Garden News: Flowers are more than just a pretty face

Garden News: Flowers are more than just a pretty face


Flowers are gardeners’ trophies for doing a great job.

But there’s much more to a flower than the symbol of success.

To understand some flower biology, first you must understand the parts of a flower. The main components of a flower are the sepals, which are leaflike structures under the flower. The petals are the colored portion of the flower and contain perfumes and nectar glands. Then there’s the male and female components of the flower, which are responsible for the production of seed. The pistol, the female portion of a flower, contains the stigma, style and ovary, which contains the eggs. The male components are called the stamen, which consists of the anthers and the filament.

In the landscape are many flower types, such as complete and incomplete flowers and perfect and imperfect flowers.

Complete flowers are those that contain all components. Incomplete flowers are missing any one of the components. Perfect flowers contain male and female parts, while imperfect flowers will lack one of the two. 

Incomplete flowers can be further subdivided into monoecious plants and dioecious plants. The term monoecious is Latin for one house. Monoecious plants are those species that produce separate male and female flowers but are on the same plant. Examples of monoecious plants are corn, pecan, oak, cucumbers, watermelon, squash and zucchini.

Dioecious plants, Latin for two houses, have male flowers on one plant and female flowers on a separate plant. Examples of dioecious plants are hollies, maples and ginkgo.

Knowing a little flower biology may help you better understand the plants in your landscape. 

Got a question?

Email Follow Lee Rouse on Instagram at @rouses_horticulture.

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