The Anatomy of a Flower

author, LadyofHats
Getting Acquainted With The Physical Characteristics of The Rose and The Passion Behind the Flower

I know! I know! This doesn’t sound very exciting. And it might scream at you to move on. But I assure you that sooner or later you’re going to return to it.

One of two things will occur (or perhaps both). You’re really getting into your hobby of growing roses — which by the way makes you a rosarian. Suddenly, you’re thrown in with other rosarians who are talking about the different areas of their rose plants. And you haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.

So you turn to this chapter to learn the names of some of the more important parts.

Or, you’re really getting into your hobby of growing roses — and you realize you want to learn more about the anatomy of the plant you’ve come to love. BOOM! You find yourself revisiting this page.

I’m confident you’re going to read this page now or later — or now and later! While it may seem boring to you, learning all there is to know about roses can be the most engaging thing on earth, once you’re captivated by their beauty and fragrance.

What’s in a rose?

Let’s take a quick look at the entire plant from the roots on up, shall we?

The roots. These, as with any plant, act as the water supply station for the plant, taking up water and nutrients from the soil. Without a solid root system, your rose just won’t thrive.

Canes or stem. To a rosarian it’s a cane — to your average man or woman on the street, it’s simply a stem. Whatever you call it, it grows from the crown of the plant — just where the cane ends and the roots begin. Rose canes are usually spotted with thorns (which many a philosophy has noted!). But there are some varieties of roses which really are thornless!

Leaves and branching canes. These grow from a part of the rose called the bud eyes, the small buds that sprout at intervals along with the cane. You may not ever have noticed them before. But if you look close enough, you’ll indeed discover them.

The leaves are usually found in five-leaf leaflets. As the rose plant thrives, the new canes sprout from both the crown of the plant and from the junction of the cane and leaflets.

Flowers. The flowers of a rose plant are known by several names: flowers, blooms or blossoms. Take your pick!

Once a flower has finished blooming, though, it’s called a spent bloom. And as you’ll learn, it should be cut off. This action encourages repeat flowering. It’s also called deadheading.

The rate at which a rose plant can actually form a new flower in its place is called a repeat. Most of the modern roses — those developed after the nineteenth century are either everblooming or free blooming. This means that they are producing flowers nearly continuously throughout the growing season.

Rose stamen
Rose stamen is the male part

Stamens. This is the male part of the rose, the portion that produces pollen. It’s made up of the anthers and a filament. If you look closely inside the petals of the rose you’ll see them. Very thin stems topped with rounded objects.

Anthers. Located at the top of the stamens, these parts are actually the pollen producers. This pollen fertilizes the ovules or eggs, located at the bottom of the pistil, which is the female portion of the rose located deep inside the hip of the flower.

And as you might guess from this, rose flowers can self-pollinate. But when this happens the offspring is rarely as healthy or as pretty as the original plant.

Sepals. These are the leaf-like structures covering the rosebud even before they open, protecting them.

Rosebud
Rose bud

The sepals open slowly to reveal the color of the developing flower. Finally, they pull away entirely, allowing the petals of the bud to emerge and unfurl.

Some rosarians consider the sepal an extremely attractive part of the flower, especially so when the feathery ends of the structure extend above the top of the bud.

When the sepals finally drop, allowing the petals to open, their beauty is many times still evident. They create a simply outstanding underpinning to a beautiful flower.

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