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Pollination is the process by which pollen is transferred from the anther (male part) to the stigma (female part) of the plant, thereby enabling fertilization and reproduction. It is is unique to the angiosperms, the flower-bearing plants.

In spite of a common perception that pollen grains are gametes, like the sperm cells of animals; pollination is an event in the alternation of generations. Each pollen grain is a male haploid gametophyte, adapted to being transported to the female gametophyte, where it can effect fertilization by producing the male gamete (or gametes), in the process of double fertilization).

A successful angiosperm pollen grain (gametophyte) containing the male gametes is transported to the stigma, where it germinates and its pollen tube grows down the style to the ovary. Its two gametes travel down the tube to where the gametophyte(s) containing the female gametes are held within the carpel. One nucleus fuses with the polar bodies to produce the endosperm tissues, and the other with the ovule to produce the embryo Hence the term: "double fertilization".

In gymnosperms, the ovule is not contained in a carpel, but exposed on the surface of a dedicated support organ, such as the scale of a cone, so that the penetration of carpel tissue is unnecessary. Details of the process vary according to the division of gymnosperms in question.

The receptive part of the carpel is called a stigma in the flowers of angiosperms. The receptive part of the gymnosperm ovule is called the micropyle. Pollination is a necessary step in the reproduction of flowering plants, resulting in the production of offspring that are genetically diverse.

The study of pollination brings together many disciplines, such as botany, horticulture, entomology, and ecology. The pollination process as an interaction between flower and pollen vector was first addressed in the 18th century by Christian Konrad Sprengel. It is important in horticulture and agriculture, because fruiting is dependent on fertilization: the result of pollination. The study of pollination by insects is known as anthecology.

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