Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Phanerogamia (from the Greek phaneros, "evident"; gamos, "marriage") is the most common scientific name for the great sub-kingdom of the Vegetable Kingdom otherwise known as Spermaphyta, or as Flowering Plants. They are so called in contradistinction to the name Cryptogamia (q.v.) applied to all other plants, on account of their having relatively large and distinct reproductive organs collected together as a flower (q.v.).

This character is not, however, so truly distinctive as the possession of seed, to which they owe the recently-applied name of Spermaphyta. In common with the Bryophyta (q.v.) and Pteridophyta (q.v.), they generally exhibit a marked alternation of generations (q.v.), and, though only in a reduced condition, their oosphere is enclosed in an archegonium, from which the three sub-kingdoms are collectively termed Archegoniatte. In common with the Pteridophyta, they have a sporophyte far more developed than the gametophyte or oophyte, the latter being, in fact, mere appendages of the former, which is a plant with distinct stem and leaves (cormophytic) and well-developed vascular tissue. In the flower there are often leaves modified as secondary sexual organs in addition to the sporophylls, known as sepals and petals. The male sporophyll or stamen (q.v.) is not very similar to any structure among lower plants; and its microspores (pollen-grams') have a most rudimentary prothallium, consisting of one or more included cells, and do not produce motile antherozoids. The megaspore or embryo-sac is enclosed in the ovule or unfertilised seed which, though sometimes axial, is generally an appendage of a female sporophyll or carpel. [Placentation.] Besides the female prothallium, or archisperm, a secondary similar tissue, or metasperm, is in some cases developed within the embryo-sac after fertilisation, and also an external nutritive tissue, or perisperm. The whole seed, enclosing these tissues and the embryo, separates from the parent plant when ripe. The sub-kingdom is primarily divided into the divisions Angiospermia (q.v.) and Gymnospermia (q.v.).