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BIOSC 846 Understanding Plant Biology, Clemson University Flower Morphology terms suggested by Dr. Ballard


An ending that, together with a number, indicates the number of each of the floral parts. Ex: 3-merous would mean having three parts of each kind



complete flower

A flower that has all four basic floral organs: sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels.

incomplete flower

A flower in which one or more of the four basic floral organs (sepals, petals, stamens, or carpels) are either absent or nonfunctional.

perfect flower

A flower with both stamens and pistils

imperfect flower

flowers have either male structures or female structures but not both, is also incomplete


imperfect, incomplete flowers that have only stamens (no pistils)


imperfect, incomplete flowers that have only pistils (no stamens)


imperfect flowers, both staminate (male) and pistillate (female) flowers occur on the same plant, ex: oak


imperfect flower,a plant species that has staminate and pistillate flowers on separate plants (i.e. male plants and female plants), ex: kiwi; cottonwoods (Populus), willows (Salix) and marijuana (Cannabis).


stalk of an individual flower


The portion of stem from the uppermost leaf node to the base of an inflorescence.


A leaflike or scalelike plant part, usually small, sometimes showy or brightly colored, and located just below a flower, examples: dogwood, poinsettia


a cluster of bracts


describes sepals that resemble petals


that part of the axis of the flower stalk that bears the floral organs


calyx and corolla collectively


Floral organization in which the sepals, petals, and stamens are attached to the receptacle below the ovary


flower parts are borne on receptacle above ovary


ovary is surrounded by a cup-like structure (hypanthium) derived from the fusion of other parts but not fused to ovary; superior or inferior

floral tube



A cup-shaped structure surrounding the ovary and formed by a fusion of the bases of the perianth segments (petals and sepals). Some references state that the hypanthium may also contain tissue from the receptacle. In the apple (a pome), the thickened, fleshy hypanthium is fused with the ovary wall (seed-bearing core). When you eat an apple, you are primarily biting into the hypanthium tissue.

superior ovary


inferior ovary


spiral arrangement of parts


whorl arrangement of parts



(botany) the whorl of sepals of a flower collectively forming the outer floral envelope or layer of the perianth enclosing and supporting the developing bud


A modified leaf in angiosperms that helps enclose and protect a flower bud before it opens; One of the outer components of the calyx,


petals collectively


member of the second whorl of a flower, often large and showy

corolla tube


regular corolla


irregular corolla





collective term for stamens


The pollen-containing portion of a stamen. Anthers are attached to filaments, the two parts together making a stamen.


The lower, often threadlike, part of a stamen. Anthers are attached to the distal end of filaments. Together, a filament and anther form a stamen. Wind-pollinated plants have stamens with long, flexible filaments and versatile anthers. Animal-pollinated plants usually have short, stiff flaments.




collective term for pistils. It can be composed of one simple pistil, many simple pistils, or a compound pistil


The part of the style that is receptive to pollen, usually at the end or tip of the style.


The sometimes elongated portion between the ovary and the stigma; connects the two structures.


Chamber; used to refer to the separate sections within an ovary.



ovary wall






parietal placentation


axile placentation




simple ovary


compound ovary


evolutionary trends in floral structure


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