Knowing more about flowers will need a dissection experience. Like all living beings, flowers have internal structures that help them function. All you need to do is explore them.
What you need:
- Flowers from the yard or discarded flowers at the local flower shop
- A sharp knife or scalpel
- Magnifying glass
How you do it:
- Identify the main external parts of the flower:
- Sepals – leaf-like projections underneath the petals
- Stamen – male flower part (many of them in one flower)
- Filament – long stalk of the stamen
- Anther – holds the pollen
- Pistil – female flower part
- Style – passageway of pollen to the ovary
- Ovary – where fertilization happens
*** Note that imperfect flowers have both male and female parts, while perfect flowers have separate male and female flowers.
- Pull down the petals and sepals and study them under your magnifying glass. Examine the petal’s texture.
- Take off the stamens. Use the knife or scalpel to cut them from the flower’s stem. Study the pollen with the magnifying glass. See what shape each pollen is and draw what you see.
- Identify if the flower is a dicot or monocot. Monocots have petals that are often in multiples of three. The veins in their leaves are parallel. Flowering, woody plants are usually dicots. Their petals are in multiples of four or even five. They also have branched leaf veins.
- Take off all the flower parts but leave the pistil on the stem. Cut the pistil from top to bottom. Study the cut halves with your magnifying glass. This will show you the pollen that is already traveling to the ovary.