Structure of Flowers Lemma and Glume: Pedicel and Sessile Flower Types

snerfuStarred Page By snerfu, 29th Jan 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Flowers

Flowers remain attached to many things, including your heart. But they need to remain firmly attached to their stalk arising from the plant or bush to grow and thrive. The kind of attachment changes according to the breed of blossom chosen. Knowing more about these structures will help you make an informed choice for your kitchen garden.

Significance of chaff

Lemma, palea or glume are structures of flowers that form a receptacle for its monocot seed, as in the case of wheat and rice, which are dry and scaly in texture and not digestible by man. Livestock, on the other hand do eat them and they also serve as fuel. People refer to this dry outer covering as chaff.

Differences between lemma, glume, sessile and spike

When flowers attach directly to stalk without any support, we call them sessile flowers. All solitary blooms are pedicelled or sessile. We call that portion of the stalk supporting the flower cluster, the pedicel. Pedicellate florets supported on short floral stalks we call the pedicels by main stalk we refer to as peduncle. Wild hyacinths have bracts on racemes. Choose garden flowers according to their hardiness. Flowers are significant in the way they help attract bees, insects and butterflies for pollination.

Spikelets and grass

Pedicellate blossoms borne in a bunch have older flowers nearer to the base of the supporting stalk and newer flowers grow from the tip. When the supporting stalk forms a covering type of pedicel (as in the case of rice or wheat), they become a spikelet. Subtropical regions, grass varieties, marsh land cultivations produce many such plants that have spikelet.

Spike and Spadix
Spike itself refers to a raceme (stalk that supports the blooming flower) but it has no supporting pedicels. These flowers grow straight on the raceme but need a covering that is dry and without nutritive value. Spadix is a fleshy spike with thick florets on it. Moth mullein belongs to spike variety of flowers. So also are Cattails and Ladies Tresses. You have to pay utmost importance to preparation of garden beds as as well as pollination as this will determine the health of the blossoms.

Change in shape

These structures differ for each variety of plant, you can see, they are, as per their physiognomy different in their shape and size. Here in this article we will examine various kinds of flowers according to their physical characteristics and their significance to man as a social being.

Bract is the portion of the plant that grows between the peduncle and the pedicel. Among the different types of florets, the structure varies according to the way the blossom is oriented with regards to its axis or stem. Smooth rock cress belongs to bractless raceme group. You can find most of these floret varieties in a garden nursery near you.


This has clusters of blooms or Umbels at the tip of their pedicel. You find this kind of inflorescence in the carrot family. Another example is the clover flowers.

Arum family inflorescence has inflorescence with fleshy and thick axis, a swollen bract – the spike, with clusters of unisexual flowers, apetalous and sessile in nature that is poised over the lower female clusters of staminate, pistillate flowers. While gardening pay utmost attention to weeding and watering.

Caladium may be unisexual or bisexual. Golden club and Flamingo flower are bisexual. Unisexual flower examples include watermelon, castor bean, papaya, tapioca and muskmelon.

Cyme will have the oldest floret terminating the main axis of the bloom. Boraginaceae is a typical example of the Cyme. Another is the strawberry bush running variety, a favourite with most kitchen gardeners.


In inflorescence, you find spike, raceme, cyme, corymb (youngest flower in the middle), umbel (bunches of flowers), solitary and panicle (branched racemes on a main stalk of the plant. Water plantain has blossoms of the panicle type. Choose the right blossom types for your kitchen garden.

Position of flowers
One could also classify flowers according to their position on the stem.
i) Terminal: Blooms occur at the end of their stem.
Example: Oleander

ii) Axillary: Flower clusters arise from the junction of branches and along the top of curve of stem.
Example: Hibiscus

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Flower, Flowers, Pedicel, Raceme, Sessile, Spike, Stalk, Support

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author avatar snerfu
Bachelor, Christian, 53, settled in Madurai, India, like to watch football and tennis on TV. I also have occasional walks but try to read the Bible daily. For amusement, I read the newspaper.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
1st Feb 2015 (#)

Great article and beautiful flowers. I simply cannot wait for spring so I can see flowers blooming!

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author avatar snerfu
2nd Feb 2015 (#)

Yes, that is so sweet Nancy. Spring is just months away.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Feb 2015 (#)

Beautiful post just like the subject itself, thanks Snerfu. Enjoyed the lovely video too. I did not take kindly to my botany class in school and the terminology here recalled those times! siva

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author avatar snerfu
5th Feb 2015 (#)

Ha ha Siva, there is no getting away from teachers or school subjects. Thanks for the flashback...I too remember my bio classes.

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