Stamens and pistils

Adonis vernalis, a relative to Phesant's-eye,has 
many pistils surrounded by a ring of stamens.
Photo: Börge Pettersson.

Stamens and pistils are the male and female reproductive organs in flowering plants. They are necessary for the sexual reproduction. Linnaeus talked about them as men and women in their wedding night. The green calyx leaves he called the bride's bed, and the colourful petals the quilt.

The male organs, the stamens, are growing in a ring inside the petals. They occur in different numbers in different plants and are composed of a filament (the stalk) and an anther. The anther keeps the pollen grains and opens when they are ripe. The pollen grains can be transported from one flower to another by for example wind or with the help of an insect.

In the centre of the flower the female organ is found. It can consist of one or several pistils. On the top of the pistil the stigma is found, under it a thin stalk called the style, and at the base the ovary (with ovules inside) that will grow into the fruit with seeds inside. The pollen grains are deposited on the stigma and fertilises the ovules.

Linnaeus was careful to stress the importance of studying the sexual life of flowering plants. Today it has become a discipline of its own, reproduction biology.

Learn more about sex among plants

Last modified: 2021-11-25