Gateway to the Classics: Wild-Flower Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
Wild-Flower Study by  Anna Botsford Comstock

How To Teach the Names of the Parts of a Flower and of the Plant

dropcap image HE scientific names given to the parts of plants have been the stumbling block to many teachers, and yet no part of plant study is more easily accomplished. First of all, the teacher should have in mind clearly the names of the parts which she wishes to teach; the illustrations here given are for her convenience. When talking with the pupils about flowers let her use these names naturally:

"See how many geraniums we have; the corolla of this one is red and of that one is pink. The red corolla has fourteen petals and the pink one only five," etc.


A flower with the parts named.

"This arbutus which James brought has a pretty little pink bell for a corolla."

"The purple trillium has a purple corolla, the white trillium a white corolla; and both have green sepals."


A flower with petals united forming a tube, and with sepals likewise united.

The points to be borne in mind are that children like to call things by their names because they are real  names, and they also like to use "grown up" names for things; but they do not like to commit to memory names which to them are meaningless. Circumlocution is a waste of breath; calling a petal a "leaf of a flower" or the petiole "the stem of a leaf," is like calling a boy's arm "the projecting part of James' body" or Molly's golden hair "the yellow top" to her head. All the names should be taught gradually by constant unemphasized use on the part of the teacher; and if the child does not learn the names naturally then do not make him do it unnaturally.


A leaf with parts named.

The lesson on the garden, or horseshoe geranium with single flowers, is the one to be given first in teaching the structure of a flower since the geranium blossom is simple and easily understood.

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