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Carpels: what they are and their function

What is carpel in flower and function of carpel in flower:

To understand how the pollination of flowering plants works, it is necessary to know in detail each of the carpels that make up the gynoecium or female sexual part of the flowers . We will talk about what the carpels of flowers are and their function , as well as their parts and types so that, you can improve your knowledge of basic botany. Do not worry if you do not recognize some of the specific terms to name the parts of the flowers, in this article we review the basic terminology so that, little by little, you will also be able to use it properly and thus it will be much easier for you to continue learning each day a little more of the world of plants. 

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What are carpels and where are they located?

The modified leaves that make up the female reproductive part of the flowers are called carpels . In fact, when we talk about the gynoecium we are referring to the set of carpels . The gynoecium, also called the pistil , is responsible for the production of female gametes.

In addition, the carpels close on themselves in order to create cavities that protect both the reproductive organs, as happens with the ovary of the flower, and to store the seeds until the ideal moment for their expulsion. This will depend on the type of classification.

Likewise, we will differentiate angiosperm plants by having fused carpels capable of creating a protective structure that surrounds the ovary and gymnosperm plants whose carpels appear open and separated, leaving the ovary exposed and unprotected.

The carpels are located above the flower receptacle . This widening of the peduncle, also known as the thalamus , is where both the carpels and other parts of the flower such as the calyx or corolla are found.

What is carpel in flower: Carpel parts

What is carpel in flower: As we have already mentioned, the carpels are the modified leaves responsible for forming the gynoecium or pistil. In this way, we can differentiate:

  • Ovary: This is the fertile region of the carpel. Here are the seminal primordia or ovules that, in turn, are attached to the placenta. It is recognized for being the widest part that can be formed by a single carpel or by several fused ones.
  • Style: its function is to connect the stigma with the ovary. It is recognized for being a tubular projection as a corner. As a curious fact, not all carpels have a style. In this way, we speak of a seated stigma when the carpel lacks a style.
  • Stigma: upper part whose main function is to capture pollen grains. To achieve this, it can be presented with various modifications depending on the type of flower. Thus, we find stigmas with hairs or capable of secreting substances so that the pollen adheres more easily.
What is carpel in flower: Types of carpels

What is carpel in flower: Each type of flower has a number of carpels. In this way, we find flowers with a single carpel or formed by several. Thus, we distinguish between unicarpelar flower and bicarpelar flower if it consists of two carpels, tricarpelar if it consists of three, tetracarpelar if it consists of four or pluricarpellar flower , in general when they have more than one. In fact, these same qualifiers are also applied to differentiate the types of gynoecium.

In the same way, it must be understood that the carpels can appear both welded to form a single pistil or set of female sexual organs, as well as separated and even in groups. We thus speak of apocarpic gynoecium when it is made up of independent carpels, characteristic of angiosperms, and syncarpous gynoecium when the carpels are welded.

Carpel function

What is carpel in flower: The main function of the carpels is to ensure the reproduction of the plant . In this way, the gynoecium, the carpel itself in the case of flowers that only have one or the set of carpels in the case of flowers that have several, is responsible for producing and protecting the ovules for the future creation of seeds that give rise to to a new individual. In addition, they also fulfill a dispersal function that ensures that the seeds spread until they reach an optimal terrain for their growth.

Function of carpel in flower: As we have previously talked about the parts of the carpels, we can also highlight the specific functions of each of them.

  • Ovary: formed by one or several carpels, it fulfills the function of creating and protecting the ovules already pollinated to become a fruit. This fruit will keep the seeds inside to ensure the reproduction and dispersion of the species. Likewise, the ovary is capable of modifying itself once fertilized to favor its dispersion or adhesion, optimizing to the maximum the climatic agents and pollinating animals that have been attracted to the flower.
  • Style: this tubular structure fulfills the function of joining the ovary and the stigma. When the stigma receives the pollen, it is in charge of transporting it to the ovary through the pollen tube.
  • Stigma: its function is to receive and capture the male gametes or pollen. As we have already mentioned, it is capable of presenting various modifications that range from the production of substances that favor or the appearance of hair to favor the adhesion of pollen grains.

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