Word A Day: Cleistogamy

It’s starting to seem like I should call this ‘word every other day’, but, onward regardless! Here is the next one:

  1. self-fertilization that occurs within a permanently closed flower.

A word I have never heard, in any form! Botany is neat, and biology of all kinds. I think in another life I could have been a biologist of some kind. Life is so interesting!

This first made me think of figs, because a fig is like a closed garden, the inside full of tiny flowers. But figs are not self fertilizing, they use the fig wasps that live inside them to get pollinated.

A look at wikipedia tells me that peanuts, peas and beans are most well known for being cleistogamous.

The advantage of this automatic self pollination, is that it is much more efficient. There is no need to expend energy on petals, nectar, or large amounts of pollen to attract bees or other winged creatures to get yourself fertilized. The downside, though, is that the lack of genetic diversity leads to slowed down evolution.

I wonder if humans will ever be able to asexually reproduce. I doubt it would ever be popular, as it is not very advantageous to genetics. But, maybe it will be possible for women someday to impregnate themselves, and give birth to a genetic clone.

Or maybe we’ll all shift to exogamy… and everyone will be born in tubes.

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