In the plant reproductive life cycle, reproductive tissues in a (typically) diploid sporophyte individual undergo meiosis, producing haploid spores, which develop into the haploid gametophyte generation. Gametophytes are individual plants which produce gametes.

In higher plants such as conifers and angiosperms, the gametophyte generation is very reduced in size. Pollen grains are the male gametophyte, and the female gametophyte is contained within ovules in flowers or cones. What we see as "the plant" is the sporophyte generation.

Ga*me"to*phyte (?), n. [Gamete + Gr. fyto`n plant.] (Bot.)

In the alternation of generations in plants, that generation or phase which bears sex organs. In the lower plants, as the algæ, the gametophyte is the conspicuous part of the plant body; in mosses it is the so-called moss plant; in ferns it is reduced to a small, early perishing body; and in seed plants it is usually microscopic or rudimentary.


© Webster 1913

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