Flowers enhance the beauty and appeal of any landscape. Many people observe just the petals on a flower, but on close inspection you will notice that it is comprised of many different parts, each with a special function. Imperfect flowers feature only male or female parts while perfect flowers include both. Male and female parts assist in reproduction when insects or wind transfer pollen from one to another.
Petals form the brightest, most colorful and usually scented part of a flower. They attract pollinators such as insects or small animals, or people who marvel at the color and beauty. Besides being the most apparent part, petals structure the flower, give it shape, and protect the inner parts from elements such as strong winds, rainfall, snow and sun. The petals open as a flower matures and dry out or wither with age.
Resembling tiny green petals, sepals cover and nurture a developing flower bud and protect it from the elements so it thrives. These are situated near the base of the flower and shield it.
The female part of a flower is called the pistil. The tubular pistil has a bulbus base with ovules. It is comprised of four parts--stigma, style, ovary and ovule. The stigma is the upper part of the pistil with a sticky bulb in the center that catches pollen grains. The stigma rests on the style, which is a long stalk that transfers pollen grains to the ovules. The ovary is the lower part of a flower that contains ovules, or the seeds. The seeds develop into flowers or fruit.
The male part of a flower is called the stamen. It produces pollen for the flowers and is comprised of two parts--the filament and antler. The antler, which is usually yellow, produces pollen grains and features tiny sacs that give it a rounded appearance. It rests on top of the filament that supports it. The filament resembles a delicate, hair-like stalk. Unlike a self-pollinating flower that pollinates itself, cross pollination occurs when insects or bees carry pollen grains from the antler of one flower to another flower. The number of stamens and petals in a flower are usually the same.
The part that attaches the base of the flower to the stalk or stem is called the receptacle. Resembling a cup, the receptacle is situated in the middle of the sepal and is broken from the stalk when picking fruit.