Plant Story's Guide to the Anatomy of Flowers

November 08, 2022

Thomas Tran

This is the Guide to the various parts of the flower that you wish you just knew before. You will be the expert on your block once you know all this info on the parts of a flower and be able to show off what you have learned and impress your friends.

Angiosperms are the group of plants that produces flowers. The flower is the blooming part of a plant and has many intricate details. The purpose of the flower is to serve as one of the main reproductive parts of the plant. Each part with its own function that aids in creating the next generation of plants through sexual reproduction.

Flowers in full bloom
Flowers in full bloom

As you can see in the illustration below, there are many parts that make up the anatomy of a flower. Each part functions specifically to benefit the flower. Perfect flowers, those that have both male (androecium) and female (gynoecium) reproductive structures. Flowers that contain both androecium and gynoecium are called hermaphroditic flowers. There are also flowers that are completely male that only contain the male organs and there are flowers that are also just female with female organs. In this article, we will focus on the hermaphroditic flowers in general.

cross reference of a flower
cross reference of a flower

The flowers grow on modified stems (Peduncle) that the plant produces. Generally these stems grow upward toward the sun and above the rest of the plant. This growth habit helps better present it to pollinators that are passing by and increases the chance the flower will be pollinated.

From the Stem, the next part up on the flower will be the Receptacle.

The Receptacle is the base of the flower. It is where the main parts of the flower begin and attaches to. In some plants, it becomes part of the fruit after fertilization.

The picture below illustrates these two parts on a rose blossom.

The Peduncle and Receptacle of a rose flower
The Peduncle and Receptacle of a rose flower

Moving up the flower, we come upon the Sepal. The sepal is a leaf -shaped structure that functions as protection for the flower in bud, and often as support for the petals when in bloom. It is found on the outermost part of the flower, and like a petal, a sepal is considered to be a modified leaf. However, sepals are more likely to be confused with leaves since they are typically, but not always, green.

The sepal of a flower is ablove the Receptacle and below the Petals
The sepal of a flower is ablove the Receptacle and below the Petals

The most well known part of the flower is the next part up on the flower. The petals, the part that people adore and is the most vibrant part of the flower. Often used to line the ground on special occasions, the petals main function is to attract pollinators. Not only do they attract pollinators, but they also attract the admiration of gardeners. Petals are made of cellulose and other organic matter. Petals are modified leaves which surround the reproductive parts of flowers. Petals on each flower is different, and the array of colors showcase every color of the rainbow.

Colorful red petals of the flame lily is what gives it it's name
Colorful red petals of the flame lily is what gives it it's name

The next major structure of a flower is the Pistil. The Pistil are the female parts of a hermaphrodite flower. These female parts are the Ovary or Ovule, the Stigma and the Style. The Ovary are the "egg cells" of the flower and is a pouch at the base of the pistil that develops into a fruit upon fertilization. The Stigma is the top part of the Pistil which receives the pollen. The Style is the prolongation of the ovary bearing a stigma at it's top. Therefore, it is what connects the two together.

The three different parts that consist of the Pistil
The three different parts that consist of the Pistil

Now lets take a look at the male portion of the flower. The male portion is called the Stamen. These are the male reproductive organs of the flower that consists of two parts, the Anther and Filament.

The Anther is a pod on top of the Stamen stalk which makes pollen. This is the male gamete of the plant world.

The Filament is the anther-bearing stalk of a stamen.

There can be multiple Stamens on a flower that increases the chances of pollen collection.

The Stamen portion of a flower
The Stamen portion of a flower

Now that you know the different parts to a flower, you will feel more empowered to identify them as you go about your day to day activities. This knowledge will help you grow as a gardener as you progress to bigger and better things.

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