Difference Between Pollination and Fertilisation

What is Pollination?

Pollination is the act of movement of pollen grains from the male reproductive part of a flower to the stigma, which is the female reproductive part. The transfer of pollens can take place through butterflies, honey bees, wind etc. 

Types of Pollination 

The categorisation of pollination is based on the method of movement of pollen grains from flower to flower. There are primarily two kinds of pollination –

  • Self-Pollination 

  • Cross-Pollination 

In self-pollination, pollen grains remain within the flower as it moves from its anther to stigma. However, in cross-pollination, presence of a vector is required, and the grains are transferred from one flower to another. The vectors can be air, insects or birds. Advancement in science has also allowed artificial pollination by man, especially for pollinating palm trees.

This aspect goes on to explain how the process of pollination is different from fertilisation. 

Process of Pollination 

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Process of pollination, as mentioned, also reflects the point of distinction according to the difference between pollination and fertilisation Class 10. 

  • Pollen grain reaches a sticky stigma of a flower

  • Pollen tube expands across the Style also receiving male sperm 

  • Sperm nuclei attach to female ovules

Fun Facts!

While insects may appear to be insignificant, they act as the primary pollinator agents. Around 200,000 – 300,000 invertebrate species like beetles, butterflies, moths, mosquitoes, flies, bees spread pollens between thousands of trees. Close to 2000 vertebrate species like mammals, birds and reptiles also act as pollinator agents.

Among all these agents, the little honeybee is the most important one!

What is Plant Fertilisation?

Plant fertilisation includes a fusion of male gametes (originating in the pollen tube of a flower) with the ovum (the female gamete). Fertilisation within a flower is necessarily preceded by pollination.

Process of Plant Fertilisation 

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  • Both male and female gametes fuse to create a zygote 

  • Zygote divides to form an embryo 

  • Embryo remains within ovule, and the latter develops into seed with tissues while ovary converts into fruit 

The steps and outcome of the process of plant fertilisation include the difference of pollination and fertilisation. 

Refer to the following points to differentiate between pollination and fertilisation.

Difference Between Pollination and Fertilisation 




Role of Pollen tube 

Pollen tube not present 

Male gametes are transferred to ovum through pollen tube


First step to fertilisation where pollens reach from Anther to Stigma 

Zygote formation which divides to form an embryo 


External mechanism of transfer of pollen grains 

Internal mechanism of male gamete and female ovum fusion


Self-Pollination and Cross-Pollination 

Not applicable 

Role of external agents 

External pollination agents include bees, birds, wind etc. 

External agents have no role

Test Your Knowledge

i. What is the primary purpose of pollen tube?

(a) Allowing pollen movement from stigma to ovary for plant fertilisation 

(b) Attracting pollination agents 

(c) Producing nectar from pollen 

(d) Protecting movement from anther to stigma 

Ans. (a) Allowing pollen movement from stigma to ovary for plant fertilisation

ii. In plant fertilisation, male gametes transported by wildlife or wind takes place through -

(a) Pollen 

(b) Stamen 

(c) Bees only 

(d) Petals 

Ans. (a) Pollen

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Do Pollination and Fertilisation Means the Same?

Ans. No. These are not the same things. If one considers how is pollination different from fertilisation – distinction lies in function undertaken through the two processes.

2. Indicate the Major Difference Between Fertilisation and Pollination, if any.

Ans. The major difference between pollination and fertilisation is the different stages that these indicate in plant fertilisation. Pollination is an initial stage in pollen transfer, and fertilisation takes place after successful pollination.

3. What is Meant by Pollination?

Ans. Pollination is transfer of pollen grains from a flower’s male anther to female stigma. It is critical in the process of plant reproduction. There is a fundamental difference between pollination and fertilisation in plants.