What Do Flowers Do?

Flowers are the primary reproductive structures of angiosperms, commonly referred to as the flowering plants. Flowers house the pollen and ovaries necessary for reproduction. The various colors and shapes of flowers serve as lures to attract pollinators, which deliver pollen to the ovary of another plant.

The main parts of a flower are the pistil, stamen, petals, sepals, receptacle and pedicel. The pistil is the female reproductive organ of the flower, while the stamen is the pollen-producing male organ. The ovary is located within the pistil and contains ovules that develop into seeds once fertilized by pollen. The most recognizable portion of a flower is the petals, which are typically colorful and serve as an attractant. Sepals are the leaf-like structures that serve as a protective layer for the flower as it emerges from the bud. The receptacle is the flower's base, which attached to the flower stalk, or pedicel.

Flowers containing all of the primary structures are described as complete, and flowers that lack one or more of these structures are incomplete. Flowers with both male and female reproductive organs are termed perfect, while imperfect flowers contain only one type of reproductive organ. Imperfect flowers are further divided into pistillate and staminate flowers, containing only the female or male reproductive organs, respectively.