Gynoecium: Definition & Concept

Gynoecium: Definition & Concept
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  • 0:00 What is Gynoecium?
  • 0:50 Structure
  • 1:41 Monocarpous Gynoecium
  • 2:19 Apocarpous Genoecium
  • 2:55 Syncarpous Gynoecium
  • 3:29 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.

While you may have stopped to smell the roses before, have you ever stopped and looked closely at the structure of a rose flower? In this lesson, you'll learn about the female reproductive parts of a flower, or the gynoecium.

What is Gynoceium?

Flowers usually have four rings, or whorls, each with different structures. The outermost whorl is made up of sepals and is called the calyx. The next whorl is called the corolla and contains petals. Both the calyx and corolla are the non-reproductive structures of a flower. The third and fourth whorls function in reproduction.

The third whorl, called the androecium, is made up of male reproductive units called stamens. They produce sperm cells packaged inside pollen grains. The innermost whorl, called the gynoecium, has female reproductive units called carpels. In this lesson, we will focus only on this innermost whorl of a flower.


The carpel is the unit of a gynoecium. At the top of a carpel is a platform called the stigma. It is sticky to catch pollen grains. At the bottom of a carpel is a rounded structure called an ovary. Connecting the stigma and ovary is a tube called a style. Pollen grains release sperm cells that travel down the style and into the ovary.

An ovary contains one or more ovules. Inside an ovule is an egg cell. When a sperm cell enters an ovary, it will fuse with the egg cell. This is called fertilization, and the ovule is now called a seed. The surrounding ovary will then usually develop into a fruit to protect its seeds.

A gynoecium may contain a single carpel, many separate carpels, or many carpels that have fused together.

Monocarpous Gynoecium

A monocarpous gynoecium is made up of only one carpel. This means that in the middle of a flower there is only one stigma, one style, and one ovary. For example, the flowers that produce peach fruits are monocarpous. The single ovule becomes the seed or pit of a peach, and the single ovary becomes the juicy fruit that you eat. Remember that ovaries contain more than one ovule. Most legume plants, like peas, have a single carpel with many ovules inside. Each ovule develops into a seed, or pea. The outer pea pod develops from the single ovary.

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