Many people believe that pollen is the same thing as sperm, but it isn’t. Plants use a method called double fertilization to create seeds for future generations.
Without getting too technical, flowering plants (angiosperms) use two female cells and two males cells to create a seed. Conifers and other gymnosperm plants work pretty much the same way, but without fruit or a flower. [Did you know that pine cones are actually modified branches?]
Pollination is the movement of pollen from an anther (male) to a stigma (female). This can occur within a single flower, between flowers of the same plant, or between different plants. Approximately 90% of pollination occurs with the help of other living things, usually beneficial insects.
Once a flower is pollinated, the really amazing stuff starts to happen!
Once attached to an appropriate flower, the pollen granules germinate, sending a tube down to the female sex organs, or ovum. This tube is used to move male gametes (sperm cells) to the egg cell. One pollen grain fertilizes an egg that becomes the baby plant, or embryo. Another pollen grain fertilizes a different cell, which becomes starchy food for the embryo, called endosperm. So, forget your 6th grade sex ed movie. Flowering plants do it doubly!
I hope this information inspires you to grow more of your own food. You can ask your garden questions on my Home page.