyx. What are the individuals parts called?
Find the corolla. What are the individuals parts called?

List two terms used for the male fertile parts?


Find the filament.

Find the anther.
Look at the prepared cross-section slide of mature Lilium anthers. Draw what you see.

List two terms used for the female fertile parts?

Find the ovary
Find the style
Find the stigma
What is the position of the ovary on each of your five flowers?



Look at a cross section of a very young Lilium ovule. Draw what you see. Label the megasporophyte and integuments.

Look at a cross section of a mature Lilium ovary. Can you find a section that shows the eight cells of the mature female gametophyte? Draw what you see.

Look at a longitudinal section of a mature embryo of Capsella. Draw what you see. Label the cotyledons, shoot meristem, root meristem, and root cap.

Exercise 2: Fruit types
Seeds are the reproductive structures of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms. The seeds of gymnosperms develop on the exposed surface of the scales of cones, whereas the seeds of angiosperms usually develop within a protective fruit produced from the ovary of a flower. Some fruit is dispersed by wind and water. However, many fruits are fleshy and have enticing colors and flavors to attract animals. When animals consume fruit, they digest the pulpy protective layers of the fruits but pass the seeds. Passing through an animal’s gut has been shown to enhance the germination success of many species. Today we are going to look at a number of fruits and try to classify them according following scheme we discussed in class. Spend a few minutes looking at the PowerPoint presentation that introduces the fruit types. Then look at the fruit on the center bench and classify them.
Classification of fruit:

1. Simple fruits

A. Fleshy fruits

i. Berries

ii. Drupes

iii. Pomes

B. Simple dry fruits:

i. Dehiscent

a. Follicle

b. Legume

c. Silique

d. Capsule

ii. Indehiscent

a. Achene

b. Samara

c. Caryopsis

d. Schizocarp

e. Nut

2. Aggregate fruits

3. Multiple fruits

Classify the samples on the back bench.
Name Fruit type Dispersal agent


Fruit type

Dispersal agent

Exercise 3: Electron microscopy of pollen grains

Pollen grains carry the microgametophyte from anther to the stigma. The wall of a pollen grain protects the microgametophyte and the genetic material it carries from dessication and solar radiation. The surface of a pollen grain is covered with waxes and proteins that are involved in species recognition. The outer pollen wall is composed of a highly resistance biopolymer called sporopollenin. When a pollen grain germinates, the pollen tube passes through the apertures in the wall which may appear as thinnings in the cell wall, ridges, and pores. These furrows in the pollen grain and pore number are a traits used for identifying pollen.
Primitive lineages of angiosperms, such as magoliids, and all monocots have one pollen aperture (monoaperature) whereas the Eudicots have three (tripcolpate). The greater number of apertures provides more pathways for pollen tubes to emerge.
Today we will use UMD’ s scanning electron microscope to visual pollen grains. An electron microscope uses a particle beam of electrons to illuminate a specimen and create a highly-magnified image. Electron microscopes have much greater resolving power than light microscopes that use electromagnetic radiation and can obtain much higher magnifications of up to 2 million times, while the best light microscopes are limited to magnifications of 2000 times. Both electron and light microscopes have resolution limitations, imposed by the wavelength of the radiation they use. The greater resolution and magnification of the electron microscope is because the wavelength of an electron, its de Broglie wavelength, is much smaller than that of a photon of visible light. (modified from
Today we are going to examine pollen grain morphology using the scanning electron microscope at UMD.

  • Find one monocot and one eudicot in bloom and write down the name of each species

  • Dust the surface of the SEM stage with pollen from each plant

  • Bring to the SEM for processing

  • Take a picture of the monocot and the eudicot pollen grains. We will send them to Deb Shubat to upload on the greenhouse web page.

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