One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A segment of the outer whorl in a flower that has no differentiation between petals and sepals.
- ‘The blossoms vary in the number of thick tepals, or petals, and last only two to four days.’
- ‘Flowers are available with plain tepals and ruffled tepals.’
- ‘The six subequal tepals are arranged in two whorls and horizontally spread.’
- ‘The flower closing occurs through upward movements of the tepals, which return to their bud position.’
- ‘However, these authors did not observe the initiation of tepals and stamens on the same whorl on individual flowers.’
Mid 19th century: from French tépale, blend of pétale ‘petal’ and sépal ‘sepal’.
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