Drawing of a flower

Mendel's experimental plants were a flowering species of the pea, or Leguminosae family, called Pisum sativum, or garden peas. The drawing above illustrates the basic structure of a flower, like those found in Pisum. The flower can be considered the specific part of, or site in, the plant where reproduction takes place.

Pisum sativum belong to a sub-family called Papillonaceae, a group named for the butterfly-like appearence of their flowers. And like many flowers, the pea flower contains both male and female parts. The female part of the flower, called the pistil usually has a sack at its base called the ovary, which contains egg cells called ovules. Coming out of the ovary is a column called the style, which is crowned by a sticky structure called the stigma; the stickiness makes the stigma suitable for receiving and retaining pollen grains.

The pistil is nearly surrounded by the male parts of the flower, which are called the stamens. Each stamen consists of a slender stalk, called the filament, topped by an enlarged structure called the anther; it is the anther that carries the pollen grains. In Pisum sativum, the sepals on the flower are united, covering and protecting the stamens and pistil from foreign pollen and other seeds.

(Flower drawing by B. Fravasi, after Corcos and Monaghan, p. 45)

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Concerning Plant Hybrids MW
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