Thursday, April 30, 2009

What is the difference between carpel and pistil?

The female part of the flower is referred to either as the carpel or the pistil. What is the difference between these two terms?

What is the difference between carpel and pistil?
A typical flower has the following parts and their individual component.

1) Calyx = The outer most floral whorl , usually green in color.

the individual components are Sepals ( All sepals together form Calyx)

2 ) Corolla = It is inner to calyx . Usually attractively colored.The individual components are called Petals ( All petals together form corolla.)

3 ) Androecium = It is the third floral whorl in the sequence . It is commonly refereed to as the Male Reproductive Whorl and its individual components are called Stamens . The anther at the top produce Pollen Grains.( All stamens together form Androecium )

4 ) Gynoecium OR Pistil = It is the last and the inner most floral whorl . The individual members are called Carpels . The ovary at the base contains ovules that turn in to seeds after pollination and fertilization. ( All carpels together form Gynoecium or Pistil )

So , Pistil == All the carpels taken together == Gynoecium.

Pistil may be monocarpellary ( Only one carpel )

Or it may be polycarpellary ( Many carpels)

This is just basic information limited to the question asked.

A diagram is on the link below , just click it --
Reply:The easiest way to teach the concept of carpel is to start with the pea pod

(nearly always available for dissection at the local supermarket) which, as

you know, is a simple pistil, composed of a single carpel. Students can

easily cut open the pea pod and fold it back to show the leaf-like nature

of the carpel, with ovules attached at the margins of the leaf. Then I

suggest that they take five pea pods and bundle them together with a rubber

band to simulate fusion. Then we notice the kinds of "clues" one can look

for to determine carpel number in a pistil/fruit: number of "scallops" on

the ovary, number of style/stigma branches, and number of locules in the


There is a clear need for keeping the two terms, carpel and pistil. They

are not synonymous except in the case of the simple pistil, composed of a

single carpel
Reply:The carpel and pistil are the same exact thing, pistil is more of a layman term.

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