Tulip Dissection: Learning the Parts of a Flower
As spring arrives, there are beautiful flowers to enjoy. Even though flowers look different from each other, they all have the same basic parts. We are going to look inside a flower and see the different parts that it is made of! Make sure to always get permission before picking a flower and have an adult help you with this activity.
• Tulip or other large, simple flower (daffodils and lilies also work well)
• Plastic knife
• Cutting board or tray
• Paper towels
• (Optional): Magnifying glass
• Paper and pencils or crayons
1. Starting at the bottom of the flower, gently cut open the base of the flower where the petals attach.
2. Gently open the base of the flower and separate the different parts. It helps to remove the petals first.
3. Inside the petals, you will see the stamen, which is where the pollen is. The pollen can make the stamen look fuzzy. There are several of these. This is the male part of the flower.
4. In the center of the flower is the pistil, which is usually taller than the stamen. There is only one pistil in a flower. This is the female part of the flower.
5. If you open the bulging part right below where the petals attach, you will see the ovary of the flower. This is where seeds will grow if a flower is pollinated.
6. Look closely at all of the parts of the flower, including the parts we have talked about as well as the stem and leaves if there are any.
7. Since the flower won’t last, you can use a sheet of paper and crayons or pencils to draw your flower.
8. Label the different parts of the flower.
• Some flowers, like tulips, have both male and female parts. Other types of flowers only have one or the other, so both types of flowers must be present for pollination.
• Bees come to flowers looking for nectar, and the pollen gets stuck to their legs. Then when a bee goes to the next flower it takes the pollen with it and pollinates the next flower. This lets the flower grow seeds. Next time you’re out on a walk or in your yard look for bees pollinating flowers!
• Some gardeners and scientists also pollinate flowers. You can do the same thing using a small paintbrush to transfer pollen from one flower to another- it just has to be the same type of flower for pollination to work. There are also other insects and even birds and bats that can help with pollination. Some types of flowers rely on wind to pollinate.
• You can look for these different parts in any type of flower- just make sure to get permission before picking a flower. In some flowers, the parts are smaller and harder to see, but they are there!