Reviewed by test from testheaven on Tuesday, February 25, 2014
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For other uses, see Flower (disambiguation).
"Floral" redirects here. For other uses, see Floral (disambiguation).
A poster with flowers or clusters of flowers produced by twelve species of flowering plants from different families
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of [...] with eggs. Flowers may facilitate outcrossing (fusion of [...] and eggs from different individuals in a population) or allow selfing (fusion of [...] and egg from the same flower). Some flowers produce diaspores without fertilization (parthenocarpy). 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.
In addition to facilitating the reproduction of flowering plants, flowers have long been admired and used by humans to beautify their environment, and also as objects of romance, ritual, religion, medicine and as a source of food.
• 1 Morphology
o 1.1 Inflorescence
• 2 Development
o 2.1 Flowering transition
o 2.2 Organ development
• 3 Floral function
o 3.1 Flower specialization and pollination
• 4 Pollination
o 4.1 Attraction methods
o 4.2 Pollination mechanism
o 4.3 Flower-pollinator relationships
• 5 Fertilization and dispersal
• 6 Evolution
• 7 Symbolism
• 8 Usage
• 9 See also
• 10 References
• 11 Further readings
• 12 External links
Diagram showing the main parts of a mature flower
Left: A normal zygomorphic Streptocarpus flower. Right: An aberrant peloric Streptocarpus flower. Both of these flowers appeared on the Streptocarpus hybrid 'Anderson's Crows' Wings'.
A stereotypical flower consists of four kinds of structures attached to the tip of a short stalk. Each of these kinds of parts is arranged in a whorl on the )receptacle. The four main whorls (starting from the base of the flower or lowest node and working upwards) are as follows:
• Calyx: the outermost whorl consisting of units called sepals; these are typically green and enclose the rest of the flower in the bud stage, however, they can be absent or prominent and petal-like in some species.
• Corolla: the next whorl toward the apex, composed of units called petals, which are typically thin, soft and colored to attract animals that help the process of pollination.
• Androecium (from Greek andros oikia: man's house): the next whorl (sometimes multiplied into several whorls), consisting of units called stamens. Stamens consist of two parts: a stalk called a filament, topped by an anther where pollen is produced by meiosis and eventually dispersed.
• Gynoecium (from Greek gynaikos oikia: woman's house): the innermost whorl of a flower, consisting of one or more units called carpels. The carpel or multiple fused carpels form a hollow structure called an ovary, which produces ovules internally. Ovules are megasporangia and they in turn produce megaspores by meiosis which develop into female gametophytes. These give rise to egg cells. The gynoecium of a flower is also described using an alternative terminology wherein the structure one sees in the innermost whorl (consisting of an ovary, style and stigma) is called a pistil. A pistil may consist of a single carpel or a number of carpels fused together. The sticky tip of the pistil, the stigma, is the receptor of pollen. The supportive stalk, the style, becomes the pathway for pollen tubes to grow from pollen grains adhering to the stigma. The relationship to the gynoecium on the receptacle is described as hypogynous (beneath a superior ovary), perigynous (surrounding a superior ovary), or epigynous (above inferior ovary).
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.
Christmas Lily (Lilium longiflorum). 1. Stigma, 2. Style, 3. Stamens, 4. Filament, 5. Petal
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.
Specific terminology is used to describe flowers and their parts. Many flower parts are fused together; fused parts originating from the same whorl are connate, while fused parts originating from different whorls are adnate, parts that are not fused are free. When petals are fused into a tube or ring that falls away as a single unit, they are sympetalous (also called gamopetalous.) Connate petals may have distinctive regions: the cylindrical base is the tube, the expanding region is the throat and the flaring outer region is the limb. A sympetalous flower, with bilateral symmetry with an upper and lower lip, is bilabiate. Flowers with connate petals or sepals may have various shaped corolla or calyx including: campanulate, funnelform, tubular, urceolate, salverform or rotate.
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. These flowers are also known to be actinomorphic or regular, e.g. rose or trillium. When flowers are bisected and produce only one line that produces symmetrical halves the flower is said to be irregular or zygomorphic, e.g. snapdragon or most orchids.
Flowers may be directly attached to the plant at their base (sessile—the supporting stalk or stem is highly reduced or absent). The stem or stalk subtending a flower is called a peduncle. If a peduncle supports more than one flower, the stems connecting each flower to the main axis are called pedicels. The apex of a flowering stem forms a terminal swelling which is called the torus or receptacle.
The structure of a flower can be expressed by the means of floral diagrams and floral formulae.
The familiar calla lily is not a single flower. It is actually an inflorescence of tiny flowers pressed together on a central stalk that is surrounded by a large petal-like bract.
Main article: Inflorescence
In those species that have more than one flower on an axis, the collective cluster of flowers is termed an inflorescence. Some inflorescences are composed of many small flowers arranged in a formation that resembles a single flower. The common example of this is most members of the very large composite (Asteraceae) group. A single daisy or sunflower, for example, is not a flower but a flower head—an inflorescence composed of numerous flowers (or florets).
An inflorescence may include specialized stems and modified leaves known as bracts.
A flower develops on a modified shoot or axis from a determinate apical meristem (determinate meaning the axis grows to a set size). It has compressed internodes, bearing structures that in classical plant morphology are interpreted as highly modified leaves. Detailed developmental studies, however, have shown that stamens are often initiated more or less like modified stems (caulomes) that in some cases may even resemble branchlets. Taking into account the whole diversity in the development of the androecium of flowering plants, we find a continuum between modified leaves (phyllomes), modified stems (caulomes), and modified branchlets (shoots).
The transition to flowering is one of the major phase changes that a plant makes during its life cycle. The transition must take place at a time that is favorable for fertilization and the formation of seeds, hence ensuring maximal reproductive success. To meet these needs a plant is able to interpret important endogenous and environmental cues such as changes in levels of plant hormones and seasonable temperature and photoperiod changes. Many perennial and most biennial plants require vernalization to flower. The molecular interpretation of these signals is through the transmission of a complex signal known as florigen, which involves a variety of genes, including CONSTANS, FLOWERING LOCUS C and FLOWERING LOCUS T. Florigen is produced in the leaves in reproductively favorable conditions and acts in buds and growing tips to induce a number of different physiological and morphological changes.
The first step of the transition is the transformation of the vegetative stem primordia into floral primordia. This occurs as biochemical changes take place to change cellular differentiation of leaf, bud and stem tissues into tissue that will grow into the reproductive organs. Growth of the central part of the stem tip stops or flattens out and the sides develop protuberances in a whorled or spiral fashion around the outside of the stem end. These protuberances develop into the sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels. Once this process begins, in most plants, it cannot be reversed and the stems develop flowers, even if the initial start of the flower formation event was dependent of some environmental cue. Once the process begins, even if that cue is removed the stem will continue to develop a flower.
The ABC model of flower development
The molecular control of floral organ identity determination appears to be fairly well understood in some species. In a simple model, three gene activities interact in a combinatorial manner to determine the developmental identities of the organ primordia within the floral meristem. These gene functions are called A, B and C-gene functions. In the first floral whorl only A-genes are expressed, leading to the formation of sepals. In the second whorl both A- and B-genes are expressed, leading to the formation of petals. In the third whorl, B and C genes interact to form stamens and in the center of the flower C-genes alone give rise to carpels. The model is based upon studies of homeotic mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana and snapdragon, Antirrhinum majus. For example, when there is a loss of B-gene function, mutant flowers are produced with sepals in the first whorl as usual, but also in the second whorl instead of the normal petal formation. In the third whorl the lack of B function but presence of C-function mimics the fourth whorl, leading to the formation of carpels also in the third whorl. See also The ABC Model of Flower Development.
Most genes central in this model belong to the MADS-box genes and are transcription factors that regulate the expression of the genes specific for each floral organ.
An example of a "perfect flower", this Crateva religiosa flower has both stamens (outer ring) and a pistil (center).
The principal purpose of a flower is the reproduction of the individual and the species. All flowering plants are heterosporous, producing two types of spores. Microspores are produced by meiosis inside anthers while megaspores are produced inside ovules, inside an ovary. In fact, anthers typically consist of four microsporangia and an ovule is an integumented megasporangium. Both types of spores develop into gametophytes inside sporangia. As with all heterosporous plants, the gametophytes also develop inside the spores (are endosporic).
In the majority of species, individual flowers have both functional carpels and stamens. Botanists describe these flowers as being perfect or bisexual and the species as hermaphroditic. Some flowers lack one or the other reproductive organ and called imperfect or unisexual If unisex flowers are found on the same individual plant but in different locations, the species is said to be monoecious. If each type of unisex flower is found only on separate individuals, the plant is dioecious.
Flower specialization and pollination
Further information: Pollination syndrome
Flowering plants usually face selective pressure to optimize the transfer of their pollen, and this is typically reflected in the morphology of the flowers and the behaviour of the plants. Pollen may be transferred between plants via a number of 'vectors'. Some plants make use of abiotic vectors — namely wind (anemophily) or, much less commonly, water (hydrophily). Others use biotic vectors including insects (entomophily), birds (ornithophily), bats (chiropterophily) or other animals. Some plants make use of multiple vectors, but many are highly specialised.
Cleistogamous flowers are self-pollinated, after which they may or may not open. Many Viola and some Salvia species are known to have these types of flowers.
The flowers of plants that make use of biotic pollen vectors commonly have glands called nectaries that act as an incentive for animals to visit the flower. Some flowers have patterns, called nectar guides, that show pollinators where to look for nectar. Flowers also attract pollinators by scent and color. Still other flowers use mimicry to attract pollinators. Some species of orchids, for example, produce flowers resembling female bees in color, shape, and scent. Flowers are also specialized in shape and have an arrangement of the stamens that ensures that pollen grains are transferred to the bodies of the pollinator when it lands in search of its attractant (such as nectar, pollen, or a mate). In pursuing this attractant from many flowers of the same species, the pollinator transfers pollen to the stigmas—arranged with equally pointed precision—of all of the flowers it visits.
Anemophilous flowers use the wind to move pollen from one flower to the next. Examples include grasses, birch trees, ragweed and maples. They have no need to attract pollinators and therefore tend not to be "showy" flowers. Male and female reproductive organs are generally found in separate flowers, the male flowers having a number of long filaments terminating in exposed stamens, and the female flowers having long, feather-like stigmas. Whereas the pollen of animal-pollinated flowers tends to be large-grained, sticky, and rich in protein (another "reward" for pollinators), anemophilous flower pollen is usually small-grained, very light, and of little nutritional value to animals.
Main article: Pollination
Reviewed by Mom in Clermont from New York on Monday, April 8, 2013
This picture is lovely -- the vivid colors are so cheery and attractive! I would encourage anyone to take advantage of this great price. The only downside is that I was not careful enough opening it -- the packaging is very thorough, but I did not know how to open it properly, and inadvertently ended up putting a tiny tear in the edge. I'll deal with it -- it's completely my fault. A word to the wise, though, be careful opening it. I haven't experienced the kind of wrapping technique done, and the picture is more fragile than i would have predicted.
Reviewed by Happy Mom from Paxinos, PA on Thursday, September 27, 2012
I wanted a print with yellow in it. I wasn't looking for flowers but this fit my color choice. I was surprised by how happy it makes me when I'm looking at it. My kids noticed it right away and like it a lot too. It was expensive to frame at my local big box store framing section - I should have gone with a frame off the shelf.
Best Uses: Decoration, Home, Looks Great On The Wall
Cons: Expensive To Custom Frame
Describe Yourself: Looking To Fill Space
Primary use: Personal
Pros: Great Detail, Pretty, Quality Construction, Vibrant Colors
Reviewed by Bargain shopper from Durham,NC on Saturday, June 20, 2009
I had admired this print for some time and waited until I could use a 30% discount. I'm sad to say that I was disappointed in this print. It looks a lot bolder(not soft) than I thought and the daffodils look huge. I did end up keeping it, but I am not happy with it.
Reviewed by Gardener ON from The Great North West on Friday, March 21, 2008
The joy of spring is to unite the beginning of life This wonderful painting has inspired my lovely children to seek out the flowers that we take for granted My family LOVES the PRinT....... Thank the artist for me................