An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions/Spermatophyta

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An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States,
Canada and the British Possessions

second edition
by Nathaniel Lord Britton & Addison Brown

Subkingdom Spermatophyta (Seed-Bearing Plants)

Subkingdom Spermatóphyta.
Seed-Bearing Plants

Plants producing seeds which contain an embryo formed of one or more rudimentary leaves (cotyledons), a stem (hypocotyl, radicle), and a terminal bud (plumule), or these parts sometimes undifferentiated before germination. Microspores (pollen-grains) are borne in microsporanges (anther-sacs) on the apex or side of a modified leaf (filament). The macrosporanges (ovules) are borne on the face of a flat or inrolled much modified leaf (carpel) and contain one macrospore (embryo-sac); this develops the minute female prothallium, an archegone of which is fertilized by means of a tube (pollen-tube), a portion of the male prothallium sprouting from the pollen-grain.

The Seed-bearing plants form the most numerous group in existence, not less than 120,000 species being known. The subkingdom was formerly known as Phanerogamia, or Phaenogamia and more recently as Anthophyta, this term signifying the presence of flowers, which characterizes most of the group. But the consideration that the spore-bearing organs of the Pine Family cannot well be regarded as flowers, and the fact that the production of seeds is the most characteristic difference between these plants and the Pteridophyta, are reasons which have led to the acceptance of the term here adopted.

There are two classes in the subkingdom, which differ from each other as follows:


Ovules and seeds borne on the face of a scale; stigmas none. Class 1. Gymnospermae.
Ovules and seeds contained in a closed cavity (ovary). Class 2. Angiospermae.