Flower  

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Madonna and Child with Carnation (Cincinnati version, 1530-35) (flower detail) by Joos van Cleve
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Madonna and Child with Carnation (Cincinnati version, 1530-35) (flower detail) by Joos van Cleve

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in plants that are floral (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs. Flowers may facilitate outcrossing (fusion of sperm and eggs from different individuals in a population) or allow selfing (fusion of sperm and egg from the same flower). Some flowers produce diaspores without fertilization (parthenocarpy). Flowers contain sporangia and are the site where gametophytes develop. Many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen. After fertilization, the ovary of the flower develops into fruit containing seeds.

In addition to facilitating the reproduction of flowering plants, flowers have long been admired and used by humans to bring beauty to their environment, and also as objects of romance, ritual, religion, medicine and as a source of food.

Many flowers have important symbolic meanings in Western culture. The practice of assigning meanings to flowers is known as floriography.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Flower" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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