This blog is managed by Song Hock Chye, author of Improve Your Thinking Skills in Maths (P1-P3 series), which is published and distributed by EPH.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Common Errors and Confusion – “ovary” and “spores”

It is a bit unfortunate that both the reproductive parts of the female human and the female part of the flower have the same name, “ovary”. Because both have the same name, spelling and the same way they are pronounced, some students end up confused.

Ovary in a flower refers to the female reproductive part of the flower. The ovary in this case, will develop into the fruit after fertilization. The ovary of the flower is illustrated as shown below.

Ovary in the human female on the other hand, is the reproductive part of the female where eggs are produced. The ovary in the human female is illustrated as shown below.

Another confusion which is caused by the same term, is “spores”. Spores are produced by ferns and mushrooms for the purpose of reproduction. Again, because of the same name, some students get confused that mushrooms and ferns are plants. This is not correct. Ferns are plants but mushrooms are fungi. Only plants make their own food. Mushrooms feed on dead matter - eg rotting logs.


keentolearn said...

Dear Mr Song

According to the syllabus, seeds need air, water and warmth to germinate.

If we keep some green beans in a beaker of water and place it a cupboard in a room, would they germinate and grow into young plants.

I think they would germinate, but may not survive after developing leaves because there is no sunlight to carry out photosynthesis.

Please help to clarify.

Excel Eduservice said...

You are right, they will germinate, but not grow into plants.

Conditions for germination are:
- water
- air
- warmth

The food comes from the seed leaves. Once the leaves are formed, the young plant needs to photosynthesize. Without light, the young plant will not be able to do that.

keentolearn said...

Dear Mr Song

Thank you for your reply.

Anonymous said...

Without any water, do 'dry' green beans respire? ie, does it take in oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide, even though it is not germinating?


Excel Eduservice said...

Without water, the seeds remain dormant. It does take in oxygen or give out carbon dioxide.

Anonymous said...

Dry Seeds do respire ; but the rate of respiration is extremely slow.

A dry seed is like a hibernating bear, asleep with a slower rate of respiration, but still alive.

Seed dormancy is not understood but may result from a metabolic block by a chemical inhibitor. To determine whether dormancy affects seed respiration, CO2 evolution from individual imbibed dormant and non-dormant seeds and from germinating seeds were compared, using Fourier transform infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy. It was found that CO2 evolution did not differ between dormant and non-dormant seeds, and that it accelerated with germination and growth.This in agreement with other studies indicating that dormant seeds respire.

Not-so-Young Botanist

Excel Eduservice said...

Thanks for the input. However, I gave the answer in the context of PSLE syllabus.