One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The female reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of an ovary, a stigma, and usually a style. It may occur singly or as one of a group.
- ‘Unisexual flowers with three white petals produce numerous stamens or carpels and both present floral nectar.’
- ‘Ovules from self-pollinated carpels appear to degenerate early in development.’
- ‘No mature fruits had more than two seedless carpels.’
- ‘The terminal female flowers consist of two or three carpels and no other organs.’
- ‘In the center of a typical flower are the carpels, modified leaves which enclose the ovules.’
Mid 19th century: from French carpelle or modern Latin carpellum, from Greek karpos ‘fruit’.
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