When you think of a flower you generally think of it as a whole item, or perhaps in its most general parts---petals, leaves and stems. However, the gumamela flower, or hibiscus, is made up of many parts. Grown as an evergreen plant in frost-free areas, the gumamela can reach 6 feet in height with blossoms that measure 5 inches across.
The Basic Parts
Looking at the gumamela flower you can easily see and identify the common parts: the stem, leaves and petals. The stem's function is to hold the flower up off the ground so that pollinating insects can access it. The purpose of the leaves is to turn the sunlight into food; this process known as photosynthesis. The petals of the flower are eye-catching and pretty to humans, but the bright colours are also attractive to birds and insects.
Groups of Five
The flower of your gumamela, or hibiscus, has an interesting combination of fives. The blossom itself is made up of five petals. Protecting the bud are five sepals. Five carpels make up an ovary. Five stigmas on the end of five stylar branches represent the five carpels in the ovary.
Four separate parts make up the female part of the flower. The pistil is the part of the flower that contains the stigma, the style and the ovary. The stigma is the sticky centre of your flower where the pollen collects and germinates. The style is the fine tubelike stem or stalk that holds up the stigma. The ovary, held in place by the style, contains the ovules that become the seeds.
The gumamela has three parts that are classified as its male parts. The stamen is the pollen-producing part of the flower. Along with the stigma (a female part), the stamen protrudes from the petal cluster. The anther is where the pollen is held. The flower's anther is positioned on top of a fine stalk inside the flower known as the filament.
An additional part of the gumamela flower are the sepals. Designed to protect the flower bud before it opens, the sepals look like little green leaves hugging the flower bud. When the bud opens and the gumamela blossoms, the sepals can remain as small leaves at the base of the flower or become more like the petals, at which time they are no longer sepals, but tepals.
Perfect and Imperfect Flowers
Unlike the gumamela flower, some flowers have all male or all female parts. These flowers are known as "imperfect" flowers. Common imperfect flowers are pumpkins, melons and cucumbers. If a flower has both male and female parts it is known as a "perfect" flower. Examples of perfect flowers include lilies and roses.
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