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External Parts of a Flower

By Athena Hessong ; Updated September 21, 2017
The parts of a flower play their own roles in reproduction.
apple-tree flower. part 2. image by Denis Smolentsev from Fotolia.com

The external parts of a flower all play their own roles in helping the flower reproduce. Complete flowers have both male and female parts for reproducing, but incomplete flowers have only one part on their flowers, requiring a companion plant of the opposite sex to reproduce.


The white pistil of this flower is surrounded by shorter anthers covered in yellow pollen.
pistil d'amaryllis image by Maurice METZGER from Fotolia.com

The female part of the plant draws the pollen onto the stigma when pollination occurs. At the base of the stigma, inside the plant, lies the flower's ovary with the eggs for reproduction. The pollen travels down the stigma to the ovary to meet the eggs of the flower in the same way sperm meets an egg in an animal.


The leaf-like sepals protect the flower bud.
bud image by Anna Kowalczyk from Fotolia.com

The sepals look like leaves at the base of the flower and protect the young flower bud from harm as it grows. All sepals on a flower are called calyx.


Bright orange pollen covers the anthers and the end of the stamen of the flower.
stamen of flower image by JoLin from Fotolia.com

The stamen hold the anther, which creates pollen. A tall filament supports the anther so the pollen grabs onto the wind, an insect or animal to be carried to the stigma portion in the pistil of the flower for pollination.


Flower petals use bright colors and odors to attract pollinators.
petals image by siloto from Fotolia.com

Flowers sport bright petals often with a floral scent to encourage bees to come to the flower. When a bee lands on the flower to collect pollen, it helps pollinate the plant by transferring pollen from the anther in the stamen to the stigma in the pistil.