Comparison Between Staminate and Pistillate Flowers


How are Staminate and Pistillate Flowers Different?

The reproductive structures of plants are known as flowers. It is the part which is distinct in colour and form. Flowers are found in a variety of sizes, colours, forms, and anatomical arrangements, and present an endless variety of combinations. Flowers are made up of different parts and some of the main flower parts, such as the male part known as stamen and the female part known as pistil, are majorly important as they participate in reproduction in plants.

What is a Staminate Flower?

As discussed above, a flower can be of many types and consists of many parts. When talking about the staminate flower, it is the male sex organ or male flower which contains only stamens. These staminate flowers produce pollen grains in the tassels. Staminate flowers are also called androecious flowers. A unisex plant having only stamens lacks carpels (active female part). An example of staminate flowers can be seen in the flowers of Cucurbitaceae. Staminate flowers undergo self-pollination and there may be a pistillate flower in closer proximity or in the same plant. Some staminate flowers can be observed in clusters of flowers in plants and little growths in vegetable stems.

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Morphology of a Stamen

A stamen consists of a stalk known as filament and an anther that bears microsporangia. Most of the anthers are two-lobed and attached to the filament either in the middle area of the anther or at the base. The connective is the sterile tissue between the lobes which is an extension of the filament which contains conducting strands. A pollen grain is developed from a microspore present in the microsporangium and it contains the male gametophyte.In a flower, collective stamens are referred to as androecium. The androecium form a variety of patterns in varied plant species, some of which are highly complex.

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Morphological Variation

Some or all of the stamens in a flower may be attached to the petals or to the floral axis (depending on the plant’s species). They can be free-standing or also fused to one another in many different ways; also it may include fusion of some but not all stamens. The filaments may be fused and the anthers free or they can be also found in the condition where anthers are fused and the filaments are free. 

Production of Pollen

An anther typically contains four microsporangia which form sacs or pockets called locules in the anther. Therefore, these are also called pollen or anther sacs. The two separate loci that are present on each side of an anther fuse into a single locule. Tapetum is the nutritive tissue layer that lines each microsporangium (contains diploid pollen mother cells). Later, these undergo meiosis to produce haploid spores. Each microspore, later, divides mitotically and forms an immature microgametophyte known as a pollen grain. Pollen grain releases eventually when the anther forms dehisce or openings. The mature pollen grains separate and are often dispersed by wind/water, pollinating insects, birds, pollination vectors, etc.

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What Is a Pistillate Flower?

A female sex organ or female part of the flower is called a pistillate flower. A pistillate flower consists of pistils but no stamens. Pistils are capable of producing seeds. The pistil, the female reproductive part of a flower, is centrally located and consists of a swollen base called the ovary, containing potential seeds or ovules. Also, style or stalk arises from the ovary with a pollen-receptive tip known as the stigma that can be variably shaped or sticky, may be present. During pollination, the compatible pollen grains reach the stigma and germinate to form a pollen tube. This pollen tube grows through the tissue of the style for depositing sperm for the fertilisation of the seeds or ovules in the ovary. Collective pistils then form the gynoecium in contrast to the male reproductive parts forming androecium.

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Difference Between Staminate and Pistillate Flowers


Staminate Flower

Pistillate Flower


It is a flower structure possessing only stamens.

It is a flower structure possessing only pistils.

Type of flower

These are unisexual male flowers.

These are unisexual female flowers.


There are active stamens present in them.

They lack the stamens.


They lack the pistils

There are active pistils present in them.

What do they produce?

Staminate flowers produce pollen grains.

Pistillate flowers produce ovules.


An example of a staminate flower is Chrysanthemum.

An example of a pistillate flower is squash.

The difference between a staminate and a pistillate flower can be summarised as follows: the staminate flower has only active stamens and no pistils. Pistillate flowers, on the other hand, have only active pistils and no active stamens. As a result, a staminate bloom is a male flower with male reproductive organs, whereas a pistillate flower has female reproductive organs. Some monoecious plants, on the other hand, develop staminate and pistillate flowers separately on the same plant. Dioecious plants, on the other hand, produce either staminate or pistillate flowers in the same plant.

FAQs on Comparison Between Staminate and Pistillate Flowers

1. What is a monoecious and dioecious plant?

A monoecious plant consists of separate male flowers as well as female flowers occurring on the same plant. A dioecious plant has either staminate or pistillate flowers on separate plants.

2. What is carpel?

The carpel is a leaf like structure formed from each pistil and each of it encloses one or more ovules. A carpel is a single megasporophyll or we can say modified seed-bearing leaf.  One carpel having a pistil is called the simple pistil, for example- in sweet pea and a pistil having two or more carpels is called a compound pistil. For example, mustard has two carpels and lily flowers have three carpels. From here arises two important terms called apocarpous (flower containing separate pistils and therefore separate carpels) and syncarpous (containing a single pistil with two or more united carpels).

3. What is an ovule?

An ovule is a plant structure that develops into a seed when fertilised. There is a food tissue covered by one or two future seed coats in a mature ovule and these coats are called integuments. Micropyle is a small opening in the integuments that permits the pollen tube to enter or discharge its sperm nuclei finally into the embryo sac. The embryo sac is a large oval cell where fertilisation and development occurs. Each ovule gets attached by the base of the stalk or funiculus.