07 February 2013

Word day Thursday : Androecium

Term and pronunciation Androecium (And-rhee-shee-um)
Etymology From Greek: meaning male house

The androecium is the collection of stamens that make up the male reproductive organs in a flowering plant. The term for the female reproductive organs, containing the stigma, style and ovary, is gynoecium; a collective term for all of the carpels within a flower.
This illustrates the collection of stamen as androecium. Also shows gynoecium for comparison.

Usage and examples
There are three configurations that can occur:

The first is that the androecium may be borne together with the female reproductive organs within the same flower making the plant a hermaphrodite. In this case, the androecium will normally form a whorl around the gynoecium - as in the example of the hellebore to the left.

The second configuration is that the androecium may be borne on the same plant as the gynoecium; but not in the same flower. In this case the plant is a monoecious individual.

Lastly, the androecium and gynoecium can be borne on a different individuals, in which case the term for the plant is dioecious.

The OED website lists John Lindley as the earliest published use of the term androecium in his Introduction to Botany in 1839.

"andrœcium, n.". OED Online. December 2012. Oxford University Press. 5 February 2013 <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/7321?redirectedFrom=androecium&>.
 Allaby, M. (2012) Oxford Dictionary of Plant Sciences, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

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