What are Perfect Flowers?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Perfect flowers are related to hermaphroditism, bisexuality, and reproduction, at least in the plant world.

A flowering plant's reproductive system generally consists of a male component called the stamen and a female component called the pistil. The male stamen is responsible for generating pollen, tiny particles of dust containing part of the plant's genetic code. Eventually, this pollen must be delivered to the female pistil, which provides its own genetic material in the form of an ovary and a place for the combined elements to mature into fruit. Plants described as imperfect may only have a male stamen or a female pistil, but not both. They depend on insects, birds or the wind to deliver or receive pollen.

Perfect flowers, on the other hand, have both stamens and pistils in the same structure. The stamens remain very close to the pistil, releasing significantly more pollen than imperfect male plants do. These flowers are not dependent on outside influences such as insects or wind to successfully pollinate.

The vast majority of flowering and fruit-bearing plants are considered to be perfect flowers. Examples include dandelions, lilies, tomatoes, and roses, but the list also includes virtually every fruit and vegetable plant commonly found in North America. The reproductive mechanics of perfect flowers are nature's way of ensuring plants will bear fruit or form new blossoms. Self-pollinating plants almost always have the same characteristics generation after generation, with little to no mutation.


Lilies are ideal plants for those seeking to examine the structure of perfect flowers. The male stamen, loaded with pollen sacs, stands above the female pistil. When pollen is released, it falls directly into the area just above the ovaries. Once the pollen comes into direct contact with an ovary, the result should be a beautiful blossom.


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Post 3

Thanks so much for this article -- my daughter works in a same day flower store, and she was always catching flak from flower enthusiasts who would come in talking in flower jargon, including the "perfect" flower vs "imperfect flower" thing.

It took her a few weeks to find out what it was about, but now she's all up on her flower terms.

Post 2

I wonder how many women after reading this will want to start using "perfect" flowers for their wedding flower bouquets -- I bet the symbolism in that will be too much to resist.

Just another reason I always order and buy flowers online -- that way I don't get mean looks when I make remarks like that -- florists tend to send me on my way rather quickly.

Post 1

I actually ran across this article while searching for the perfect wedding flowers, but I'm really glad that I came across this.

This is such an informative article, and now the next time I order flowers or go to a flowers shop I can wow the staff with my knowledge or perfect flowers vs imperfect flowers!

Thanks for such an interesting article!

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