The thorny stems and pointed green leaves of the rose bush are not the reasons gardeners choose to grow the plant; it is the fragrant and lovely blossoms. Flowers are the primary reason for selecting many plants for the garden or landscape. However, the flower is not just an ornamental object; it serves a vital function for the plant. It is the plant’s reproductive system.
At the base of the flower head is the calyx, which cups the bottom of the blossom. The calyx is usually the first part of the flower to develop. Sepals comprise the calyx, and depending on the flower type, they might resemble leaves or flower petals. The primary function of the calyx is to protect the bud as it develops. The calyx is the section where the flower is attached to the stem.
It is the flower’s corolla that typically attracts our attention. Comprised of the flower’s petals, nature designed the corolla to lure birds or insects to the plant to assist in the pollination process. It might be the color, design or distinct fragrance of the flower’s petals that serves this purpose.
The male part of the flower is the stamen, which produces pollen. In many flowers, the stamen is comprised of an antler and filament, with the filament being a tall stalk and the antler located on the tip of the filament. Pollen-producing pockets make up the antler, and when ripe, they break open to release the pollen.
The female part of the flower is the pistil, which produces the plant’s seeds. In many flowers, the stigma, style and ovary make up the pistil. Located on the top of the pistil is the sticky stigma, to which the pollen affixes. From the stigma, the pollen moves down a tube, which is the style. The style leads to the ovary, which holds the seed. The pollen fertilizes the seed, and eventually the seed can mature into a new plant.
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