Plant Morphology question

November 4, 2013

Categories: Cytology, Science

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I’ve been trying to recall a the word which denotes the structure connecting the seed to the ovary in a narcissus.  I believe it starts with O, perhaps omb…  Any ideas?


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8 Responses to Plant Morphology question

  1. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    November 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    In the Handbook for Growing, Exhibition and Judging of Daffodils the:

    Style: the portion of the pistil connecting the stigma to the ovary.

    Stigma: The tip of the pistil that receives the pollen


  2. Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    Clay Higgins, New Jersey
    November 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    From the same judges handbook: Ovary: The swollen basal portion of the pistil; the part containing the ovules, which after fertilization, becomes the fruit bearing the seeds.


    I’m hoping one of these definitions may help: ovules maybe.

  3. Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    Stephen Vinisky, Oregon
    November 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Melissa,

    The filament connection between the seed and the ovary is called a “funiculus”.


  4. Melissa Reading, California
    November 4, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    OK, Mike Berrigan, in private communication, has come up with the term I was searching for.  It’s the elaiosome (oil-rich food body attractive to ants) at the chalazal end of the seed.  So that’s the “other” end of the seed.  Thanks for the help!

  5. Larry Force, Mississippi
    Larry Force, Mississippi
    November 5, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I  did not know the connecting structure but certainly agree it is attractive to ants. Several times I have had cyclamineus species  and other miniature cyclamineus crosses seed disappear once they fall on the ground. This structure is very evident on this type of fresh seed and as the seed are very small,  are easily carried off to parts unknown. Perhaps this is natures way of dispersing the seed to a wider area.

  6. Melissa Reading, California
    November 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Larry, having the name in hand thanks to Mike, I did some searching on the term elaiosome, and indeed, there seems to be agreement that the purpose is for ants to disperse the seed.  They take the seed to their brood, the elaiosome is consumed, and the seed itself is removed from the nest and put in the trash pile, which is very rich in frass and carcasses.  This provides a great seedbed.  So both the plant and the ant benefit from the arranger–but perhaps not the hybridizer!


  7. Jaydee Ager, Georgia
    Jaydee Ager, Georgia
    November 7, 2013 at 6:17 am

    I have a strong interest in southeastern USA native plants,from both the Piedmont and Coastal Plain areas.  Many of you are familiar with trilliums, my most favorite spring ephemeral.  The recent discussion about elaiosomes reminded me of how trillium colonies are most often distributed.

    “Trilliums are myrmecochorous, with ants as agents of seed dispersal. Ants are attracted to the elaiosomes on the seeds and collect them and transport them away from the parent plant. The seeds of Trillium camschatcense and T. tschonoskii, for example, are collected by the ants Aphaenogaster smythiesi and Myrmica ruginodis.”

  8. David Adams, New Zealand
    November 8, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Cyclamen seeds mature on top of the bulb and I understand that ants are also the seed ditributers. Hence the name cyclamineus is all the more appropriate.

    Somewhere I heard the term ‘spiriol’ I think. Maybe someone can enlighten me.