Flower Morphology Introduction
Flowering plants, or angiosperms, have diverse forms. Morphology studies these forms, focusing on structure, development, and patterns. Surprisingly, petals evolved from leaves and share similar gene expressions, illustrating nature's repurposing.
Inflorescence Structures Unveiled
Inflorescences are groups of flowers on a stem, differing vastly among species. The sunflower's 'single' bloom is actually a complex inflorescence composed of numerous tiny flowers, an incredible adaptation for efficient pollination.
Floral Symmetry Patterns
Flowers exhibit radial or bilateral symmetry. The bilateral 'zygomorphic' flowers, like orchids, often evolve alongside specialized pollinators. This intricate co-evolution results in a precise pollinator-flower interaction, ensuring successful reproduction.
Unique Vessel Formation
Xylem vessels, essential for water transport, differentiate from ordinary plant cells through a unique process involving cell death. These vessels originated in flowering plants, giving them an evolutionary edge in diverse habitats.
Incredible Floral Diversity
There are over 300,000 species of flowering plants. The Rafflesia arnoldii produces the largest individual flower, while Wolffia globosa bears the smallest. This size range is a testament to the adaptability of flowering plants.
Fruit Morphology Secrets
Fruits, the mature ovaries of flowers, protect seeds and aid in their dispersal. Some fruits, like cashews, grow in a surprising manner with the seed outside the fruit. This unique adaptation aids in seed dispersal by animals.
Genetic Control of Morphology
The ABC model explains flower development, revealing that specific genes regulate organ formation. Fascinatingly, if these genes are altered, a plant can form petals instead of stamens, highlighting the delicate genetic orchestration of plant morphology.