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Pericarpel   [ Botany ] Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names
Synonym: Hypantium,  Floral tube, Floral cup
     
  A pericarpel or hypanthium is the tissue of the upper part of the flower stem ( receptacle), surrounding  the lower part of the pistil that is recessed into the stem. The pericarpel at ripening becomes the outermost covering of a fruit.  
     

The fruit of Cactaceae clearly shows that the pericarpel is a fused combination of shoot and the true botanical fruit, the mature ovary.

 (For example,  when we eat the fleshy fruits of prickly-pears, we are eating primarily stem tissue (after removing the glochids and spines, of course). Because the pericarpel is composed of stem tissue, it, like a regular cladode, produces conic leaves and areoles in its sides that, in turn, produce glochids  and sometimes spines, or even flower buds.


The pericarpel of some opuntias fruits, (e.g. Cylindropuntia fulgida)  can also produces vegetative propagules. Since the pericarpel surrounding the ovary is actually modified stem tissue and has the ability to generate new organs such as adventitious roots and stems, the fruits can drop from the parent plant and develop into clonal individuals.

     

 

 

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