Asexual Reproduction

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Asexual reproduction requires only one organism to generate an offspring that is genetically identical to the parent organism.


What is Asexual Reproduction in Plants?

Asexual reproduction takes place in plants when they can produce a genetically identical plantlets similar to the plant itself, uniform and having no genetic variety. A great advantage of this reproduction method is high efficiency and faster in process as only one organism (plant) is involved. Spider plants reproduction process is one of the examples of asexual reproduction in plants. Here, it has to be noted that not all of the plants can reproduce asexually. Many plants undergo sexual reproduction too where reproductive cells of two plants unite to form a new organism that can differ genetically. Thus, we can say that in asexual reproduction, offspring is produced from a single organism without involvement of sex cell known as gametes or germ cells.

Further in the article, we will learn more examples and types of asexual reproduction in plants.

Besides plants, asexual reproduction also occurs in bacteria by the process of binary fission. Another example is of an organism called Hydra where budding takes place as it falls off and grows into a whole new hydra. 


Types of Asexual Reproduction in Plants

Formation of a new organism by a single parent is called asexual reproduction and there can be 3 types of asexual reproduction in plants which are as follows-


1. Vegetative Reproduction

It refers to the production of new plants from the parts of the mother plant such as stem, leaf, root or a leaf. No reproductive organ is involved in this kind of asexual reproduction.


Examples of Asexual Reproduction in Plants (Vegetative Propagation)-

  • A potato contains several buds in it called eye and if a potato piece is cut with at least one eye with it and planted in the soil, it develops into a new plant. 

  • Ginger grows when some parts of the underground stem are planted in the soil.

  • In onions, new plants with thick leaves generate from a bulb or the underground stem when planted in the soil. 

  • Bryophyllum reproduce with the help of its leaves that contain various buds in the margin. When these buds fall in the soil, they emerge out as new plants.

The above mentioned examples are natural methods of asexual reproduction in plants that involves vegetative propagation.


Artificial Methods of Asexual Reproduction in Plants

Besides these, many artificial methods of asexual reproduction in plants or vegetative propagation are adapted and it is quite successful. These methods can also be applied at home in day to day lives to gain many plants from one plant. The different artificial methods of vegetative propagation include-

  • Grafting- Here, a twig of one plant called scion is cut over the cut stem of another plant called the stock, which are then tied up together. Their tissues combine to form a new plant. Grafting is usually done between two related varieties or species. Examples of plants where we perform grafting are rose, guava, mango, apple, rubber, etc.

  • Cutting- A healthy young branch with buds is cut off and planted in the moist soil. The cutting develops roots and forms a new plant. Examples of plants where we perform cutting include lemon, blackberry, tamarind, etc.

  • Layering- A young healthy branch is bent down towards the ground and covered with moist soil from where the root develops from the covered part. This is called layer and the branch now can be cut to form a new plant. Examples of plants involved for layering methods include rhododendron and honeysuckle.

  • Tissue Culture or Micropropagation- A piece of tissue is cut off from the growing tip of the plants and kept in the nutrient medium under controlled conditions. The hormones present in the nutrient medium; it helps in cell division and development of roots and shoots. The plants can be then grown in the moist soil environment. Example- Orchids.

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Importance of Vegetative Propagation

  • It allows for developing new plants very quickly.

  • Exact copies of the parent plants are produced.

  • Plants propagated with this method need less attention in the early stages of growth.

  • New varieties of plants can be developed.


2. Fragmentation

It is one of the methods of asexual reproduction in plants where a new plant is produced from a portion of the mother plant. Each part of the plant can develop into a full grown or mature individual plant. Some of the plants consist of specialized structures such as Tolmiea that produce adventitious plantlets on the leaves that fall off to produce a new plant on the ground. Other organisms like fungi (yeast and mushroom) also follow fragmentation for asexual reproduction. It’s a simple process of asexual reproduction in plants.


3. Spore Formation

Non-flowering plants and algae can perform asexual reproduction with the spore formation in their life cycle. A spore, called asexual reproductive body, is surrounded by a protective covering which is hard and can withstand unfavourable conditions like variations in temperature and humidity. These spores can germinate into new plants under favourable conditions. Examples of spore forming plants include moss and ferns. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain with Examples Different Methods of Asexual Reproduction in Plants

Various methods of asexual reproduction in plants can be natural process as well as artificial process. Natural methods include vegetative propagation that is found in plants like potato, guava, apple, ginger, strawberry, etc. Artificial methods for asexual reproduction include grafting, cutting, layering and micropropagation that include examples like rose, pothos, rhododendron and orchids, respectively. Fragmentation and spore formation are the other two natural asexual reproduction processes in plants that include moss and Tolmiea, respectively.

2. How Do Strawberries Reproduce?

Strawberries reproduce with natural vegetative propagation where the shoots with bud bends towards moist land and form a new plant.

3. What are the Artificial Methods of Vegetative Reproduction in Plants?

Artificial methods of vegetative reproduction in plants include grafting, cutting, layering and tissue culture (micropropagation) methods. These are done artificially to generate new plants in quite a large number too.