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Sexual maturity     [ Biology ]
Synonyms: Adulthood, Maturity
or Reproductively mature age

Dictionary of botanic terminology
index of names

The sexual maturity is the stage in which an organism  became capable to reproduce itself and generate offsprings.

In biology the sexual maturity (also called: adulthood or maturity) is the period in the life cycle of a living being in which physical growth has stopped or reached a certain stage of development and the reproductive organs are completely formed and able to produce the gametes (see: meiosis).
It may also be accompanied by the outward emergence of secondary sexual characteristics which distinguish the immature organism from its adult form and often lead it to an increase in sexual dimorphism. For example, human children have smooth faces, but adult males have hairy beard while adult females do not.

After sexual maturity is achieved, it is possible for some organisms to become sterile, or even to change their sex. Moreover some organism display most or all of the characteristics of the adult form without being sexually mature. Inversely, it is as well possible for some apparently juvenile immature form to reproduce (see neoteny).

But a considerable number of  multicellular organisms are not able to sexually reproduction, they can only reproduce vegetatively while Bacteria and other unicellular living organism reproduce by division (mitosis).

Sexual maturity  (In plants)    [ Botany ]
Plant  become sexually mature as they get older while juvenile plants undergo only non-sexual growth via mitosis.
The sexual maturity of plants results from the activation of genes involved in maturation, a hormonal signal is sent from leaves to the shoot apex to initiate development of reproductive rather than vegetative primordia. This signal likely is controlled by both hormonal promotors and inhibitors. Both size and age are apparently factors affecting sexual maturation but many other ecological and environmental factors are involved in sexual maturation of plants (like: sun exposures, competition, nutrients availability, temperature etc..)

In some cases a grafted scion from an immature young donor may blossom sooner than those grown on their own roots.







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