The ABC model of floral development
Flowers are organized into concentric whorls of sepals, petals, stamens and carpels, with each of these floral organ types having a unique role in reproduction (Figure 1). Sepals enclose and protect the flower bud, while petals can be large and showy so as to attract pollinators (or people!). Stamens produce pollen grains that contain male gametes, while the carpels contain the ovules that when fertilized will produce the seeds. While the size, shape, number and elaboration of each of these organ types can be quite different, the same general organization of four floral organ types arranged in concentric whorls exists across all flowering plant (angiosperm) species. As I shall explain in this Primer, the ‘ABC model' is a simple and satisfying explanation for how this conserved floral architecture is genetically specified.
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