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Carpels in dicots: question

Bill Purves purves at THUBAN.AC.HMC.EDU
Thu Feb 15 01:05:35 EST 2001

Peter/HesperAloe asked:

>I just bought a loofah sponge (Cucurbitaceae family) and noticed it had 3
>compartments (carpels). I thought dicots always had floral parts in multiples
>of 4's and 5's...Does this also apply to the carpel visible when the fruit is
>sliced transversely?
>                          Peter

The ovary of most cucurbits is tricarpellate, as you observed in
_Luffa_.  Among the eudicots there are lots of cases of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
carpels.  The "4's and 5's" are typical but NOT universal for the
sepals and petals of eudicots.  And there is more variation to
be found in the counts for stamens and carpels.  And there are of
course other non-monocot angiosperms that aren't eudicots, and that
don't go by 4's/5's.


William K. Purves      Vice President/Editorial Director
The Mona Group LLC                     West Coast Office
2817 N. Mountain Avenue              phone: 909.626.4859   
Claremont, CA 91711-1550               fax: 909.626.7030
              e-mail: purves at monagroup.com


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