pedicel [ PED-uh-suhl, -sel ] noun: a thin stalk that supports an individual flower (or fruit) of an inflorescence (or infructescence)
What’s stalking flowers and foliage? A pedicel is the stalk that attaches an individual flower within an inflorescence to the main axis of the inflorescence or its branches above the peduncle. The peduncle is the stalk that joins the base of an inflorescence to the main stem. The petiole is the stalk that attaches a leaf blade to the main stem. Flowers or leaves without stalks are referred to as sessile.
A pedicel supports an individual flower or fruit, transports nutrients and water, and provides the correct orientation of the flower to attract pollinators and facilitate pollination. When the orientation of a flower is disturbed (e.g., because the stem or peduncle have been bent by wind, herbivores, or careless humans), research has found that the pedicels of some flower species can bend or rotate to reorient their flowers for proper pollen placement and procurement. For example, formal observation of Tricyrtis formosana (Japanese toad lily), whose usual floral orientation had been accidentally altered, revealed that the pedicel bent to restore the natural upward orientation of the flower within one to two days (Armbruster 2020).
Armbruster WS. Muchhala N. 2020. Floral reorientation: the restoration of pollination accuracy after accidents. New Phytologist. 227(1): 232–243. doi: 10.1111/nph.16482
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