How are ryegrass flowers adapted for wind pollination? 

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dcbiostat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A flower is the reproductive organ of a plant. The anatomy of a flower contains both male and female parts. Pollen is the male reproductive product of a flower. Pollen is contained in the anther of a flower. An anther is located on top of a stalk called a filament. In order for fertilization to occur, pollen must be transferred to the female part of a flower called the stigma.

In order to be adapted for wind pollination, the pollen of a flower needs to be exposed to the wind and light enough to be carried by the wind. Rye-grass flowers meet these criteria. The flowers of rye-grass are very small and located at the end of a wheat-like stalk. Their filaments move with even the slightest force, such as a light breeze. As the filament is blown by a breeze or wind, its pollen is released. Thus, rye-grass pollen is light and exposed to the air, which makes it well adapted for wind pollination.

When the stigma of a rye-grass flower is mature, it looks like a puff of cotton that hangs from the outside of the flower. When the pollen from the anther is blown by the wind, some of the pollen is trapped in this “puff of cotton." In this way, a rye-grass flower is adapted to catch pollen to ensure that fertilization occurs.

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