Pollen and Spores

Erin and Bailey


Palynology- the study of plant pollen, spores ad certain microscopic plankton organisms in both living and fossil form.

Pollen- a fine powdery substance, typically yellow, consisting of microscopic grains discharged from the male part of a flower.

Spore- a tiny, typically one-celled, reproductive unit capable of giving rise to a new individual without sexual fusion.

Pollen fingerprint- the number and type of pollen grains found in a geographic area at a particular time of year.

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What can they tell us?

  • Whether a body was moved
  • A crime's location--in a city or in the country
  • The season

Gymnosperms vs. Angiosperm


  • The oldest seed plants
  • Conifers are the largest group
  • Seeds are contained in hard, scaly structures called cones
  • The male cones pollinate the female ones


  • The most recent plant group to evolve
  • Produce seeds in an enclosed fruit
  • Very diverse group--corn, oaks, maples, and grasses
  • Pistil--female part
  • Stamen--male part

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Types of Pollination

Pollination: the transfer of pollen from the male part of a part to the female part of a seed plant

Self-pollination: pollen transfers from an anther to the stigma within the same flower

Cross-pollination: pollen transfers between two distinct plants

Spore Producers

  • Certain protists (algae)
  • Plants
  • Fungi
  • Bacteria
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