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Anther of a Flower: Function, Definition & Quiz

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Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Flowers, like all living organisms, must have a way to reproduce. One of the crucial reproductive structures found in all flowers is the anther. In this lesson we will explore the structure and function of the anther to gain an understanding of this important part.

We also recommend watching Flowers: Structure and Function of Male & Female Components and What is Function Notation: Definition, Examples & Quiz

What is the Anther of a Flower?

If you look inside a typical flower you will see many small parts. The male reproductive part of a flower is called the stamen. It is composed of a long tube called a filament and has a pollen-producing structure on the end. This oval-shaped structure is called the anther. It is crucial in the reproduction of flowering plants as it produces the male gametophyte known as pollen.

This diagram shows the parts of a flower. You can see the anther at the top of the stamen.
Diagram of the parts of a flower.

Function of the Anther

In order for a plant with flowers to successfully reproduce and form a seed, it must unite male gametophytes known as pollen with the female gametophytes. The anther is the small structure found at the end of the stamen that is responsible for producing the pollen.

To understand the function of an anther we must begin by looking inside of it. If you were able to peek inside of an anther you would see tiny, tube-like structures called microsporangia. Inside these structures the process of meiosis takes place. Meiosis is the biological process that produces sex cells. In the case of humans, the gametes produced as a result of meiosis are sperm and eggs. Inside these microsporangia, the process of meiosis produces pollen grains.

Once the pollen grains are formed, they are moved into one of two tiny sacs inside the anther. When enough pollen grains have been collected and the time is right for the flower to reproduce, the sacs burst open in a process known as dehiscence.

The anthers of this flower are bursting with pollen.
Image of pollen on anthers.

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