Difference Between Carpel And Pistil


There are about 4 million species of flowering plants and all their flowers, irrespective of how pretty they look, have the same function. Flowers are the reproductive parts of an angiosperm plant. They are designed to be attractive in size, color, form, and scent to facilitate pollination.

The reproductive organs within a flower are called stamen and pistil. Most flowers are bisexual and have both functional pistil and stamens. Some flowers are unisexual and have either stamens or pistils. A plant bearing both male and female flowers is called monoecious, while there are dioecious plant species that bear male flowers and female flowers in separate plants. Staminate flowers only have male reproductive parts and similarly, flowers with only female reproductive parts are also called pistillate. 

When we look at flower parts, we describe them as whorls. The outermost whorl is the calyx consisting of the sepals. It is typically for the protection of buds and support. Within it comes the second whorl called corolla made of petals. Further, inside is the third whorl called androecium, which is a group of stamens. The innermost whorl is the gynoecium consisting of pistils. 

What is a Carpel in a Flower?

The names pistil and carpel are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different parts of a flower. A carpel is a part of the pistil that comprises the style, stigma, and ovary. In the pistil, the carpel is the ovule bearing leaf-like part extending out to the style. A pistil can have a single carpel (simple pistil) or several carpels (compound pistil). The carpels can even be fused or free. A gynoecium with a single carpel is called monocarpous. When there are multiple free carpels in a pistil, it is called apocarpous, and when these multiple carpels are fused, it is called syncarpous. 

Within the pistil are the carpel's parts, such as the ovary, stigma, and style. For reproduction, the pollen grain produced on another part of the stamen must come in contact with the stigma. This happens through pollination. It can happen within the same flower (self-pollination) or across different flowers (cross-pollination). Following pollination, the pollen grains are transferred to the ovary where fertilization occurs. Thereby, the male gametes and the ovules are fused to form the zygote. The zygote develops into an embryo, and further-on the ovules become seeds, and the ovary becomes a fruit.

Difference Between Carpel and Pistil

The below table is provided to highlight the comparison of pistil vs. carpel.



It is the ovule-bearing reproductive structure in flowers.

They are the female reproductive part of a flower, including the carpel.

They consist of style, stigma, and ovary.

It can have more than one carpel.

The eggs are produced within them.

They don’t have a role in egg production.

It is the site of fertilization in flowers.

They are not the site of fertilization.

The seeds from fertilization are produced in them.

There is no specific site for seed production for the pistil.

Their function is to disperse seeds.

They are not singly meant for seed dispersal.

Their number can be determined by counting the carpels.

Their number depends on the number of ovaries in the flower.

Did you Know?

The latest research suggests that the world's biggest and rarest flower, Rafflesia, may not have pistils. There are also no significantly identifiable ovary or carpel-like parts in it. They are identified as unisexual flowers, and the male flowers have several small stamens in the central disc-like structure that looks like spikes. The Rafflesia and similarly large, rare Corpse flower (Titan arum) are also the world's smelliest flowers. They smell like rotten meat. They are also extremely rare and bloom in colonies of same-sex flowers for a very short period. Therefore, these flowers need to pollinate successfully within a short time for the survival of the species. Their extremely unpleasant smell not only wards off predators but also attracts pollinators such as dung beetles and carnivorous flies, which are in search of corpses. This way, they can ensure successful pollination despite the distance between the colonies of male and female flowers. 

The reproductive parts of a flower of a plant are called carpel and pistil, and they differ only slightly. Because a carpel is made up of the stigma, style, and ovary, and a pistil is made up of the union of carpels of a single carpel, we may say that a pistil is a fusion of carpels.

The number of carpels can be easily distinguished by counting the styles. The existence of ovaries in flowers, on the other hand, can be used to determine the number of pistils.

The flower is the reproductive component of a plant and represents the angiosperms family. A whole flower has unique reproductive structures that are colored and structured in a certain way. A flower has four whorls: lower whorls, middle whorls, and top whorls.

The reproductive whorls are the two upper whorls that are involved in reproduction. Also, these whorls are made up of microsporophylls and megasporophylls, with microsporophylls being called stamens and megasporophylls being called carpels (angiosperms).

The two bottom whorls are known as accessory whorls since they do not actively assist in the flower's reproduction. The third whorl is the male whorl, called androecium, and the fourth whorl is the female whorl, called gynoecium. The auxiliary pistil protects the vital organs and, more importantly, attracts pollinating insects.

Angiosperm is an area of science concerned with the study of blooming plants, flowers, and other Angiosperm attributes. We will look at the key differences between the two primary sections of the flower, the carpel, and the pistil, as well as a brief description of each.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Difference Between Carpel And Pistil

1. What is carpel in flowers like jasmine?

Jasmine flowers have a small number of ovules and short filaments for stamens. Neither the carpels nor the stamens mature at the same time. Self-pollination is impossible in such circumstances. Even flowers with few stamens and short pistils, such as tulips, are difficult to see.

The ovaries of some flowers may be difficult to see. Epigynous flowers are described as having inferior ovaries connected below the main floral components. The rest of the carpel and stigma may nevertheless be superior to the stamen in such blooms. Such blooms have flask-shaped thalamus. Orchids, bananas, apples, and melons are all epigynous flowers. Hypogynous flowers are those in which the ovaries and carpel are higher than the stamen. Hypogynous blooms can be found on tulips, mustard, and tomatoes. Their thalamus is shaped like a cone. Perigynous flowers have stamen, petals, and sepals that encircle the ovaries, and the thalamus is disc-shaped. Perigynous flowers give rise to prunes, cherries, roses, and plums.

2. Which of the carpel or pistil develops into a fruit?

When pollen fertilizes the ovules when a flower is successfully pollinated, it produces a zygote. To become an embryo, this zygote goes through cell differentiation. The embryo attaches to the ovary, expands, and develops into a fruit. As a result, the fruit is a dilated ovary, and the seeds in the fruit are fertilized ovules. Along with the ovary, the carpels grow to connect the fruit tissue.

The number of carpels in a flower influences how much pollination is required for the flower to grow into a fruit. To grow into a fruit, flowers with solitary carpels would need one of the two ovules to be fertilized. The fertilization of fewer ovules will also result in fruit production in flowers with many fused carpels. There are only single carpels in almonds and walnuts, whereas fruits like apples and kiwis have many carpels.

3. What are the key differences between Carpel and Pistil?

The following are the most important distinctions between the carpel and the pistil:

  • Pistils are the reproductive component of a flower-bearing seed or ovule and can be found single or in groups. Carpels are the female reproductive part of a flower and can be found singly or in groups.

  • Stigma, ovary, and style makeup carpels, while pistils are the union of one or more carpels.

  • Carpels create egg cells, whereas the pistil does not produce egg cells.

  • Carpels aid in seed production and distribution, despite the fact that the pistil does not produce seed and works as a feminine portion of the flower.

  • The process of fertilization occurs in the carpels, but not in the pistil.

4. What are the similarities between Carpel and Pistil?

Following are the similarities between Carpel and Pistil: 

  • The female parts of a flower are the carpels and pistils.

  • Both are sometimes made up of style, stigma, and ovary.

  • Their job is to generate seeds, fertilize them, assist in seed dissemination, and lay eggs.

5. Where can I find notes on the difference between Carpel and Pistil?

Vedantu provides notes and questions on Carpel and Pistil. Educators who are professionals in their fields prepare the content in a way that students can understand and remember. It discusses the differences and similarities between Carpel and Pistil. For students in grades 1 through 12, Vedantu also provides study materials and a variety of competitive exams. Notes, important topics and questions, revision notes, and other material are among the contents. All of these resources are available for free on Vedantu. Students must first register on the Vedantu website in order to access all of these tools. Vedantu's mobile app also allows you to register.

Learn through videos