Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Carpel Defined

Gynoecium - a guide to floral structure

What is the carpel?

The carpel is a unit of the gynoecium consisting of ovary, style and stigma:

Carpel Structure
  • Stigma: the area at the distal end of the style that is usually sticky so that it can capture pollen grains.
  • Style: After capture compatible pollen grains germinate and the pollen tube grows down the style transporting the generative nuclei towards the ovary.
  • Ovary: usually swollen basal part of the carpel that houses the ovules (become seeds after fertilisation) that are located within a cavity called the loculus (also known as a locule). In the plural form these words are loculi and locules, respectively.

Illustration from Clarke, I. & Lee, H. (2003) Name that Flower, Melbourne University Press, Victoria.