Flowers arrest our attention with color and scent, please us so much that countries and states adopt them as emblems and fascinate us so much they become symbols of language. "I love you," says a flower, an eloquent herald because it is a master at finding favor. Indeed, it has evolved to find favor, a flower's beauty playing a role in reproduction. When flowering plants reproduce, seeds and fruits result, supporting animal life. Thus, seeing to the welfare of flowering plants promotes our own.
Flowers come with a maximum of four parts, which are arranged in whorls or spirals. Starting from the stem, the parts are the sepals, petals, the androecium and the gynoecium. The sepals, which collectively are called the calyx, exist to protect the flower bud as it develops. The petals protect the inner part of the flower and attract pollinators. The androecium is composed of stamens while the gynoecium is one or more carpels, usually merged into a single pistil.
Flowering plants reproduce sexually. Flowers are actually the sexual organs of plants--the androecium and gynoecium are the male and female parts, respectively. The stamens of the androecium produce pollen, which contains sperm. The gynoecium, meanwhile, contains the egg. When sperm meets egg, an embryo results; this embryo develops into a seed. The ovary of the gynoecium swells and ripens to become fruit.
Male and/or Female
Some plants are self-fertilizing--that is, they have both male and female parts. Other plants, though, are incomplete. Rather than being bisexual, they are unisexual, making them either male or female. The flowers, too, are considered male, female or bisexual. Some plants produce both male and female flowers, others bloom with only one of the sexes. For these plants to successfully reproduce, male and female plants must be planted near one another.
Flowering plants that have evolved to employ wind power for their pollination tend to produce small flowers. They don't need to be showy because they don't need to attract pollinators. Flowers with vivid color, markings, interesting shapes and scent, on the other hand, are showy to attract pollinators. Some flowers have evolved to attract specific kinds of creatures. For instance, a flower that smells like rotting flesh is trying to attract those flies that like to visit carrion.
Some flowering plants sprout, grow, bloom, seed, fruit and sie in one growing season. These are called annuals. Others live for two growing season, going into dormancy for the winter after producing fleshy food storage parts like tubers. They loom, seed, fruit and die in the second season. Perennials live for many years. They might produce vegetation for many years before they start blooming and fruiting, this going on for years, sometimes centuries.