A flower, sometimes known as a bloom
, is the reproductive structure found in flowering 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 flowers produce
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
In addition to facilitating the reproduction of flowering plants
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.