A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of a flower is to affect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs. Flowers may facilitate outcrossing (fusion of sperm and eggs from different individuals in a population) resulting from cross pollination or allow selfing (fusion of sperm and egg from the same flower) when self pollination occurs. Some flowersproduce diaspores without fertilization (parthenocarpy). Flowers contain sporangia and are the site where gametophytes develop. Many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen. After fertilization, the ovary of the flower develops into fruit containing seeds.
In addition to facilitating the reproduction of flowering plants, flowers have long been admired and used by humans to bring beauty to their environment, and also as objects of romance, ritual, religion, medicine and as a source of food.
The essential parts of a flower can be considered in two parts: the vegetative part, consisting of petals and associated structures in the perianth, and the reproductive or sexual parts. A stereotypical flower consists of four kinds of structures attached to the tip of a short stalk.