The biological function of a flower

A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants. The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs.  Flowers contain sporangia and are the site where gametophytes develop. Flowers give rise to fruit and seeds. Many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen.

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.

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.

-Walter Hagen

For example, the addition of intercalary growth at or below the base of the primordia of floral appendages such as sepals, petals, stamens and carpels may lead to a common base that is not the result of fusion. 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.

tulips
Tulips

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. Flowers show great variation and plant scientists describe this variation in a systematic way to identify and distinguish species. Referring to “fusion,” as it is commonly done, appears questionable because at least some of the processes involved may be non-fusion processes.

For example, the addition of intercalary growth at or below the base of the primordia of floral appendages such as sepals, petals, stamens and carpels may lead to a common base that is not the result of fusion. 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.

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