What are the BRACTEES of a FLOWER, their characteristics and examples - Summary

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Our intention at Ecologista Verde is to try to get even closer to the nature that surrounds you so that you can admire it as it truly deserves and, thus, you can enjoy it even more. Therefore, in this article we want to teach you a little more about the organs or parts of some plants to increase your knowledge of botany. Specifically, we will talk about what are bracts, their characteristics and examples, as well as differences with other parts of the plant.

Thus, to make it even easier for you to start identifying them, we offer you a list of plants with bracts. You will see that you already know many of them. Do you want to expand your knowledge a little more? Well, join us in this article where we explain everything you need to know about these curious parts of the plant world.

What are bracts

They are known as bracts or hypsofilos, within the specific terms of botany, to those modified leaves located near compound flowers, typical of angiosperm plants.

Bracts are foliar organs that differ, depending on the species, from normal leaves due to their size and color. However, there are cases where this line of visual differentiation can be quite fine, as is the case with those known as floral bracts, which become even more showy than the flowers themselves. There are also the so-called bracteoles or profils which are those that are born in the floral pedicel and that are located right on the lateral axis of the flower.

Therefore, the best way to differentiate the bracts of the leaves or sepals of a plant is by the function they perform. And it is that the bracts work as protective shield of flowers. In fact, they also carry out photosynthesis, although their contribution is less than that of the rest of the parts of the plant.

Commonly bracts are known as fake flowers Since, due to what has been explained above, especially in the case of floral bracts, these are much more striking and showy, so it is normal that they are usually confused with flowers. The best example is that of the poinsettia. In this case, the bracts that take on that intense red color due to the drop in temperatures, are confused with the petals of the small flowers that accompany the interior, so it seems that the flower is all the red part when in reality these are modified leaves and flowers are the small white ones in the center.

We recommend you learn more with these other Green Ecologist articles about the Parts of a plant and their functions and What are the parts of a flower and their functions.

Characteristics of the bracts

Next, we are going to list the main characteristics of the bracts in order to differentiate them from the rest of the organs of flowering plants:

  • Generally, the bracts are smaller than the leaves of the plant, although there are exceptional cases where this happens in reverse.
  • The bracts are usually bright and striking in color and can range from the most intense green to have different types of coloration ranging from red to purple, through pink, yellow and even white.
  • Although they also carry out photosynthesis, their energy contribution is much lower than that of the rest of the parts of the plant than if they do it actively, such as the stem or the leaves.
  • The main function of the bracts is to protect the flowers to ensure their reproduction. Mainly, they protect it from insects or from climatic effects, such as strong winds or heavy rains.
  • The bracts are born just at the base of the flowers and reach their maximum development before the flowers are fully developed.
  • The bracts can form from one to several overlapping floors around the flower.

Examples of plants with flower bracts

These are some examples of plants with flower bracts:

  • Alpinia purpurata or red alpidia
  • Tillia sp or linden
  • Taraxacum officinale or dandelion
  • Euphorbia pulcherrima or poinsettia
  • Cynara scolymus or artichoke
  • Anthurium sp or anthurium
  • Bouganvillea sp or bougainvillea
  • Zantedeschia aethiopica or cove
  • Guzmania sp or guzmania
  • Heliconia sp or platanillo
  • Mussaenda sp or Buddha lamp
  • Vriesia or Indian feather

Difference between bracts and sepals

You may wonder, at this point, how you can differentiate the bracts from the sepals of a plant due to their great similarity, especially due to their similar morphology and coloration in some cases. And it is that there are sepals and bracts of intense green color, due to chlorophyll, and that only differ with the naked eye by their size and position.

Remember that the bracts are modified leaves that are very close or almost glued to the flower or inflorescence in most cases. While the sepals They are formed during the growth of the plant during the first cycle and second protective cycle. These, in addition, are arranged around the flower calyx, not glued to them.

In addition, the sepals are completely independent organs, while the bracts make up a unique set that protects the flower. This set is called the involucre and it can be found, depending on the species, at the base of the flower, in the chapter or in the umbel of the plant.

If you want to read more articles similar to What are the bracts of a flower, their characteristics and examples, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

You will help the development of the site, sharing the page with your friends
This page in other languages: