How to Dissect a Lily

Updated November 21, 2016

Flower dissection prepares students for in-depth analysis and more complicated dissections, like thos involving animals. Pulling apart a flower also helps students visualise how a flower grows, blooms and produces seeds. Feeling and viewing the flower parts themselves gives students a better chance of retaining and recalling the information later. Lilies work well for dissections, because they contain large flower parts that are easy for students to handle and identify. Plus, they don't differ from the standard flower formation.

Place the cardstock on the table in front of you. Lay a paper towel right below it so you have a clean, white surface for your flower pieces.

Remove the leaves gently from the lily. Place them together on the cardstock and tape them down with cellophane tape. Label them "leaves" and describe the vein formation of the leaves. The veins may be parallel or asymmetrical.

Grip the sepals, the small green leaves at the base of the lily, with tweezers. Pull them away one by one and tape them to your stock. Label them appropriately.

Remove the petals from your flower with your fingers. Pull gently so the petals don't tear. Attach them to the cardstock, noting in the label how many petals you have and their colours. As the petals dry, the colours won't be as apparent.

Remove the stem and treat it as you have the other flower parts. You may want to note how many nodes, or small leaf bumps, the stem has.

Examine the flower innards in your hand. You should see three or four thin, white filaments with red, fuzzy tips. These are stamen. The filaments are called filaments and the fuzzy tips are anthers. Anthers contain pollen. Remove the stamen, tape them to the stock and label them.

Examine the bulbous flower part left in your hands. The flared tip is the pistil; its sticky top attracts pollen; the pollen slides down the style, or narrow neck of the pistil, and into the ovary, the bulbous part.

Cut the pistil-ovary assembly vertically in half -- do this gently. Look inside the bulbous ovary to see tiny white dots, or seed cells. Tape both sides of the pistil assembly to the stock, open-side up. Label all of the parts and tell what they do.

Things You'll Need

  • White cardstock
  • Paper towel
  • Open lily flower
  • Cellophane tape
  • Pen
  • Tweezers
  • Plastic knife
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author