What is the main purpose of a flower? Of a fruit?

1 Answer
Jan 14, 2017

The purpose of a flower is sexual reproduction. Only flowering plants can bear fruits, which contain the seeds. The fruit's purpose is to protect and disperse the seeds.


An idealized flower contains both male and female reproductive organs. Some plants have flowers with either male or female reproductive organs, so there are separate sexes. Other plants have male and female flowers in separate places on the plant. Some plants contain flowers like the idealized flower below, with both male and female reproductive organs. Refer to the image below.

The Female Part of a Flower:

Pistil: contains the stigma, style, ovary and ovule

Stigma: sticky part of the pistil where pollen lands

Style: connects the stigma to the ovary

Ovary: contains the ovule(s) (a fruit is a mature ovary containing seeds)

Ovule: contains the egg cells, which will be fertilized by sperm from pollen, and which will become seeds


The Male Part of a Flower:

Stamen: contains the anther and filament

Filament: supports the anther

Anther: produces pollen, which contains the sperm cells


The purpose of a fruit is to protect and disperse seeds. In absence of fruit, the seeds will remain 'naked', as happens in gymnosperms.

Fleshy fruits are eaten by animals and will then undergo digestion after which the seeds are passed in the animals' feces. For many plants, passing through an animal's digestive tract is essential in order for the seeds to be viable.

Not all flowers produce fleshy fruits, especially those whose fruit are dispersed by the wind, such as dandelions.

Botanically speaking, any plant part that contains seeds is a fruit.