Basic Flower Parts
The flower consists of many different parts. Some are structural and have certain functions that support the flower and give each flower its distinctive characteristics. Other parts are for reproduction and are separated into male and female parts.
The major parts of most flowers:
PETAL – Petals are what give a flower its unique shape, and are often brightly colored to attract insects and creatures who aid in the fertilization of ovules through pollination.
SEPAL – The the small parts growing at the base of the petals that look like leaves. They cover the outside of the flower and protect the flower before it blossoms.
PEDICEL – The the stem or stalk of a single flower. It is the stem that attaches a single flower to an inflorescence.
RECEPTACLE – The thickened part at the bottom of the flower which holds its major organs.
THE PISTIL is the female part of the flower. It is made up of the stigma, style, and ovary.
Each pistil is constructed of one to many rolled leaflike structures.
STIGMA – The head of the pistil. It is the sticky bulb that you see in the center of the flowers, it is the part of the pistil of a flower that receives pollen which will begin the process of fertilization.
STYLE – This is the name for the stalk of the pistil. This is the long stalk upon which the stigma sits.
When pollen reaches the stigma, it begins to grow a tube through the style called a pollen tube, which will eventually reach the ovary. The style serves as a buffer against pollen contamination, since only compatible pollen is able to grow a pollen tube.
OVARY – The base of the pistil, usually at the bottom of the flower. This organ holds the ovules (eggs) awaiting fertilization. and turns into the fruit that we eat.
OVULES – Inside the ovary are the ovules. These are the flower’s eggs. Upon fertilization by pollen, they will eventually grow into a seed.
The male part of the flower consists of three major parts:
ANTHER – The head of the stamen. The anther is responsible for the production of pollen, which will hopefully be transported to the pistil by animals or insects, such as bees. This is a crucial part of the reproduction of the plant.
FILAMENT – This is the stalk that holds the anther and attaches it to the flower.
It is amazing that flower have the ability to create seeds which create new plants.
This is called reproduction. As with animals, plants need both a male cell and a female cell to create a new life. There are two types of flowers.
Some flowers, called imperfect flowers, have only either male or female organs. So, imperfect flowers require a separate flower of the opposite gender to reproduce. People are like imperfect flowers. To reproduce, they need a male person and a female person.
Perfect flowers, on the other hand, have both a stamen and a pistil, and are able to reproduce on their own.
We eat flowers all the time.
Some of the flowering parts of vegetable plants are edible. Broccoli, and cauliflower are both the flowering part of a plant. There are thousands of flowers that are not considered vegetables. Some are not only pretty to look at, they can be eaten, too! Garden flowers have been eaten for thousands of years. They have been used for many years in Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines and are known to have been cooked by the ancient Romans. In Europe early writings have included the account of a medieval feast where venison was cooked with marigolds and salads made with violets. When used with care, they can add a new dimension to recipes both for flavour and aesthetically.
ALWAYS BE CAREFUL
While many flowers are edible, some are poisonous. It’s best to stick to the one’s you know are ok. And always wash them before eating.
- Calendula/pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) comes in yellow, gold, or orange flowers with a tangy, peppery taste.
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum coronarium) produces mild-favored, flowers in shades of yellow to white.
- African marigold (Tagetes erecta) has white, gold, yellow, or red flowers with a strongly pungent flavor.
- Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia) features white, gold, yellow, or red flowers with a citrus flavor.
- Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) has flowers in shades of white to red, with a watercress and peppery flavor.
- Pansy/viola (Viola spp.) has violet, white, pink, yellow, or multi-colored flowers with a sweet flavor.
- Petunia (Petunia hybrida) has a wide range of colors and a mild flavor
- Garden salvia (Salvia officinalis) features blue, purple, white, or pink flowers with a slightly musky flavor.
- Radish (Raphanus sativus) has yellow, spicy-hot flowers.
- Scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.) has white, red, pink, or purple flowers with flavors such as apple or
- lemon, depending on the variety.
- Scarlet runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus) has bright orange to scarlet flowers with a mild, raw bean flavor.
- Squash (Cucurbita spp.) has yellow to orange flowers with a mild, raw squash flavor.
- Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) features white, yellow, orange, or burgundy flowers. Unopened buds taste like a mild artichoke. Flower petals are bittersweet.
The World’s Biggest Flowers
The plant with the world’s largest single flower is the Rafflesia arnoldii. This rare flower is found in the rainforests of Indonesia. It can grow to be 3 feet across and weigh up to 15 pounds! It is a parasitic plant, with no visible leaves, roots, or stem.
Photo Credit/Source: https://natandbio.wordpress.com/2016/03/13/la-flor-mas-grande-del-mundo-rafflesia-arnoldii/
Rafflesia is also famous for its scent. It is sometimes called the “corpse flower,” because the large bloom stinks like rotting meat—an adaptation it has developed to attract the flies that help pollinate the plant.
But title for “largest flower” is not always as simple as measuring the flower. Another plant, the Amorphophallus titanium can grow 10 feet in height, but, unlike Rafflesia, however, this large structure is not a single flower, but rather an inflorescence which is a group or cluster of multiple flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of brancheshundreds of small buds on a single stalk. The Amorphophallus titanium is also sometimes called “corpse flower.” Both plants depend upon scent to attract pollinators…. in this case a stinky smell to attract flies!
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons