Ovary of a Flower: Function & Definition

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  • 0:02 Major Parts of a Flower
  • 0:50 Ovary Parts and Function
  • 2:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Lynn Swafford

Lynn has a BS and MS in biology and has taught many college biology courses.

Human females have ovaries that are necessary for reproduction, but did you know that flowers also have ovaries? You can learn about the function of flower ovaries in this lesson.

Major Parts of a Flower

A flower is the reproductive structure of many plants. It usually has four main parts. The carpel is the female reproductive structure that produces eggs. The stamen is the male reproductive structure that produces sperm. Petals surround the carpel and stamen and are brightly colored. Sepals surround the flower petals before they open.

Flower Parts

Let's focus on the carpel. A flower can have one carpel, many separate carpels, or many fused carpels. No matter the arrangement, a carpel always has a platform for receiving pollen called the stigma. Extending down from the stigma is a tube called the style. Below the style is an enlarged area called the ovary. The ovary is where a new plant begins to form.

Parts and Function of the Ovary

Inside an ovary is one chamber, or locule; however, if there are many locules in a single ovary, this indicates that many carpels have been fused together. A locule houses one or more ovules. The placenta attaches an ovule to the ovary wall.

Parts of an Ovary

The major function of a flower ovary is to produce four structures:

  • Eggs
  • Polar Nuclei
  • Seeds
  • Fruits

Inside an ovule, cells divide to produce an egg and two more cells called polar nuclei. When a pollen grain lands on the stigma of a carpel, it will release two sperm cells which travel down to the ovary. Inside the ovary, one sperm cell fuses with the egg to produce a zygote, or the first cell of a baby plant. This process is called fertilization. The second sperm cell fuses with the two polar nuclei to produce the endosperm. This will provide nutrients to the growing baby plant, or embryo.

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