peduncle [ pi-DUHNG-kuhl, PEE-duhng- ] noun: the main stalk of a solitary flower (or fruit) or of an inflorescence (or infructescence)
What’s stalking flowers and foliage? We call leafstalks petioles. Flower stalks, on the other hand, may be referred to as either peduncles or pedicels. A peduncle is the stalk that joins the base of a solitary flower/fruit or a cluster of flowers/fruits (inflorescence/infructescence) to the main stem above a subtending bract, leaf, or node. Within an inflorescence/infructescence, the stalk of each individual flower/fruit is called a pedicel, which attaches the base of that flower/fruit to the main axis of the inflorescence/infructescence or its branches above the peduncle. For example, a peduncle holds a cluster of grapes, but each individual grape is held on a pedicel. Flowers/fruits without stalks are referred to as sessile.
Plants in the Asteraceae (aster family, pictured in the first gallery row below) may appear to have solitary flowers, but each is a complex inflorescence called a capitulum. It is usually a compact head of many tiny florets all sharing the same receptacle and held on a broad, flat peduncle. Its individual florets are sessile or nearly so.
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