plz explain morphology of flower.

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The flower is the reproductive unit in the angiosperms. It is meant for sexual reproduction. A typical flower has four different kinds of whorls arranged successively on the swollen end of the stalk or pedicel, called thalamus or receptacle. These are calyx, corolla, androecium and gynoecium. Calyx and corolla are accessory organs, while androecium and gynoecium are reproductive organs. In some flowers like lily, the calyx and corolla are not distinct and are termed as perianth.

structure of flower

When a flower has both androecium and gynoecium, it is bisexual. A flower having either only stamens or only carpels is unisexual.

Symmetry of Flowers: In symmetry, the flower may be actinomorphic (radial symmetry) or zygomorphic (bilateral symmetry). When a flower can be divided into two equal radial halves in any radial plane passing through the centre, it is said to be actinomorphic, e.g., mustard, datura, chilli. When it can be divided into two similar halves only in one particular vertical plane, it is zygomorphic, e.g., pea, gulmohur, bean, Cassia. A flower is asymmetric (irregular) if it cannot be divided into two similar halves by any vertical plane passing through the centre, as in canna.

A flower may be trimerous, tetramerous or pentamerous when the floral appendages are in multiple of 3, 4 or 5, respectively. Flowers with bracts, reduced leaf found at the base of the pedicel, are called bracteate and those without bracts, ebracteate.

position of ovary

Hypogynous Flower: Based on the position of calyx, corolla and androecium in respect of the ovary on thalamus, the flowers are described as hypogynous perigynous and epigynous. In the hypogynous flower the gynoecium occupies the highest position while the other parts are situated below it. The ovary in such flowers is said to be superior, e.g., mustard, china rose and brinjal.

Perigynous Flower: If gynoecium is situated in the centre and other parts of the flower are located on the rim of the thalamus almost at the same level, it is called perigynous. The ovary here is said to be half inferior, e.g., plum, rose, peach.

Epigynous Flower: In epigynous flowers, the margin of thalamus grows upward enclosing the ovary completely and getting fused with it, the other parts of flower arise above the ovary. Hence, the ovary is said to be inferior as in flowers of guava and cucumber, and the ray florets of sunflower.

Parts of a Flower: Each flower normally has four floral whorls, viz., calyx, corolla, androecium and gynoecium.

Calyx: The calyx is the outermost whorl of the flower and the members are called sepals. Generally, sepals are green, leaf like and protect the flower in the bud stage. The calyx may be gamosepalous (sepals united) or polysepalous (sepals free).

Corolla: Corolla is composed of petals. Petals are usually brightly coloured to attract insects for pollination. Like calyx, corolla may be also free (gamopetalous) or united (polypetalous). The shape and colour of corolla vary greatly in plants. Corolla may be tubular, bell-shaped, funnel-shaped or wheel-shaped.

Aestivation: The mode of arrangement of sepals or petals in floral bud with respect to the other members of the same whorl is known as aestivation. The main types of aestivation are valvate, twisted, imbricate and vexillary.


Valvate: When sepals or petals in a whorl just touch one another at the margin, without overlapping, as in Calotropis, it is said to be valvate.

Twisted: If one margin of the appendage overlaps that of the next one and so on as in china rose, lady’s finger and cotton, it is called twisted.

Imbricate: If the margins of sepals or petals overlap one another but not in any particular direction as in Cassia and gulmohur, the aestivation is called imbricate.

Vexillary: In pea and bean flowers, there are five petals, the largest (standard) overlaps the two lateral petals (wings) which in turn overlap the two smallest anterior petals (keel); this type of aestivation is known as vexillary or papilionaceous.


Androecium is composed of stamens. Each stamen which represents the male reproductive organ consists of a stalk or a filament and an anther. Each anther is usually bilobed and each lobe has two chambers, the pollen-sacs. The pollen grains are produced in pollen-sacs. A sterile stamen is called staminode. Stamens of flower may be united with other members such as petals or among themselves. When stamens are attached to the petals, they are epipetalous as in brinjal, or epiphyllous when attached to the perianth as in the flowers of lily. The stamens in a flower may either remain free (polyandrous) or may be united in varying degrees. The stamens may be united into one bunch or one bundle (monoadelphous) as in china rose, or two bundles (diadelphous) as in pea, or into more than two bundles (polyadelphous) as in citrus. There may be a variation in the length of filaments within a flower, as in Salvia and mustard.


Gynoecium is the female reproductive part of the flower and is made up of one or more carpels. A carpel consists of three parts namely stigma, style and ovary. Ovary is the enlarged basal part, on which lies the elongated tube, the style. The style connects the ovary to the stigma. The stigma is usually at the tip of the style and is the receptive surface for pollen grains. Each ovary bears one or more ovules attached to a flattened, cushion-like placenta. When more than one carpel is present, they may be free (as in lotus and rose) and are called apocarpous. They are termed syncarpous when carpels are fused, as in mustard and tomato. After fertilisation, the ovules develop into seeds and the ovary matures into a fruit.

Placentation: The arrangement of ovules within the ovary is known as placentation. The placentation are of different types namely, marginal, axile, parietal, basal, central and free central.


Marginal: In marginal placentation the placenta forms a ridge along the ventral suture of the ovary and the ovules are borne on this ridge forming two rows, as in pea.

Axile: When the placenta is axial and the ovules are attached to it in a multilocular ovary, the placentaion is said to be axile, as in china rose, tomato and lemon.

Parietal: In parietal placentation, the ovules develop on the inner wall of the ovary or on peripheral part. Ovary is one-chambered but it becomes two-chambered due to the formation of the false septum, e.g., mustard and Argemone. When the ovules are borne on central axis and septa are absent, as in Dianthus and Primrose the placentation is called free central.

Basal: In basal placentation, the placenta develops at the base of ovary and a single ovule is attached to it, as in sunflower, marigold.

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Diagram showing the main parts of a mature flower

A stereotypical flower consists of four kinds of structures attached to the tip of a short stalk. Each of these kinds of parts is arranged in a whorl on the receptacle. The four main whorls (starting from the base of the flower or lowest node and working upwards) are as follows:

  • Calyx: the outermost whorl consisting of units called sepals; these are typically green and enclose the rest of the flower in the bud stage, however, they can be absent or prominent and petal-like in some species.
  • Corolla: the next whorl toward the apex, composed of units called petals, which are typically thin, soft and colored to attract animals that help the process of pollination.
  • Androecium (from Greek andros oikia: man's house): the next whorl (sometimes multiplied into several whorls), consisting of units called stamens. Stamens consist of two parts: a stalk called a filament, topped by an anther where pollen is produced by meiosis and eventually dispersed.
  • Gynoecium (from Greek gynaikos oikia: woman's house): the innermost whorl of a flower, consisting of one or more units called carpels. The carpel or multiple fused carpels form a hollow structure called an ovary, which produces ovules internally. Ovules are megasporangia and they in turn produce megaspores by meiosis which develop into female gametophytes. These give rise to egg cells. The gynoecium of a flower is also described using an alternative terminology wherein the structure one sees in the innermost whorl (consisting of an ovary, style and stigma) is called a pistil. A pistil may consist of a single carpel or a number of carpels fused together. The sticky tip of the pistil, the stigma, is the receptor of pollen. The supportive stalk, the style, becomes the pathway for pollen tubes to grow from pollen grains adhering to the stigma.

Although the arrangement described above is considered "typical", plant species show a wide variation in floral structure. These modifications have significance in the evolution of flowering plants and are used extensively by botanists to establish relationships among plant species.

Christmas Lily (Lilium longiflorum). 1. Stigma, 2. Style, 3. Stamens, 4. Filament, 5. Petal

The four main parts of a flower are generally defined by their positions on the receptacle and not by their function. Many flowers lack some parts or parts may be modified into other functions and/or look like what is typically another part. In some families, like Ranunculaceae, the petals are greatly reduced and in many species the sepals are colorful and petal-like. Other flowers have modified stamens that are petal-like, the double flowers of Peonies and Roses are mostly petaloid stamens.[1] Flowers show great variation and plant scientists describe this variation in a systematic way to identify and distinguish species.

Specific terminology is used to describe flowers and their parts. Many flower parts are fused together; fused parts originating from the same whorl are connate, while fused parts originating from different whorls are adnate, parts that are not fused are free. When petals are fused into a tube or ring that falls away as a single unit, they are sympetalous (also called gamopetalous.) Connate petals may have distinctive regions: the cylindrical base is the tube, the expanding region is the throat and the flaring outer region is the limb. A sympetalous flower, with bilateral symmetry with an upper and lower lip, is bilabiate. Flowers with connate petals or sepals may have various shaped corolla or calyx including: campanulate, funnelform, tubular, urceolate, salverform or rotate.

Many flowers have a symmetry. When the perianth is bisected through the central axis from any point, symmetrical halves are produced, forming a radial symmetry. These flowers are also known to be actinomorphic or regular, e.g. rose or trillium. When flowers are bisected and produce only one line that produces symmetrical halves the flower is said to be irregular or zygomorphic, e.g. snapdragon or most orchids.

Flowers may be directly attached to the plant at their base (sessile—the supporting stalk or stem is highly reduced or absent). The stem or stalk subtending a flower is called a peduncle. If a peduncle supports more than one flower, the stems connecting each flower to the main axis are called pedicels. The apex of a flowering stem forms a terminal swelling which is called the torus or receptacle.

Floral formula

Floral diagram for the genus Nepenthes

A floral formula is a way to represent the structure of a flower using specific letters, numbers, and symbols. Typically, a general formula will be used to represent the flower structure of a plant family rather than a particular species. The following representations are used:

Ca = calyx (sepal whorl; e. g. Ca5 = 5 sepals)
Co = corolla (petal whorl; e. g., Co3(x) = petals some multiple of three )
Z = add if zygomorphic (e. g., CoZ6 = zygomorphic with 6 petals)
A = androecium (whorl of stamens; e. g., A = many stamens)
G = gynoecium (carpel or carpels; e. g., G1 = monocarpous)

x: to represent a "variable number"
∞: to represent "many"

A floral formula would appear something like this:

Ca5Co5A10 - ∞G1

Several additional symbols are sometimes used (see Key to Floral Formulas).


The familiar calla lily is not a single flower. It is actually an inflorescence of tiny flowers pressed together on a central stalk that is surrounded by a large petal-like bract.

In those species that have more than one flower on an axis, the collective cluster of flowers is termed an inflorescence. Some inflorescences are composed of many small flowers arranged in a formation that resembles a single flower. The common example of this is most members of the very large composite (Asteraceae) group. A single daisy or sunflower, for example, is not a flower but a flower head—an inflorescence composed of numerous flowers (or florets).

An inflorescence may include specialized stems and modified leaves known as bracts.

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