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Flowers and Fruit. Flower Structure. Generalized flowers - 2 outer sets of sterile parts, 2 inner sets of fertile parts Outer sterile part - sepals, collectively the calyx - may do photosynthesis, protect flower, usually like leaves in texture, protect bud - form outer covering of bud

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Flowers and Fruit

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Flowers and fruit l.jpg

Flowers and Fruit

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Flower Structure

  • Generalized flowers - 2 outer sets of sterile parts, 2 inner sets of fertile parts

  • Outer sterile part - sepals, collectively the calyx - may do photosynthesis, protect flower, usually like leaves in texture, protect bud - form outer covering of bud

  • Next sterile part - petals - not like leaves in texture, usually not green, collectively called corolla - petalloid - petal like in appearance

  • Both sepals and petals can be fused - so sepals joined together, petals joined together

  • Perianth - calyx and corolla together - used when the two cannot be distinguished - sometimes sepals and petals are called tepals for perianth if very similar in appearance – like in Tulips

  • If only one set of sterile parts, they are always called sepals; sometimes whole perianth is missing

  • First fertile parts - stamens - male – androecium - Can be sterile and modified to look like petals

  • Innermost fertile parts - pistils, female - gynoecium

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Yellow rose – many “petals” are actually modified

sterile “petalloid” stamens

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Carpels and Ovaries

  • Flowering plants always have enclosed ovary wrapped in a carpel - nonflowering plants don't - this is the vessel of the angiosperm

  • Carpel is highly modified leaf - a simple pistil is one ovary

  • Pistil may be made up of one carpel or several fused carpels

  • Often the bottom part called the ovary, with stigma at top to receive pollen, style connects them - fused carpels may have separate style and stigma or they may all be fused

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Helleborus – five separate carpels

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Malus – crab apple – typical flower structure

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Plant Sexuality

  • Monoecious - separate flowers for male and female both on one plant - corn

  • Dioecious - male and female plants are separate - separate sexes - gingko

  • Perfect flower - flower has stamens and carpels – bisexual flowers

  • Imperfect flower - lacks either stamens or carpels - will be staminate or carpellate (pistillate)

  • Complete - has sepals, petals, stamens and carpels

  • Incomplete - lacking one of the 4 main flower parts

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Complete and Incomplete Flowers

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Jatropha – monoecious but insect pollinated

Female left, male right

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Dioecious - Holly

Female flower Male flower Berries on female

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Inflorescence terms

  • Often flowers, especially small flowers, are gathered into a structure known as an inflorescence – an aggregation of flowers on a single flowering branch

  • bract - more or less modified leaf that subtends flower or flower groups - bract can look like normal leaf

  • bract can also look like petal - petalous - dogwoods have big white "petals" that are really petaloid bracts

  • peduncle - stalk of cluster of flowers

  • pedicel - stalk of individual flower

  • petiole - leaf stalk

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Dogwood with petalloid leafy bracts

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Types of Inflorescence

1. indeterminant - youngest flower at apex - in theory could produce flowers forever - some may by fruiting while apex still flowering - include - racemes, panicle, spike, corymb, head, umbel, catkin

2. determinant - oldest flowers at apex - moving down younger flowers - cyme, scorpiod cyme

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Panicum - switchgrass

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Spike – prairie blazing star

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Wild parsnip Queen Anne’s Lace

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Sunflower –

Composite head


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Alder catkin

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Scorpoid Cyme


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Skunk cabbage inflorescence – a spathe and spadix

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Pollination syndromes

among the phloxes

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Magnolia – beetle pollinated

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covered with


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Scotch broom – bee pollinated

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beebalm –

Monarda sp.

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With visible lightwith UV light

Nectar guides for honeybees

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Cyrtid fly


a composite

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Caralluma – carrion fly pollinated

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Erysimum – butterfly pollinated

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Episcia – moth pollinated

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Hummingbird pollination

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Ipomopsis aggregata – hummingbird pollinated

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Greater double-collared sunbird

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Proteus – pollinated by perching birds

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Bat Pollination

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Box elder – wind pollinated – female left, male right

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Wild oats –

Whole plant

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Wild oat flower – close up

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Fruit Types

  • A fruit may be defined as a matured ovary

  • There are two basic fruit types – dry or fleshy. These types arise from the development of the pericarp

  • The pericarp may become dry and these form dry fruits

  • The pericarp may also become soft, thick and fleshy – and these form fleshy fruits

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Apples and Pears

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