A Lesson On Flower Biology

Jul 22, 2018

Credit LSU AgCenter

In many ways, having a plant produce a flower is our trophy as gardeners for doing such a good job in the care and maintenance of our landscape plans. But there is much more to a flower than the symbolism of success. To understand flower biology, you must understand the parts of a flower.

The main components are the sepals, the leaf-like structures under the flower itself; the pedals, the colored part of the flower, which contain the perfume and nectar glands, and are the part to which we're more attracted; and, lastly, the male and female parts of the flower, which are responsible for production of the seed.

The pistol, or the female portion of the flower, contains the stigma, style, and ovary. The male component, the stamen, contains the anthers and the filaments.

There are many flower types, such as complete and incomplete flowers, and then perfect and imperfect flowers. Complete flowers contain all of the components listed above. The incomplete flowers contain any one of these components. The perfect flowers contain both male and female parts. Imperfect flowers will contain only male parts or female parts. Plants with incomplete flowers can be further subdivided into two types: monoecious plants and dioicous plants.

Monoecious is Latin for "one house." Monoecious refers to plants that produce separate male and female flowers but have them all residing on the same plant. Examples of monoecious plants include: corn, pecan, oak, cucumber, watermelon, squash, and zucchini. This helps understand why these plants don't always produce a fruit or seed at the moment you see a flower. This is because you might have a plant at any given time that might be producing only male flowers. Wait a while, and you'll get male and female flowers at the same time.

Dioicous plants have male flowers and female flowers on two different plants. Examples include: hollies, maples, and gingkoes.