Chapter 7 - Plant growth and options for reproduction

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Developing pineapple inflorescence showing spiral phyllotaxis.

(Photograph courtesy C.G.N. Turnbull)

 We should always keep in mind the obvious fact that the production of seed is the chief end of the act of fertilisation, and that this end can be gained by hermaphrodite plants with incomparably greater certainty by self-fertilisation, than by the union of sexual elements belonging to two distinct flowers or plants. Yet it is unmistakably plain that innumerable flowers are adapted for cross-fertilisation

(Charles Darwin, The effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom 1876)