Self Pollination vs. Cross Pollination: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

The process of pollen grains falling off the plant falling from the anther to the stigma of the plant is known as pollination.  This process of fusion of male and female sex in plants lead to the process of fertilization, through which new flowers are formed, and reproduction takes place. As a result of the fertilization in plants (the fusion of male and female gametes), a zygote is formed. The process of fertilization all begins with the pollen grain falling on the stigma of the plant. Pollination which leads to the process of fertilization is mainly of two types; self-pollination and cross-pollination. Self-pollination is the transfer of the pollen to the stigma of the same flower, whereas cross pollination is the transfer of pollen to the stigma of a flower of a different plant of the same species or different species. In the process of self-pollination, no external agents like flies, insects or wind are involved, in this process, the pollen from the anther of the plant directly sheds on its stigma, on the other hand, cross-pollination requires external agents like wind, insects for the transfer of pollen.

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Comparison Chart

Self Pollination Cross Pollination
Definition In self-pollination, pollen grains from the anther of the similar plant are shed upon the stigma surface. In cross-pollination, the transfer of pollen to the stigma of a flower of a different plant of the same species or different species takes place.
External Force The plants which themselves carry self-pollination require no external force. Cross-pollination is carried by the factors like wind and insects.
Flowers Plants using self-pollination have dull color flowers as compared to the flowers of plants doing cross-pollination. They have colorful and attractive flowers with scent to attract insects.
Adaptability Plants using self-pollination are less adapted to the changed environment. More adpated to the changed environment.
Produces Through self-pollination pure lines with holding similar characteristics are produced. Through cross-pollination new variety of plants are produced.
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What is Self Pollination?

Self-pollination is the process in the through which transference of pollen from the same plant to the stigma of the similar plant takes place. This type of pollination is held responsible for the uniform progeny in the plants and further produces pure lines without any variations. As the pollen from the anther (male part of the plant) has to fell on the surface of the stigma of the similar plant it doesn’t require any external agents or external efforts, they shed the pollen on their stigma surface.  This process of pollination can even occur in the case of the closed flower of the plants, and the plant doing fertilization through this process becomes homozygous. In some cases, the plants have the ability to do both; cross-pollination and self-pollination. If the process of cross-pollination remains unsuccessful in the plants like peas, orchids, and sunflowers, they are capable of doing self-pollination. Although, the plants produced using self-pollination preserves the highly useful characters, at the same time it lacks variability and has less adaptability in changing environments. Plants using self-pollination have dull color flowers as compare to the flowers of plants doing cross-pollination.

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What is Cross Pollination?

Cross pollination is the process through which transfer of pollen to the stigma of a flower of a different plant of the same species or different species takes place. This type of pollination is a complex process, which leads to the formation of a new variety of plants and bright color flowers with attractive scent. Apart from the attractive characteristics, they show better adaptability in changed environment, and that is why most of the plants prefer the process of cross-pollination. Two major sources of cross-pollination are by the wind or by insects. As they have colorful, attractive flowers, insects or flies got the pollen stuck to their body and transfer it to the stigma of the other plant.  The other source of cross pollination is by the wind, the strong wind carries the lightweight pollen and gets it adjust onto the stigma of the other plant. The plants that carry the process of pollination by wind usually have long stamens and pistils with small petals; Dandelions are the example of such pollination. As mentioned earlier, through the process of cross-pollination new variety of plants are produced with distinct characteristics from their parents.

Self Pollination vs. Cross Pollination

  • In self-pollination, pollen grains from the anther of the similar plant are shed upon the stigma surface, whereas in cross-pollination, the transfer of pollen to the stigma of a flower of a different plant of the same species or different species takes place.
  • The plants which themselves carry self-pollination require no external force while cross-pollination is carried by the factors like wind and insects.
  • Plants using self-pollination have dull color flowers as compared to the flowers of plants doing cross-pollination.
  • Plants using self-pollination are less adapted to the changed environment as compared to the plants using cross pollination.
  • Through self-pollination pure lines with holding similar characteristics are produced, on the other hand, through cross-pollination new variety of plants are produced.

Explanatory Video

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