Take apart a flower.

Introduction

Springtime is when nature appears to come back to life after winter. The trees grow new leaves, the grass turns green, and the flowers spring up, often with beautiful colours and a pleasant scent. Have you ever looked at a particular flower? What are the parts of flowers? Are all flowers the same? This activity will allow you to dissect or take apart a flower. What number of plant parts can you identify?

Background

Flowering plants are plants that produce flowers. Flowers are not only beautiful but also useful. Not quite! Flowers are not beautiful, but they attract pollinators to reproduce. Flowers play an important role in the growth of seeds and plants. You might be able to see the many parts of a flower. Each part has its purpose.

A stem is a long, slender stalk that supports flowering plants. It carries water and nutrients and provides support. Photosynthesis is the process by which leaves produce food for plants. This involves using light, carbon dioxide, and water to make plant food.

The petals are the most visible parts of a flowering flower. Although they can be of different sizes and shapes, the petals are often brightly coloured. They are there to attract bees and other insects to help pollinate the plants. It might surprise you that certain flowers, which are botanically called “perfect flowers”, have both male and female parts. Each plays an important part in pollination.

Stamens are the male parts of the plant. They look like long stalks (known collectively as filaments), with a small round shape at the end (known as the anther) that contains the plant pollen. This yellowish or orange dust is what insects use to carry between plants. The pollen is carried to the pistil, the female part of a new flower. This is called pollination. The pistil, which is usually found in the middle of the flower, is a long stalk that is made up of many parts. It contains the ovary, the bottom part that houses the eggs of the female plants called ovules. The fertilized eggs inside the plant’s ovaries, also known as ovules or pollen, are formed when pollen is dropped into a flower’s pistil. The fertilized ovules become plant seeds, and the ovary is the fruit.

A flower is more than just beautiful. It is also essential for plants to produce more plants. You can see the differences between each flower’s parts by taking a closer look.

Materials

  • Three large fresh flowering plants such as roses and tulips. Each of these will require at least one stem and a flower. You should select perfect flowers with both male (stamen) and female (pistil) plant parts. You should not use certain plants if you are allergic.
  • Glass or cup with water
  • Six plates of paper
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Optional: Magnifying glass or hand lens
  • Optional: At least one additional intact specimen from each flower species you choose to dissect.
  • Paper (optional)
  • Colored pencils (optional)
  • Optional: Poster-sized paper (or poster board)
  • Tape (optional).
  • Optional: One or more fruits or vegetables, such as carrots or beets or asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower or tomatoes, apples or peppers, lettuce or peas.

Preparation

  • Each paper plate should be labelled with one part of the plant (“Stem,” “Leaf,” “Petal,” and “Stamen”)
  • One extra piece of the paper plate should be labelled “Other.”
  • To divide each paper plate into three sections, draw lines on each one.
  • Each section of each plate should be labelled with the name of one of three flowering plants.

Procedure

  • Take the time to examine each flowering plant. You can examine the flowers and plants with a magnifying lens. What do each flower and plant look like?
  • Pick one of your flowering plants and begin the plant dissection. You can use your hands, scissors, or tweezers to dissect your plant carefully. What parts of the plant can you identify?
  • After removing one section of the plant, identify it and place it on the appropriate plate. Please place it in the appropriate section labelled with the correct plant name. How do you locate a part of a plant for each plate?
  • If you cannot identify a particular plant part, place it onto the “Other” plate.
  • After taking apart the first plant, look at each of its parts. What are the differences between different parts of a plant?
  • Then, repeat the process with the other two flowering plants. Next, compare the parts of each plant on each paper plate. What are your observations about different parts of the same flowering plant? Results and Observations
  • You might be surprised at the differences in each flowering plant. The obvious differences are, for instance, the size and colour of flowers. However, each plant should be able to be identified by you when you have dissected it. Each one should have a stem. This could have contained some green leaves, colourful flower petals, the female part of the flower (pistil), and the male parts of the plant (stamen) that produce pollen. Observe how each part of the plant looks. Each plant part serves a specific purpose and is designed to maximize that function.

 

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