Skip to main content
Select Source:

petal

petal, one of the four basic parts of a flower, next innermost organ from the sepal. The whorl of petals is known collectively as the corolla [Lat.,=little crown]. The number of petals is usually constant within groups (e.g., five in the rose family), as are the numbers of the other organs. Identification by number is, however, complicated by various factors; the petals may be fused, inconspicuous, or entirely absent, in which case their role as the showy part of the flower is sometimes supplanted by modified leaves, the bracts, as in the dogwood and poinsettia, or by modified stamens, as in the canna and the lady's-slipper. Selective breeding can produce petallike stamens (e.g., in cultivated roses and geraniums) and so-called double flowers, i.e., varieties with more than the normal number of petals. Petals are usually brightly colored and often secrete perfume and nectar (in nectaries at the base of the petal) that attract insects and birds needed for cross-pollination. When fertilization has taken place the petals usually drop off; however, in some flowers they persist (see everlasting). In general there are fewer petals and their fusion is greater as the evolutionary development increases. Radially symmetrical arrangement also gives way to bilateral symmetry or even asymmetry.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/petal

"petal." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/petal

petal

petal One of the parts of the flower that make up the corolla. Petals of insect-pollinated plants are usually brightly coloured and often scented. Those of wind-pollinated plants are usually reduced or absent. Petals are considered to be modified leaves but their structure is simpler. Epidermal hairs may be present and the cuticle is often covered by lines or dots known as honey guides, which direct insects to the nectar.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal-0

"petal." A Dictionary of Biology. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal-0

petal

pet·al / ˈpetl/ • n. each of the segments of the corolla of a flower, which are modified leaves and are typically colored. DERIVATIVES: pet·al·ine / ˈpetlˌīn; -in/ adj. pet·aled adj. [in comb.] pink-petaled trailing phlox. pet·al·like / -ˌlīk/ adj. pet·al·oid / -ˌoid/ adj.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal-0

"petal." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal-0

petal

petal. Imbrication, petal-diaper, or scale-pattern ornament suggesting overlapping scale-like shapes. It represents roofing-tiles, as on the top of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, Athens (C4 bc), and was often found in Roman work, e.g. sarcophagi. Petal-diaper patterns occur in roofing and tile-hanging.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal

"petal." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal

petal

petal Part of a flower. The petals of a flower are together known as the corolla. Surrounded by sepals, flower petals are often brightly coloured and may secrete nectar and perfume to attract the insects and birds necessary for cross-pollination. Once fertilization occurs, the petals usually drop off.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/petal

"petal." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/petal

petal

petal XVIII. — modL. petalum, in medL. metal plate — Gr. pétalon lamina, leaf, sb. use of n. of adj. pétalos outspread, f. base pet-, as in petánnusthai unfold.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal-1

"petal." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal-1

petal

petal In a flower, one of the inner floral leaves, usually brightly coloured, and borne in a tight spiral, or whorled. See also COROLLA.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal

"petal." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal

petal

petalbattle, cattle, chattel, embattle, prattle, rattle, Seattle, tattle •fractal •cantle, covenantal, mantel, mantle, Prandtl •pastel • Fremantle • tittle-tattle •startle, stratal •Nahuatl •fettle, kettle, metal, mettle, nettle, petal, Popocatépetl, settle •dialectal, rectal •dental, gentle, mental, Oriental, parental, rental •transeptal •festal, vestal •gunmetal •antenatal, fatal, hiatal, natal, neonatal, ratel •beetle, betel, chital, decretal, fetal •blackbeetle •acquittal, belittle, brittle, committal, embrittle, it'll, kittle, little, remittal, skittle, spittle, tittle, victual, whittle •edictal, rictal •lintel, pintle, quintal •Bristol, Chrystal, crystal, pistol •varietal • coital • phenobarbital •orbital • pedestal • sagittal • vegetal •digital • skeletal • Doolittle •congenital, genital, primogenital, urogenital •capital • lickspittle • hospital • marital •entitle, mistitle, recital, requital, title, vital •subtitle • surtitle •axolotl, bottle, dottle, glottal, mottle, pottle, throttle, wattle •fontal, horizontal •hostel, intercostal, Pentecostal •greenbottle • bluebottle • Aristotle •chortle, immortal, mortal, portal •Borstal •anecdotal, sacerdotal, teetotal, total •coastal, postal •subtotal •brutal, footle, pootle, refutal, rootle, tootle •buttle, cuttle, rebuttal, scuttle, shuttle, subtle, surrebuttal •buntal, contrapuntal, frontal •crustal • societal • pivotal •hurtle, kirtle, myrtle, turtle

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"petal." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"petal." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 15, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal

"petal." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/petal