Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Carpel, the female sporophyll, or leaf bearing ovules, or immature seeds, among spermaphytes or flowering plants. There may be one carpel in the flower, as in the pea and bean family, when the fruit is necessarily monocarpellary; or, if there are more, when it is termed poly carpellary, they may be distinct (apocarpous), or united (syncarpous). In the early stages of development (and sometimes, as in the bladder-senna, Colutea, etc., much later) they closely resemble other leaves, and in the ripening of the fruit may dry up like a withering leaf, or may become fleshy and change colour from green to yellow, red, purple, or black, at the same time undergoing chemical changes such as the formation of acids and sugars. They bear the ovules either on their margins, like the buds in Bryophyllum, as in Cycas; or over their whole inner surface, as in poppies. Three is the prevalent number of carpels among Monocotyledons, though one, two, four, six, or higher numbers occur; whilst among Dicotyledons two, five, one, or an indefinite number is common.