Sepals are small, leaf-shaped, green-coloured and outermost part of the flower. They are the vegetative part of a flower, which functions by protecting the rising buds and by supporting the petals when in bloom. The sepals are considered as the modified leaves.
The size and shape of the sepals vary with the flower species. They are either fused together or separated and are found in different numbers. The sepals of a single flower are collectively called the calyx.
Also refer: Parts of a Flower
Structure of Sepals
Sepals are green in colour and the vegetative part of a plant found only in flowering plants. They are the outermost layer of a flower, which enclose the flower bud and are collectively called the calyx. They are the leaf-like structure, which makes up a flower. The sepals mainly consist of parenchyma, secretory cells called laticifers, tannin cells and other specialized plants cell organelles. The colour of the sepals usually varies with the different plant species. Green coloured sepals comprise plastids called chloroplasts within their cells, along with the differentiated palisade and spongy mesophylls.
Function of Sepals
- Provide support to the flowers.
- Prevents the flower from drying out.
- Protects the reproductive organs within the flower.
- In some plants with no petals, sepals function as petals.
- Safeguard the bud and flowers from harsh environmental conditions.
- Sepals protect both flowers and fruits by producing chemicals that would ward off predators.
- In some rare plant species, sepal serves as thorns and functions by protecting the flower.
- They form a protective cover for a flower at its bud stage as they cover around it until they are ready to bloom.
- In rare cases, sepal grows larger and protects the fruits from honey bees, birds and different kinds of insects.
Read more: Flowers and Inflorescence
This article concludes an introduction to sepals. To know more about sepals, their structure, functions, parts of flowers, other related topics and important questions on flowers, types of flowers, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.