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Word of the Week: Sepal
May 17, 2019 by Haya Aldoori

Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each Friday to amp up your nature vocabulary!

Forsythia by Haya Aldoori

Sepal [SEE-puh l] (noun): A part of a plant, shaped like a leaf, that lies at the base of a flower.

Often green in colour, sepals come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some sepals are long and thin, while others are short and thick. Some sepals seem very separate and individualized, while other sepals are fused together, making almost like a cup shape around the petals. It all depends on the flower!

If we look at the bright yellow Forsythia, it is a beautiful flowering plant that has its petals and its sepals in fours. The small green sepals can easily be seen because of how they contrast with the large and yellow petals.

Whether on the Forsythia, or other flowers, sepals typically play a protective role for the developing buds and also act as a support for the petals once the flowers are in bloom. After the flowers have fully bloomed, they usually have no more use for their sepals, so the sepals will either wither away or degenerate.

If you’re curious to learn more about wildflowers and their sepals this spring, register for our “Spring Wildflower ID” workshop here: https://highparknaturecentre.c...

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