Flowers have evolved to be pollinated and therefore to produce seeds for a new generation of plants. Each of its parts does its best to achieve that goal, and one of the most important is the gynoecium.
The gynoecium, or also called the pistil, We can see it in the flowers of angiosperm plants; that is to say, of those that protect their seeds within a fruit.
What is the gynoecium and what is its function?
The gynoecium is a part of the flowers of angiosperms, and we will find it right in the center of each one of them. It is the feminine part of this type of flowersthe one that receives the pollen that will cause the ovary, which contains several ovules, to begin to mature and become a fruit with one or more seeds.
Its shape, size, and color vary greatly depending on the species, but it is usually green, and it also protrudes a little from the flower. It does not serve to attract pollinators (at least, not directly), since the petals or bracts (modified leaves that resemble petals) are responsible for this, but it is their final destination; hence they are accessible in most cases.
The exact function of the gynoecium is to get the eggs to be fertilized. But how? This will depend on what type of flower it is; that is, whether it is unisexual or hermaphroditic.
- Unisexual flower: is one that is feminine or masculine. Focusing on the female ones, taking into account that they do not produce pollen (this is done by the male ones, in the anthers) they need the petals, thanks to their colors, to attract pollinators.
- Hermaphroditic flowers: they have it much easier. They do not need the help of any pollinating animal, nor the wind, since in the same flower there are male and female parts. So as soon as the pollen matures it falls into the gynoecium and the flower is pollinated.
What are the parts of the gynoecium?
The gynoecium is made up of several parts, which are:
- Ovary: it is the part in which the ovules are produced, which are, if all goes well, the ones that will become seeds. Depending on where it is located, we distinguish three types of ovaries:
- Super ovary: it is located on the receptacle.
- Inferus ovary: it is located below the receptacle. In it are inserted the sepals, petals and stamens.
- Semi-inferior or middle ovary: it is in an intermediate position.
- Style: it is a kind of elongated and thin tube that joins the ovary with the stigma. It is sterile: its unique function is to serve as a conduit vessel through which the pollen grains will reach the ovules. In addition, it can be hollow or solid, and is usually covered in mucilage (a somewhat sticky substance, which is where pollen is trapped).
- Stigma: it is the upper part of the gynoecium, which receives the pollen that will fertilize the ovary. Sometimes the style is not present, so the stigma is deposited on the ovary. In these situations, the flower is said to have a sessile stigma.
- Seminal primordium: it is usually wrapped by one or two sheets of a tissue called the integument. At its base is the calaza, which is where the vascular ducts of the placenta are located.
All these parts are called carpel. The carpel may appear welded, giving rise to a single pistil, or be separated or in groups. When the first case occurs, we speak that the flower is gamocarpellate, but if the carpels are separated, the flower is dialicarpel.
As you have seen, the gynoecium is a part where new plants begin their life. Knowing each of its parts will be useful when you want to get seeds, since from it you can take the appropriate measures depending on whether your plant is monoecious or dioecious.