Pollination and life cycle

Did you know?

Soybeans begin to flower at the end of June as the hours of daylight decrease. They need to make seeds before the summer ends. These flowers are not just for show. The flowers become seeds and when planted will grow more soybean plants.

At a certain point in the soybean plant development, it is time to start reproducing. Soybean plants are primarily self-pollinating. On the stem of a soybean plant, nodes have developed. Purple or white flowers form at each of the nodes. As many as 15 small flowers can form.  Soybean flowers have male (stamen) and female (pistil) reproductive systems, hence the self-pollination. The male parts, called anthers, make pollen. You need pollen to reproduce. The sticky grains of pollen will fall on the female part, called the stigma. This is where the pollen germinates. After the stigma receives the pollen, it travels through the style to the ovary. Ovules are produced in the ovary.  After fertilization develops, the ovary will eventually become a pod. Each pod will contain up to five seeds, or beans. This is pollination, the process in which a flower plant reproduces.

There are 8 reproduction stages identified as R1 through R8. R1 is the first reproductive stage with one flower on any node. The final stage is R8 when 95% of pods have reached maturity and ready to harvest.

  • Nodes: where the leaf attaches to the stem
  • Anthers: male reproductive organ (is that the right word???) that creates pollen
  • Pollen: "powder" produced by all plants in order to reproduce
  • Reproduce: to make more plants and animals
  • Stigma: part of the female reproductive system where the pollen germinates
  • Style: connects the stigma to the ovary
  • Ovary: contains the egg cell and when pollinated becomes a pod
  • Stamen: The pollen producing part of a flower, usually with a slender filament supporting the anther.
  • Pistil: The ovule producing part of a flower.
  • Ovule: the plant part that contains the embryo sac and after which fertilization develops into a seed.
  • Pollination: the process in which a flower plant reproduces.