The stamen (pluralstamina or stamens, from Latinstamen meaning "thread of the warp") is the pollen-producing reproductive organ of a flower. Stamens typically consist of a stalk called the filament (from Latin filum, meaning "thread"), and an anther (from Ancient Greekanthera, feminine of antheros "flowery," from anthos "flower"), which contains microsporangia. Anthers are most commonly two-lobed and are attached to the filament either at the base or in the middle portion. The sterile tissue between the lobes is called the connective.
A typical anther contains four microsporangia. The microsporangia form sacs or pockets (locules) in the anther. The two separate locules on each side of an anther may fuse into a single locule. Each microsporangium is lined with a nutritive tissue layer called the tapetum and initially contains diploid pollen mother cells. These undergo meiosis to form haploid spores. The spores may remain attached to each other in a tetrad or separate after meiosis. Each microspore then divides mitotically to form an immature microgametophyte called a pollen grain.
The pollen is eventually released when the anther forms openings (dehiscence). These may consist of longitudinal slits, pores, as in the heath family (Ericaceae), or by valves, as in the barberry family (Berberidaceae). In some plants, notably members of Orchidaceae and Asclepiadoideae, the pollen remains in masses called pollinia, which are adapted to attach to particular pollinating agents such as birds or insects. More commonly, mature pollen grains separate and are dispensed by wind or water, pollinating insects, birds or other pollination vectors.