A rose is a rose by any other name, but does it grow by seeds or some other way? Plants spread through different ways, both seedless and those that create seeds. Some seeds travel on the wind, and some plants need the help of animals and humans to spread the flowers, fruits and fauna they create to other areas of the world. Plants that use seeds or spores propagate via the wind, attaching to fur or fabric or utilizing other ways that assist the tiny seeds in traveling to places far away, whereas seedless plants have devised many atypical and interesting ways to continue the species. It's the reproduction that makes the difference in seedless versus seed plants.
What Are Seedless Plants?
It may sound like an oxymoron to a novice gardener, but many types of plants reproduce through means other than growing and emitting tiny versions of themselves. This makes seedless plants more diverse in their dispersal of DNA. Some seedless plants are asexual and can produce without any assistance, but they tend to not travel far because they use the immediate area to create more of the species. The parent plant drops leaves that take root through the underside of the leaf, which becomes the base of the new plant.
They can also propagate through rhizoids, which are hairy, root-like growths that attach the plant firmly to the ground. These bryophytes, which do not have actual roots, can grow in rocks and other seemingly impossible dry areas because they get water and nutrients from the air. These include pincushion mosses and liverworts.
What Are Seed Plants?
Seed plants produce the spores via sexual reproduction. They require bees and/or male and female plants to make them bloom and create seeds. Seed-bearing plants differ from all other plants in that their gametes – or mature cell that requires germination with another male or female mature haploid to grow – do not require water for fertilization. Seeds can last for years before sprouting, making them a viable resource to carry and plant in other regions long after they have left the parent plant.
The difference between spores and seeds is plentiful. Seeds are easy to see, while spores can be nearly invisible to the naked eye. The seeds are complex in their cellular structure. They are produced as diploid, meaning that they have two sets of chromosomes. Spores are haploid and unicellular, which means they have only one set of chromosomes. Once the spores have found a favorable spot to grow with enough water and good soil, they go into mitosis and become diploid. Every species of seed plant is vascular, meaning the leaves hold water in the tissue of the plant.
Seedless Vascular Plants
Seedless plants can be vascular, meaning they retain water in the tissue of the plant, or they can be nonvascular. Ferns, horsetails (also called Indian puzzle plant) and club mosses are types of seedless vascular plants in that they have a root system and leaves that can hold water. Nonvascular plants require water to thrive because they don't have the means to retain water on their own. Indian puzzle plants grow well in water as well as near water, and they propagate quickly. In home gardens, they are often placed in containers or put in containers before being planted in the landscape in order to keep its spreading growth under control.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.