The complexities and intricacies of flowers have long fascinated biologists and have been a source of inspiration and solace to poets, painters and everyday people.
Flowers are the reproductive units of plants in the Angiosperm group (flowering plants). This group comprises more than 90% of all plants on Earth.
Flowers present immense diversity in shape, size, colour, and anatomical arrangement, and can range from tiny flowers to monster blooms. However, regardless of their variety, all flowers have the same purpose - the reproduction of the species through the production of seed.
The Anatomy of a Flower
Fig. The anatomy of a eudicotomous, hermaphroditic flower.
Petal - the outer parts of a flower, usually brightly coloured to attract pollinators, which unknowingly aid in the fertilization of ovule.
Sepal - the outermost parts of the flower that surrounds and protects the flower bud.
Female organs (Pistil):
Stigma - the sticky part at the top of the style that receives the pollen during fertilization.
Style - the long tube that connects the stigma to the ovary and guides the pollen directly to the ovary.
Ovary - the enlarged basal portion of the pistil that contains the female reproductive cells (ovule) and, when fertilized, will mature into a fruit.
Ovule - the small structure in the ovary that develops into a seed after fertilization.
Male organs (Stamen):
Anther - the part of the male reproductive organs that develop and contains pollen.
Filament - the very thin thread that connects the anthers to the basal part of the flower.
A flower with sepals, petals, pistils and stamens is complete; a flower lacking one or more of these structures is described as incomplete.
Both the male and females structures are not always present together in all flowers. When both are present, the flower is said to be perfect, or bisexual. A flower that lacks male structures is female (pistillate), while one that lacks female structures is male (staminate).