Photographic anatomy of a flower

I’ve often felt that the textbook pencil diagrams of a flower’s anatomy are a little lacking in the beauty of a flower. So, when one of our lily flowers had a petal damaged by the wind, I decided to take a macro photograph & label it up for education. As always 🙂 the project ended up going a little further …

Firstly let’s define the different parts labelled in the featured image above (a larger version of the diagram may be viewed or downloaded from the gallery at the bottom of this article) :

    Stamen – The stamen is the male part of the flower. It consists of the Anther & the Filament. The Anther is the pollen bearing part of the flower. Pollen particles develop from microspores within the anther & are then dispersed from the surface of the anther. The Filament supports the anther in whatever position that flower has evolved to require.
    Pistil / Carpel – Is the female part of the flower. A flower may have varied number of Carpels consisting of an ovary joined to one or several Style & Stigma. The Stigma is the area which receives pollen, it is often uppermost & of a folded or branched nature that is sticky on the surface. The Style is the supporting structure that joins the Stigma & Ovary, it is through this tissue that a pollen tube will grow when the flower is fertilised. The Ovary contains the ovules that will be fertilised by pollen, from which union the plant’s seed will ultimately form
    Calyx – is the combined modified leaf structures known as Sepals & Petals. Petals – are formed from modified leaves and surround the reproductive organs mentioned above. They are often used not just for protection but also to advertise the flower to potential pollinators. As such they are frequently decorative & brightly coloured. The Sepals (not shown) are normally plainer, often green. They protect the flower as it forms & often help support the petals when in full bloom.
    Stem – the supportive structure that physically holds the complete flower structure, whilst also containing the structures required to supply nutrient & water to those structures. (Perhaps something to cover another day)

1. The flower pictured has lost one of its anthers in the blustery weather, as well as one petal folding over to expose the ovary.
2. You are free to download & use the labelled photograph for educational purposes as long as the credit to me is kept in place.

Please refer to the gallery below for more detailed macrophotography & micrographs of these structures:

Love Pair

Format Image

Roses, amongst my favourite of cultured flowers and appropriate for starting the month that I married in …

Red Roses
A pair of scarlet rose blooms.

Meadow Saffron at Llanmerewig Glebe

The Meadow Saffron (Colchicum autumnale) is an uncommon and delicate pink flower; a member of the lily family. It is a wild native of Britain and Europe.

Meadow Saffron Llanmerewig Glebe (Fisheye)

Whilst somewhat similar to a crocus they can be easily distinguished by the fact that they have six stamens (as opposed to the three stamen of a crocus). The plant produces leaves in the spring and then a flower in autumn, after the leaves have died off. The flower is borne on a pale & fragile stalk; this combined with the lack of leaves, gives rise to its common name ‘Naked Ladies’. The entire plant is poisonous due to the presence of colchicine. Indeed it is this poisonous nature that has contributed to its removal from many meadows across the country. Another common name for the plant is ‘Autumn Crocus’ due to its flowering time and similarity to crocuses; however this name is now reserved for Crocus nudiflorus, the autumn flowering crocus.

The alkaloid poison colchicine has been extracted from these plants for various medical uses. Amongst others, it is believed to inhibit the formation of uric acid crystals and may therefore be useful in the treatment of gout. Its ability to inhibit cell division has also encouraged its use as a cancer treatment. It is also a purgative. A valuable medicinal plant but not one to be experimented with, Colchicine is extremely poisonous.

Llanmerewig Glebe

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust are managing a colony of these flowers at their Llanmerewig Glebe reserve. The small reserve is an oasis of tranquillity located only a few miles from the main Newtown – Welshpool road, near to Abermule. The land belonged to the church at Llanmerewig for many years and is a good example of a traditional agricultural meadow of the region.The picture above shows the meadow on a fine September day.

Saffron Splash

We visited the reserve on a glorious day in early September, when the Bees & Butterflies were certainly enjoying the late source of nectar provided by the Meadow Saffron. Swallows flew low, topping up before their long autumn journey; whilst a group of House Martins hunted insects slightly higher off the ground. There were signs of a Fox kill from the previous night and a Sparrow Hawk was seen flying at pace down the hedgerow. Finally a Buzzard was seen, and heard, wheeling high above neighbouring farm land.

I recommend the reserve as a place to quietly take a few moments out from a busy life and must compliment the Wildlife Trust on helping to preserve such a beautiful wild flower, of which I understand, there are few in Wales.

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