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Word of the Week: Diclinous

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

The word of the week is diclinous [dai-kli-nuhs] (adjective): having male and female parts on separate flowers.

Diclinous flowers are part of the wide diversity of sexual systems present in the plant kingdom. These type of flowers house only one of the sexes in one individual structure — either the male part (stamen), or the female part (pistil or carpel) is missing, vestigial, non-functional or not fully developed.

Flowers of this kind are also called unisexual flowers or “imperfect” or “incomplete” flowers. Flowers that have only the stamen are staminate and ones with only the female part are pistillate or carpellate.

The opposite of diclinous is monoclinous where the flower has both functional male and functional female parts.