media

Flowers

What flowers do when they're not busy looking good

A rose by any other name...well, how about the name "angiosperm," Latin for "enclosed seed"? Flowering plants directly affect all people on earth. Grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as cotton and linen, all come from the flowers of plants. So, what exactly is a flower?

Not only are many flowers beautiful to look at, they serve a purpose: they help the plant reproduce!

All flowers share the same basic features. Flowers form at the end of a specialized stem: a peduncle, or pedicel. This stem enlarges at its tip to form the receptacle, the structure to which the other plant parts are attached.

Sepals, protective coverings that are closed over the bud before it blooms, are the outermost flower parts. Inside the sepals are petals.

Petals attract pollinators (busy little bees) using both color and scent-producing glands. These glands are what make roses smell so nice.

If you look inside the petals you will see the flower's sexual organs: the stamens and pistil -- Oooh, la la! Each stamen produces pollen. At the center of the flower is the pistil, where the ovary is located. (Did you have any idea plants had ovaries?)

Within the ovary is the ovule, an egg-shaped structure that, when fertilized by a busy little bee transferring pollen, becomes a seed.

Sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it?