Flowers have many different shapes and sizes, and there are many variations in colour, number of flower parts and the arrangements of these parts. Though there is a great diversity of flower types, all flowers have some common structural elements.
A typical flower can be grouped into four sets based on appearance and function: sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils.
The sepals and petals are lowermost on the shoot, toward the sides of the flower. The stamens and pistils are at the tip of the shoot at the inside. While sepals and petals are easy to see, stamens and pistils are often visible only when the flower is closely examined.
Of the four main parts, the sepals which are the outer most part of a flower are generally small leaf-like structures seen at the base of the flowers and hold the petals together. It protects the immature flower during the bud stage. Sepals are usually green. In some flowers however, they are as colourful as the petals and increase the flower's attractiveness to insects.
Above the sepals are the petals. Although flattened like the sepal, each petal is usually soft and coloured. Usually, the number of petals in a flower will be the same as the number of sepals. If the sepals of a flower are joined together, then its petals are separate and not joined.
The stamens, located inside the petals, are composed of a small anther and a threadlike filament connecting the anther to the rest of the flower.
The pistils form the final set of the parts. Each pistil is often shaped like a vase, although the shape varies. The ovary which is the base of the pistil, is swollen and hollow. The inner parts of the ovary have small bead like structures called ovules. Even If the petals of a flower are joined together, the pistil need not necessarily be joined to the petal.
Not all flowers have sepals, petals, stamens and pistils.
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