What are the Parts of a Plant and Flower? (Gardening Basics)

Flower Petals

Knowing the parts and functions of what you grow is key for organic gardeners.

Plants are diverse living organisms that can be found in your backyard all over the world. Archaeologists have even discovered fossils of plants!

While some plants produce pretty flowers or delicious fruits or vegetables, other types of plants serve as food for animals or even as their shelter.

Today some plant experts suggest that there are some 315,000 different varieties of plants! While these different types of plants vary dramatically in appearance and location, many of them contain the same basic plant parts.

What are the Different Parts of a Plant?

Plants have two organ systems. The shoot system is the part of the plant that appears above ground, while the root system is the part of the plant that lies beneath the soil.

In this way, the shoot system is made up of parts that are found above the ground, such as leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits, whereas the root system is made up of the underground parts of a plant, such as the roots, tubers, and rhizomes.

The plant body contains three main parts, the roots, the stems, and the leaves. Flowering plants also contain flowers, fruits, and seeds.

Let’s look at each of these parts one by one to understand different parts of plants better:

1. Roots

Arguably the most important of the plant, even though we rarely see them, a plant’s roots or “root system” do so many different important jobs for the plant.

It is the part of the plant that lies beneath the soil’s surface. A covering known as a root cap covers the top part of a root, also known as the root apex.

The roots anchor the plant into the ground and transport water, vitamins, and minerals from the soil that the plant needs to grow and develop.

The root system also stores important nutrients when there may not be nutrients (like during the winter) to keep the plant alive and healthy. If plants were unable to store nutrients for future use they wouldn’t be able to live nearly as long.

This is also the plant responsible for producing plant growth hormones that allow it to grow and thrive. Simultaneously, it develops new plants from the roots of old plants which is also known as vegetative reproduction.

2. Stems

The plant’s stem is like its backbone: the stem provides overall structure and support to the plant, and it is essential to a plant’s growth.

They are found above ground and consist of nodes and internodes. The areas where leaves grow are known as nodes, and the areas between the nodes are known as internodes.

Plant stems are what transport water and nutrients the root system gathers from the soil throughout the plant through the leaves, buds, flower and fruit.

Depending on the type of plant, stems can vary dramatically, from the thin and flexible stems of a dandelion flower to the sturdy, rigid stem (trunk) of a tree.

It’s also the part of a plant responsible for storing food mainly in the form of starch.

3. Leaves

Leaves are found mostly above the ground and attached to the stem part of a plant. It consists of three main parts, the petiole, the leaf base, and the lamina or leaf blade.

If plants didn’t have leaves they wouldn’t be able to live! Leaves absorb sunlight and convert it to energy through a process called photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis needs a large amount of sunlight, carbon dioxide (what we exhale), water and chlorophyll which is found in the leaves of plants.

Photosynthesis happens constantly so the plant has the proper amount of energy and fuel to live.

Aside from photosynthesis, leaves play an important role in the removal of excess water from plants via tiny pores known as stomata. This is the transpiration process.

4. Flowers

While many people think that the flower takes center stage because of their beauty and smell, flowers do so much more!

In most plants, the flower is the reproductive system of the plant. Like other living organisms, flowers contain organs that produce eggs known as ovules and male and female organs.

During pollination, ovules are fertilized leading to the growth and development of a fruit.

To understand this better, we need to further look into the different parts of a slower. This part of the plant mainly consists of four main parts.

The first is the sepals, or the green parts of a flower that product the flower buds from being damaged.

The second part is the petals. They’re above the sepals and assist in pollination.

The third part is the stamens. They consist of an anther and a filament. The stamen is the male reproductive parts of a plant that produce spermatia, or the male sex cells.

The fourth part is the carpel, which consists of the stigma style and ovary. These are the female reproductive part of a plant that produces female sex cells, also known as ovules.

5. Seeds

Seeds, while we might find them annoying while eating an apple or a peach, serve a purpose: they contain all of the materials needed to grow a new plant!

The ovules after fertilization produce seeds, which are then fertilized to form new plants.

Much as a plant’s other parts look very different from one type of plant to another, so too are the seeds differing in size, shape, and complexity.

Without seeds, the existence of several plant species would be threatened.

6. Fruit

Fruits are the ripened ovary that is found in flowers after fertilization.

Like the plant stem, the fruit of a plant looks dramatically different depending on the type of plant. Most of the time, fruit only develops during a specific time in the growing cycle.

Some fruits may be soft and edible while others are hard or difficult to eat and some are even poisonous! We might think that plants grow fruit just as food for us to eat, however, the true purpose for fruit is to protect the seed or seeds that grow inside.

If reading about the anatomy of a plant has planted some deep-rooted interest in learning more, consider the following resources:

The Great Plant Escape – This interactive site explains the different parts of the plant in a mystery-style format and includes case briefings and facts on plants as well.

Growing Plants: A Lesson Plan – Teachers and educators can use this curriculum guide to teach their students about the process of a plant growing from a seed.

Six Plant Parts – This classroom page explains the six main components of plants plus a song about them.

Plant Interactive Fun for Kids! – Check out this page that has a bunch of further resources on everything to do with plants (and they’re all interactive)!

Plant Reproduction – For further information about how plant reproduction happens (in flowering plants) look no further than this page with its labeled diagrams and easy-to-understand descriptions.

Grow on a strong foundation. We stock everything you need: potting soils to get your seeds started and plant supports for securing vines and vegetables, sprayers for applying compost teas and garden tools for making short work of those big jobs.