Pulling flowers apart is the sort of behaviour that’s usually frowned upon. But this time it’s for a good cause; learning a little bit about flower anatomy. You don’t need to sacrifice a daffodil in its prime either, one slightly past its best works just fine. And there are no tools required apart from your own hands – we managed to tear this flower apart without scissors or knives.
Start by locating the spathe – it’s a bit like a brown paper bag just under the flower:
The spathe protects the flower bud. It splits as the petals grow and emerge, as illustrated below:
Remove the spathe, then take a good look at the petals:
Our daffodil had 6 petals. When you’ve removed the petals you should be left with the cup or corona:
Rip the corona lengthways then peel it away from the flower stem. A little bit of pollen may be released as you do this.
Then you can remove six stamens (the male part of the flower’s reproductive system). Each stamen consists of an anther which contains the pollen grains, supported by a stalk called a filament.
This should leave you with the female reproductive parts; collectively known as the pistil (or carpel).
The stigma receives the pollen and a pollen tube grows down the style so that the ovules (egg cells) inside the ovary can be fertilised.
It’s fairly easy to use a thumbnail to prise the ovary apart, as in the picture above.
If all that has whetted your appetite, this link has a comprehensive summary of the structure and function of flowers.
And one final note, always supervise children when dissecting daffodil flowers. Although the daffodil is a common flower, all parts of the plant can cause illness if eaten.