Most flowers have four main parts the: carpel, stamen, petals and sepals. The carpel is the female part of the flower whereas the stamen is the male part. Most flowers are hermaphrodite meaning they contain both female and male parts. Others may contain only one of the two parts which may be a male or female part. If a flower has all four of these key parts, it is considered to be a complete flower. If any one of these elements is missing, it is called an incomplete flower.
The female part of a flower, carpel is also called the pistil. It has an ovary which is the female reproductive organ.
The ovary has ovules which are the reproductive cells that become seeds when fertilized. At the top of the flower there is a sticky receptive tip called the stigma, to collect pollen. A style supports the stigma and is used to transport pollen to the ovary.
White or coloured petals round the flower are used to attract bees, insects and birds to polinate the flower.
Sepals which are small leaf-like structures beneath the petals, that were used to protect the flower when it was a bud
Bracts on the stem beneath the flower are a modified special form of leaf.
(c) Compiled by B V & T M Wood. All rights reserved. Disclaimer