Key Difference – Vegetative vs Generative Cell
Angiosperms are flowering plants that produce enclosed seeds. Angiosperms contain flowers with male and female reproductive parts (stamens and pistils respectively). Stamens carry male gametes while pistils carry female gametes for sexual reproduction. An anther is one part of the stamen, and it contains four pollen sacs. The process known as microsporogenesis forms Pollen grains. Pollen is not considered as a male gamete. It has both non-reproductive cells and reproductive cells. Non-reproductive cells within the pollen grain are known as vegetative cells. In most flowering plants, a single vegetative cell can be seen. The reproductive cell is known as a generative cell. Vegetative cell is responsible for the formation of pollen tube that goes through the style of the pistil. Generative cell divides and forms sperm cells that are male gametes of the flowering plants. The key difference between vegetative and generative cell is that vegetative cell is non-reproductive while the generative cell is reproductive.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is a Vegetative Cell
3. What is a Generative Cell
4. Similarities Between Vegetative and Generative Cell
5. Side by Side Comparison – Vegetative vs Generative Cell in Tabular Form
What is a Vegetative Cell?
The larger cell of the pollen grain is known as a vegetative cell or the tube cell. Vegetative cell is non-reproductive, and it forms the pollen tube once the pollen settles on the stigma of a flower. When pollen lands on the stigma, it absorbs moisture and begins to germinate by making the pollen tube through the style towards the ovary. Vegetative cell is important in delivering male gametes into embryo sac for the double fertilization occurs in flowering plants. Vegetative cell converts into an elongated tube-like structure. The vegetative cell contains cytoplasm and a nucleus. It is larger compared to the generative cell. And the vegetative cell is surrounded by a thin, delicate wall known as intine.
The pollen tube grows until it meets embryo sac and then releases the sperm nuclei for syngamy.
What is a Generative Cell?
The generative cell is the smaller cell which resides inside the pollen grain. It is reproductive, and it divides by mitosis and produces two male gametes or two sperm cells. A thin wall known as intine separates the generative cell. In mature pollen grains, generative cell lies within the cytoplasm of the vegetative cell (generative cell passes into the vegetative cell to go towards the embryo sac for the fertilization).
Once, sperm nuclei get into the megagametophyte, they become ready for the syngamy or the double fertilization to produce a zygote.
What are the Similarities Between Vegetative and Generative Cell?
- Both vegetative and generative cells are cells of the pollen grains.
- Both cells are important for the sexual reproduction of flowering plants.
- Both cells contain a nucleus.
- Both cells develop during the microsporogenesis.
What is the Difference Between Vegetative and Generative Cell?
Vegetative vs Generative Cell
|Vegetative cell is one type of cell in pollen grains which is non-reproductive and responsible for pollen tube formation.||The generative cell is one type of cell in pollen grain which is reproductive and responsible for the formation of sperms.|
|Vegetative cell is non-reproductive.||The generative cell is reproductive.|
|Vegetative cell is larger than a generative cell.||The generative cell is smaller compared to the vegetative cell.|
|Vegetative cell forms a pollen tube to deliver male gametes to embryo sac.||Generative cell forms sperm cells or male gametes.|
Summary – Vegetative vs Generative Cell
Microsporogenesis is the process that forms pollen grains and male gametes. During the first pollen mitosis, two unequal cells are produced inside the pollen. They are known as a vegetative cell and a generative cell. Vegetative cell is the larger cell which is non-reproductive. Smaller cell is the generative cell which is reproductive. Vegetative cell forms an elongated structure called pollen tube. Through the pollen tube, male gametes are delivered into embryo sac for the fertilization. Generative cell nucleus divides and forms two male gamete nuclei which unite with female gamete in the embryo sac. This is the difference between vegetative and generative cell.
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1.egg3. “Pollen Development.” University of Leicester, 7 Oct. 2009. Available here
2.“Double fertilization.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Jan. 2018. Available here
3.“Plant Life.” Angiosperm Life Cycle. Available here
1.’Misc pollen colorized’By Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility, Dartmouth College – Source and public domain notice at Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility (, ), (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’Angiosperm life cycle diagram-en’ By LadyofHats Mariana Ruiz- Own Work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia