- Students will be able to:
- dissect a simple flower to find the main parts
- name the main parts of the flower and describe what they are for
- make a pressed, dried display of the parts.
What You Will Need:
- Solitary flowers (not compound ones like daisies). Good ones to collect are: fuchsias, Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily) and lilies (if they are small).
- Scissors and tweezers (plastic ones are good).
- PVA glue.
- Optional: craft knives (Care!)
- Optional: other flowers for dissection such as bean or gorse.
- Optional: magnifying glasses.
Good flowers for dissections
Why are flowers important?
Flowers are the reproductive parts of flowering plants. Without them, plants would not be able to produce seeds, and seeds are needed for the production of most of the food that humans and farm animals eat.
Flowers produce pollen that is transferred either by animals (mainly insects and birds) or by wind to other flowers of the same species to achieve pollination, leading to seed formation.
There are two main groups of flowering plants, ones that are pollinated by animals such as insects and birds. Their flowers are usually colourful or scented and produce small amounts of pollen. Others are pollinated by the wind. Their flowers are inconspicuous (not obvious), but produce great amounts of pollen.
What to do
Perform a dissection on an animal-pollinated flower to discover its parts and to help understand how pollination occurs. Follow these steps:
- Use scissors to cut a flower lengthwise through the middle. You should see something similar to the diagram on the right.
- Draw a labelled line diagram of your flower. Optional: Use coloured pencils to add a small amount of colour to make your diagram more informative.
- Once you have figured out what all the main parts are, gently remove them using tweezers, scissors or your fingers and position them in groups on the sheet supplied below.
- Use a tiny drop of glue to hold each part in place.
- If time allows, repeat the process with a different type of flower.
- Once the glue is dry, lay two paper towels on top of the flower parts, and one below the sheet, then weigh them down with a heavy book.
- Replace the paper towels after two days, then wait till the flower parts are thoroughly dry before displaying your dried, dissected flowers.
- Discuss how an insect such as a honey bee might transport pollen from one of your flowers to the stigma of another flower of the same type. Things to consider: what might attract the bee in the first place, how it might come into contact with the pollen, how it transports the pollen, and, how it rubs the pollen onto the stigma of another flower.
- Research and discuss which garden and farm crops are insect pollinated and which are wind pollinated.
Other support material
Picture credits: Parts of a flower (Anjubaba, CC BY-SA 4.0 International). Alstroemeria (Diego Delso, Delso.photo, CC-BY-SA). Fuchsia (Pixabay CC0).