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Unisexual Plants and Unisexual Animals

Unisexuality can be defined as the condition where the organism can only produce either male or female gametes. Unisexuality is found in both animals and plants. The unisexual animals are more abundantly found, the unisexuality is also reported at the species level in some organisms. Unisexual plants can be defined as plants that bear only male or female flowers. The unisexual plant is also known as the dioecious plant. The bisexual plant is known as the monoecious plant. Both the unisexual and bisexual plants reproduce by sexual reproduction. 

On this page, we will discuss the morphology and reproduction of unisexual plants, the example of unisexual animals, and examples of unisexual and bisexual plants. 

Morphology of Flower the Unisexual Plant

Morphologically a flower can be defined as the series of appendages at the tip of the stem. The tip of the stem where the flower is organized is known as the receptacle. The reproductive function of the plant is performed by the flower. A flower contains the following main parts, 

Sepals - Sepals are the last arrangement of the unisexual flowers, they are anatomically the lowermost and outermost series. Sepals come together to form the calyx of the flower. There are two types of sepals arrangement is they can either be It may be gamosepalous, which means that all the sepals of the flower are united or they can be polysepalous, which is a configuration in which the sepals of the flowers are not joined to each other, rather they are free sepals. 

Calyx - Calyx is made up of sepals. It forms the base of the flower and serves as the protective covering when the flower is not completely developed, they are in the bud stage. The calyx is the portion of the flower that extends from the base of the flower.

Petals - They are the appendages of flower that provides a covering to the male or female gametes. The petals are generally vibrantly colored to attract the pollinators to perform pollination. The petals can be configured as a set of sterile structures, petals constitute the inner structure of the flower. 

Corolla - Corolla is a structure that is made up of petals, the petals are can be arranged into two configurations that include gamopetalous configuration, in this type all the petals are joined together. The second configuration is named polypetalous configuration, in this configuration, the petals of the flower are not joined together. They have free petals. 

Perianth - It is the collective term given to the calyx and corolla, these are the appendages of the unisexual plant that provides the site of attachment to the stamen of the unisexual flower. 

Androecium: The male sexual part of the flower. 

Gynoecium: The female sexual part of the flower

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Reproductive Organ of Unisexual Plants

The reproductive organs of a unisexual flower can only have either androecium or gynoecium. According to the definition of unisexuality, the unisexual organism can bear only one of the reproductive organs, never the both. The reproductive organ of the plants is known as the androecium that is the male reproductive organ or the gynoecium, the female reproductive organ. To develop the proper understanding of reproduction it is important to understand the organs or anatomical appendages that constitute the reproductive system, these include the following, stamens, carpels, pollen, ovule, and ovary. 

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Male Reproductive Organ in Plants

Stamen can be defined as the male fertile appendages. Stamens are responsible for the generation or production of the male gamete. The male gametes are known as the pollen. The bundle of stamen put inside the protective covering of the petals is known as the androecium. It is important to note that the pollen is produced by the specialized structures named anther, anther is situated on the top of the stamen. 

When the anther is attached to the perianth it is known as the epiphyllous configuration, similarly when the anther of a lower is attached to the petals of the flower such configuration is known as the epipetalous configuration.

Stamens can also be categorized on the basis of their stamen arrangement, they can be categorized as follows

Monadelphous, is the condition when the stamens are arranged in a single bundle, diadelphous can be defined as a condition when the stamens are arranged into two bundles. The third configuration is named the polyadelphous, in it, the stamens are present in more than two bundles. 

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Female Reproductive Organ in Plants

The female reproductive of a unisexual flower consists of the gynoecium. It is considered the complete female reproductive system of the flower. It contains the stigma, carpels, ovary and ovules.  The stigma is the uppermost part of the female reproductive organ, the stigma is the surface on which the pollen lands. The carpel contains the ovary, the ovary contains the ovules (female gametes) of the unisexual plant.

The ovules are contained within the structure called as ovary. The ovules contain the nucleus, which has egg cells and polar nuclei. They are the female gamete of the unisexual plants.

Based on the anatomical positioning of the ovary the plants are categorized into the following. The first is hypogynous arrangement, in this type of arrangement the ovary is located superior that is the sepals, petals, and stamens are located beneath the ovary.   The second arrangement is known as the perigynous or more commonly known as the epigynous here the ovary is located anatomically inferior to the stamen, petal, and sepals of the flower. 

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Reproduction in Plants

The plants can reproduce by both the method that is asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction includes the following method, Vegetative propagation, spore formation, budding, and fragmentation. Sexual reproduction is a common unisexual reproduction method in plants. 

In sexual reproduction especially in unisexual plants, the plant contains only one type of gamete. The pollen produced from the male reproductive organ is carried to the female reproductive organ. The organ that functions as the receptor of the pollen is called stigma. In unisexual organisms, which perform unisexual reproduction the pollen gets transferred to stigma by the process of pollination. There are both biotic and abiotic pollinating agents. The biotic pollinating agent includes insects such as bees and ants. The pollinating agent is attracted to the flower because of the nectar, and in-process accidentally carries the pollen grain with it. Then as pollinating agent reaches to female flower the pollen from the body drops and lands into the stigma of the flower. 

Once the pollen is attached to the stigma, the pollen germinates giving rise to the pollen tubes, these tubes carry the pollen to the ovule. The pollen then fertilizes the female gamete in the ovule. This process is known as fertilization which results in zygote formation. 

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Example of the Unisexual and Bisexual Organisms

There are various unisexual organisms as well as bisexual organisms. Bisexual organisms are those organisms that carry both male and female reproductive organs. Bisexual organisms are also known as hermaphrodites. 

Examples of Unisexual Animals- The Example Includes the Following,

  1. Mammals

  2. Birds

  3. Insects

  4. Reptiles

Examples of Unisexual Plants - The Example Includes the Following

  1. Watermelon

  2. Papaya

  3. Mulberry

  4. Birch

  5. Pine 

Examples of Bisexual Animals - The Examples of Bisexual Animals Includes the Following

  1. Earthworm

  2. Cockroach

  3. Slug

  4. Jellyfish

  5. Squid.

Examples of Bisexual Plants - There are the Following Examples of Bisexual Plants

  1. Tulip

  2. Sunflower

  3. Lily

  4. Rose

  5. Daffodil

  6. Mustard 

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FAQs on Unisexuality

Q.1 What are Hermaphrodites?

Ans- Hermaphrodites is the name given to bisexual organisms. These organisms carry both male and female reproductive organs.

Q.2 What is the Difference Between Monoecious and Dioecious Plants?




Both male and female flowers are present on the plant.

Only male or female flowers are present in the plant

Flowers are unisexual 

Flowers are also unisexual

Both self and cross-pollination occurs

Only cross-pollination can occur

There is low genetic variation due to homozygosity which is the result of self-pollination

High genetic variation and heterozygosity.

Reproductive isolation has a low effect on it

Reproductive isolation has a drastic effect

Example- corn and cucurbits

Example- papaya and date palm

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