Anatomy of a Flower

poppy_fruitI was walking through my garden and saw this poppy flower. The petals had fallen off and the underlying structure of the flower was quite visible. Flowers are the sex organs of plants, and the variations in their form are myriad and wonderful. Some flowers have male parts, some have female parts and some have both. This poppy has both.

In this poppy (and in all poppies), the male parts are the little bags of pollen (plant sperm) on threadlike supports encircling the lower part of the flower. The female part of the flower includes the ovary, the cylindrical main body of the flower containing the eggs which, once fertilized, will develop into seeds. The reddish ridges on top of the cylinder are the stigma, a recieving area for the grains of pollen when the pollinating insect comes to visit. When it is the time for fertilization, these ridges will get sticky and the pollen grain will stick to it when it is deposited by a visiting insect pollinator.

poppies_1Here is picture of another poppy from a different species. Note that the number of ridges is few in the photo of one species of poppy, but there are many ridges in the other.

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