Autogamy – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Botanical Glossary

I. What is Autogamy?

Autogamy is a type of self-pollination in plants where the pollen from the anther of a flower fertilizes the ovule of the same flower. This process allows plants to reproduce without the need for external pollinators such as insects, birds, or wind. Autogamy is a common reproductive strategy in many plant species, especially those that are self-compatible and have the ability to self-pollinate.

II. How does Autogamy differ from Allogamy?

Autogamy differs from allogamy, which is a type of cross-pollination where pollen is transferred from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower. In allogamy, plants rely on external agents such as insects, birds, or wind to transfer pollen between flowers, while in autogamy, plants are able to self-pollinate without the need for external pollinators.

III. What are the different types of Autogamy?

There are two main types of autogamy: geitonogamy and cleistogamy. Geitonogamy occurs when pollen is transferred from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower on the same plant. Cleistogamy, on the other hand, is a type of autogamy where flowers remain closed and self-pollination occurs within the closed flower bud.

IV. What are the advantages of Autogamy in plants?

Autogamy offers several advantages to plants. One of the main advantages is that it ensures reproductive success even in the absence of external pollinators. This is particularly beneficial for plants that are located in isolated or harsh environments where pollinators may be scarce. Autogamy also allows plants to maintain genetic purity and consistency within a population, as self-pollination ensures that offspring are genetically identical to the parent plant.

V. What are the disadvantages of Autogamy in plants?

While autogamy has its advantages, it also has some disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages is that it can lead to inbreeding depression, where offspring are less fit and have lower survival rates due to the accumulation of deleterious mutations. Inbreeding depression can reduce the overall genetic diversity of a population and make plants more susceptible to diseases and environmental stress. Additionally, autogamy may limit the potential for genetic variation and adaptation in changing environments.

VI. How is Autogamy important for plant reproduction?

Autogamy plays a crucial role in plant reproduction by ensuring reproductive success and genetic continuity. In self-compatible plants, autogamy allows for efficient pollination and fertilization, leading to the production of viable seeds and offspring. Autogamy also provides a mechanism for plants to reproduce in the absence of external pollinators, ensuring that they can persist and thrive in diverse environments. Overall, autogamy is an important reproductive strategy that allows plants to adapt and survive in a variety of ecological conditions.