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Androecium (more...)

An alternative term for the male part of the flower.

Anther (more...)

Part of the stamen (usually at the tip) that bears the pollen sacs.  The remainder of the stamen is referred to as the filament.


The opening of the flower.  Agronomists sometimes use the number of days after anthesis as a means of measuring the maturity of a seed crop.

Areole (more...)

The areole is a small cushion of stiff hairs or spines, normally regarded as a modified bud.  Presence of areoles is the diagnostic feature of the family Cactaceae.

Bulb (more...)

A bulb is an underground dormancy structure: essentially an entire plant - stem, leaves, flower and roots - compressed into a single compact body, consisting mainly of thickened storage leaf bases.  True bulbs are almost always monocotyledonous, Oxalis purpurea being the unique (known) exception.

Bulbils (more...)

Bulbils are the new, developing bulbs produced as offsets around the base plate of the mother bulb.  When mature, these can be detached and grown as separate plants.

Calyx (more...)

The calyx is the collective term for the ring of sepals which lie outside the petals and often cover them while the flower is at the bud stage.  They are usually green and relatively inconspicuous, though occasionally they can take over the roll of the petals as the main source of the flower's colour display.

Corolla (more...)

The corolla is the collective name for the petals.

Dehisce/Dehiscence (more...)

Dehiscence is the bursting open of a structure such as a fruit, pod or anther upon ripening.  In the case of an anther it is often accompanied by eversion.  In the case of a pod or other ripe fruiting body it is a mechanism for seed release and dispersal.  It some species it can happen quite violently, scattering seeds over moderate distances without the help of animals, birds or the wind.

Evert/Eversion (more...)

Essentially, to evert is to turn inside out.  Eversion frequently takes place following dehiscence, typically of anthers, to expose the pollen to the wind/visiting insects.

Exine (more...)

The outer coating of the pollen grain.

Filament (more...)

The stamen generally consists of two structural elements: the anther and the filament.  The filament is the 'stem' which supports the anther.  It is ususally very thin, consisting of a vascular bundle and a minimum amount of support tissue.

Glochid (more...)

A glochid is a thin, barbed bristle, found in the areoles of many Opuntias.

Perianth (more...)

The perianth is the collective name for those structures which lie outside the stigma and stamens.  In practice, that usually means it becomes a collective term for the corolla and the calyx.

Petal (more...)

The petals are the individual units that make up the corolla.  They are often brightly coloured and usually the most obvious feature of the flower.

Pistil (more...)

The pistil is essentially the female part of the flower.  It consists of the style, stigma and ovary.

Pollen/Pollination (more...)

Pollen grains are the male reproductive cells in flowering plants.  They are produced by the anthers and transferred to the stigmas either of the same flower, other flowers on the same plant or other plants, a process known as pollination.

In some species, the pollen grains may be small and inconspicuous, in others like Lilium they are often large, deeply pigmented and a major feature of the flower.

Scape (more...)

A leafless, flower bearing stem arising straight from the base of the plant, frequently hollow, but sometimes pithy.

Sepal (more...)

The sepals are the individual units that make up the calyx.

Stamen (more...)

The stamens collectively make up the male part of the flower, there may be three of four of them or more than a thousand.  Each consists of the filament and the anther.

Stigma (more...)

The stigma is a specialised surface, usually at the tip of the style, which accepts the male pollen.

Tepal (more...)

Tepal is the term used to describe sepals/petals where there is no clear differentiation between the two.