Chapter XXVII

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While it is perhaps not every day that medical professionals are required to know the parts of plants to do their jobs, plant anatomy employs many of the same word elements found in human anatomy and here provides the opportunity to apply your knowledge in a botanical context.

A flower (Lat. flos, flor-) is a plant structure that bears the task of reproduction. At the base of a flower is the stalk-like , so called from the Latin diminutive meaning “little foot” (cf. “peduncle,” “pedicle”). Upon this rests the (lit. "receiving mechanism"), the structure from which the reproductive organs of the plant grow. The female reproductive structure is called the “,” which derives from the diminutive of the Latin word for “pounder” or “pestle,” a name chosen on the basis of its club-like shape. This floral organ contains ovules (“small ”) in an ovary, from which extends the thin (Lat. “pointed instrument”), at the apex of which is the (Grk. “point, prick”), the tip that receives pollen. The male reproductive structure is called the “,” which in Latin denotes a thread in an upright loom. This is made up of two parts: a supportive filament and the pollen-bearing anther. “Anther” comes from the Latin anthera (ultimately from Grk. anthos, “”), which denoted medicine extracted from flowers. Since such medicines were often derived from the internal floral organs, the term eventually settled specifically on the pollen-producing part of the stamen. Inside the anther is the microsporangium, from the Greek for “vessel bearing tiny .”

The structure that surrounds the sexual organs is appropriately called the “,” the “thing around the flower.” This is composed of two structures. The corolla includes the petals of the flower, its name being a Latin diminutive word meaning “little ." The (Grk. “pod, husk”) is the outer covering of leaves, or “sepals,” that offers some protection to the flower.

Also of note are a few terms related to the structure of leaves, as seen by cross-section. The outer surface is called the “,” a diminutive of the Latin for “skin.” A mouth-like opening on the underside of the leaf that allows for the exchange of gases is called a “” (Grk. “mouth”). Between the upper and lower epidermal layers is the aptly named “,” the area “in the middle of the leaf.” Finally, the veins running throughout a leaf contain vascular tissues known as “xylem” and “phloem.” The former transports water and comes from the Greek xylon (“”), so called because this tissue makes up the harder portion of the vascular tissue. “Phloem,” which comes from the Greek phloios (“”), refers to vessels that transport sugar and other substances within the plant.