Introduction

A modified and condensed shoot useful for reproduction in angiosperms is called a flower. Flowers are often described as a modified stem. The gynoecium is an essential part of the flower as it contains the female reproductive organisms. 


Carpel and pistil are the two female reproductive organism units in flower, the part which you see from outside. Carpel is a long stick-like structural part in the flower that comprises a mixture of three essential parts; stigma, style, and ovary - the female parts of a flower. There can be one or more carpels present in a flower. 


The pistil consists of stigma, ovary, and style, and is generally fused along with the female reproductive parts. 


Let’s peer inside the structure of the carpel. The ovary is the basal, swollen part inside the bud, which is a fertile part in the carpel. If there is only one carpel, the ovary is called unilocular, which means chamber. If there are two, three, or five carpels fused with each other, that is, a polycarpellary syncarpous condition, then the ovary is bilocular, trilocular, or pentalocular. Each chamber of the ovary contains one to many small globular structures called ovules or megasporangia. Ovules are produced on a soft fertile tissue called the placenta. Different modes of arrangement are exhibited within the ovary. 


Style is a narrow elongated threadlike tubular structure that connects the ovary with the stigma. The terminal part of the carpel which receives pollen grains during the process of pollination is called stigma. Pollen germination happens during that specific time. Stigma is generally rough and sticky in nature. When all three parts of a carpel are fused together, it is called pistil. Therefore, the collection of fused carpels is called pistils in the case of syncarpous. 

What is a Carpel

Carpels are composed of the stigma, style, and ovary, the female parts of a flower. Flowers can have one or more carpels. It can also be defined as the fourth whorl of the flower present in the centre. 

What is a Pistil

The word pistol is derived from the Latin term pistillum, pestle. It can either be the same as an individual carpel as it comprises stigma, style, ovary, or a carpel fused together. This means a pistil can have lots of carpels.

 

The major difference between the carpel and pistil is that the carpel is a single reproductive unit (bisexual organism), while the pistil is the collection of fused ovaries.  Carpel has seed production, while pistils do not. The ultimate goal of the carpel is to disperse the seed, while the pistil works as the female reproductive system of the flower. Carpel produce eggs, while pistils do not. Fertilisation happens for carpels but not for pistils.


Important Facts Regarding Flower

1. Gynobasic style is a characteristic feature of the family labiate (Ocimum), where style arises from the depression or cavity in the center of the ovary or directly from the thalamus. 

2. Feather-like stigma is called the plumose stigma, as in grasses (Gramineae).

3. Receptacle is the modified, flattened pendulous on which flowers lie in a specific manner.

4. An additional whorl of bract is called an involucre.

5. Gynoecium is considered a modified leaf (megasporophyll).

6. Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest flower. 

7. Long filamentous threads protruding at the end of a young cob of maize are style.

8. The colored sepals other than green color are called sepaloid. Example: Garden nasturation.

9. The term staminode is given to reduced or non-functional stamens. Example: Saliva.

10. If only one carpel is present in the gynoecium, then this condition is called the monocarpellary condition.

11. If more than one carpel is present in the gynoecium, then this condition is known as polycarpellary.

12. When all carpels are fused, this condition is called syncarpous. Example: mustard and tomato.

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FAQs on Carpel and Pistil

1. Explain the Term Carpel?

Carpels are composed of the stigma, style and ovary, the female parts of a flower. Flowers can have one or more carpels. It can also be defined as the fourth whorl of the flower present in the center.

2. Explain the Term Pistil?

The word pistil is derived from the latin term pistillum, pestle. It can either be the same as an individual carpel as it comprises stigma, style, ovary or a carpels fused together. This means a pistil can have lots of carpels.

3. Explain the Term Gynoecium?

Gynoecium constitutes the inner essential whorl of flowers comprising carpels. Carpel is the unit of gynoecium and it is distinguishable into basal ovule bearing region, terminal pollen receiving region(stigma), joined by stalk-like structure (style). The number of carpel is usually fixed for a plant species and it is described as monocarpellary, bicarpellary, tricarpellary, tetracarpellary, pentacarpellary or multicarpillary.

4. What are the important parts of a flower?

The flower is an important part of a flowering plant. It is also an extension of the shoot, which is used for reproduction. The main parts of the flower are sepal, the outer layer of the flower; petals, the bright colored layer which attracts insects to pollinate; steam, the male part of the flower; and carpel, the female reproductive part. These parts comprise the whole flower of any flowering plant. Each part has a distinctive function and is different in nature. 

5. How do I retain the information about flowers I learned in my classes?

When the student skims through the chapter before attending any lecture, he/she has a general idea about the topic beforehand. This practice acts as a strong foundation to the learning materials which will be taught later in relevance to the topic. When the student listens to the lecture, he/she can jot down the important keywords and objectives in their notes. These notes can be revised before the exams to give an overall understanding of the topic and help them write the exam thoroughly. 

6. Will I be needed to draw the diagrams in the examination?

Yes. Science is a practical subject. To understand the functions of science, it is important to learn from a practical point of view. This can be done by observing and illustrating important and relevant diagrams in your notes and labelling them accurately for better retention. Drawing diagrams and tables in an answer paper is essential when it is required as it ensures a high number of marks for clarity and participation. 


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