Superficially, plants seem so simple. Rooted in place, they do not move around. And while plant growth is a dynamic process, without time-lapse photography, growth events are so imperceptibly slow that, to us impatient humans, plants seem both immobile and static. Nevertheless, there is a lot going on inside the plant body, and this is especially true for the events of reproduction that play out inside flowers and fruits. As one of my students recently commented, “I used to think it was just a matter of pollen plus stigma and, presto-change-o, seeds happen.” That student, I hope, learned otherwise, as will anyone else who takes the time to study the biology of flowers in detail.

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Copyright © 2012, Virginia Native Plant Society. This article first appeared in Bulletin of the Virginia Native Plant Society: 31:1 (2012), 4, 8.

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