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Angiosperms: Characteristics, Definition & Examples

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  1. 0:02 Definition
  2. 0:22 Characteristics
  3. 1:43 Examples
  4. 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Taught by

Erin Vonderach

Flowering plants are also known as angiosperms. In this lesson, we will explore this vast group of plants to learn what sets them apart from other types of plants and how they survive.

Definition

Angiosperms are the largest group of plants on Earth. There are approximately 270,000 known species alive today. There's probably one nearby right now. Angiosperms include all plants that have flowers and account for approximately 80% of all known living plants.

Carpel of Broomrape plant

Characteristics

Angiosperms are able to grow in a variety of habitats. They can grow as trees, shrubs, bushes, herbs, and small flowering plants. Some of the characteristics of angiosperms include:

  • All angiosperms have flowers at some stage in their life. The flowers serve as the reproductive organs for the plant, providing them a means of exchanging genetic information.
  • Angiosperms have small pollen grains that spread genetic information from flower to flower. These grains are much smaller than the gametophytes, or reproductive cells, used by non-flowering plants. This small size allows the process of fertilization to occur quicker in the flowers of angiosperms and makes them more efficient at reproducing.
  • All angiosperms have stamens. Stamens are the reproductive structures found in flowers that produce the pollen grains that carry the male genetic information.
  • Angiosperms have much smaller female reproductive parts than non-flowering plants, allowing them to produce seeds more quickly.
  • Angiosperms have carpel that encloses developing seeds that may turn into a fruit.
  • A great advantage for angiosperms is the production of endosperm. Endosperm is a material that forms after fertilization and serves as a highly nutritional food source for the developing seed and seedling.

Examples

Angiosperms come in a variety of forms. Some common examples of angiosperms include magnolia trees, roses, tulips, and tomatoes. Magnolia trees can be found towering all throughout the southern United States. These trees are prime examples of angiosperms. They are large trees growing up to 40 feet tall. Their large, impressive flowers are used to attract pollinators and as a means of reproduction.

Picture of a Magnolia tree.

Roses are symbols of love and beauty, but did you also know that they are angiosperms? Their ability to flower sets them apart from non-flowering plants, also known as gymnosperms, allowing them a successful means of reproduction. If you look closely into the flowers, you can see the trademark characteristics of angiosperms, including stamens, carpels, and tiny pollen grains.

Small flowering plants like tulips, which are often planted around our neighborhoods and parks to provide color and beauty, are also examples of angiosperms. While they are dwarfed in size by huge angiosperms like magnolia trees, they are still true examples. They have the classic tiny flowers with the reproductive characteristics of angiosperms and have successfully adapted to live in a variety of environments.

When was the last time you had a sandwich or burger with a red-ripe juicy tomato in it? If you're thinking of it now, you are imagining part of an angiosperm. If you remember, one of the characteristics of angiosperms is carpels, enclosing seeds that may grow into fruit. That juicy tomato is a prime example of a carpel that holds the seeds of the angiosperm tomato plant and helps to protect and disperse the seeds.

Picture of a tomato.

Lesson Summary

Angiosperms are the largest group of plants on Earth, accounting for approximately 80% of all known living plants. Angiosperms come in a great variety of forms, ranging from plants that are only a few inches tall to towering trees in the forest. All angiosperms have flowers, carpels, stamens, and small pollen grains. They are extremely successful plants and can be found all over the world.

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