Frontiers Of Biology

Dissecting Flowers

Dissecting a flower is a good way to learn about the reproductive parts of a plant. For this project, any flower with large parts is the best specimen. You may use flowers found in your garden or you can ask a local florist for free discarded flowers. A scalpel or any sharp knife is needed to cut open the flower, a microscope or a magnifying glass to view the smaller parts of the flower and a handy notebook where you can jot down your observations. Always remember to have an adult supervise the experiment when dealing with sharp objects. And also, you can be interested in other experiments like How to make your mold. All of this tutorials are simple basics of full-size laboratory experiance.

First, identify the main outside parts of the flower. The smooth, leaf like projections under the petals are called sepals. There are male and female flowers. The male flowers consist of the stamen, filament and anther. The stamen is the male organ of the flower, and there are usually multiple stamens on a flower. Next is the filament or the long stalk of the stamen. The anther is the one that holds the pollen and is found at the top of the filament.

Let us examine the female flower. It consists of the pistil, stigma, style and ovary. The pistil is the female part of the flower. The stigma, which is found at the top of the pistil, is the one that collects the pollen and carries it down to the style or the hollow body of the flower. The pollen is then brought to the ovary where it fertilizes the eggs of the flower.

It is possible to have a flower that has all male parts and all female parts. They are called imperfect flowers. But those that have both male and female parts are called perfect flowers.

Step 1

First thing you have to do in this dissection is to remove the sepals and the petals. Pull them down toward the stem. Using the microscope, examine the tip of the petal. You may use the magnifying glass if a microscope is unavailable. Focus on the texture of the petal. Write it down on your notebook.

Step 2

Remove the stamens of the flower. You may cut or break them off the stem. Again, examine it under your microscope or magnifying glass. Draw the shape of the pollen. Sometimes, a part of a flower may be accidentally broken off and you cannot examine all the parts. Should this happen, use another flower.

Step 3

After studying the pollen, remove all parts using your scalpel, knife or your fingers if possible until only the pistil remains alone in the stem. Again, using the scalpel or knife, carefully cut the pistil in half lengthwise. Make sure your fingers are out of the way. Under the microscope, you should see a long hollow tube, or the style. In the ovary, you even be able to see tiny eggs or ovules.

Take this experiment a little further by looking for a bud of the same flower you are dissecting and compare its parts to the fully opened flower. You can also use different flowers for comparison. Do not forget to write down your observations.

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