One of the chapters of The Origin of Species says that "Certain plants, belonging to the Malpighiaceæ, bear perfect and degraded flowers;" Full passage for context

Do you know which plant characteristic was he referring to? Is this morphological difference still recognized? Is there a new name for it?


1 Answer 1


Perfect flowers have both male and female parts. "Degraded" isn't used anymore - just "imperfect".

"A bisexual (or “perfect”) flower has both stamens and carpels, and a unisexual (or “imperfect”) flower either lacks stamens (and is called carpellate) or lacks carpels (and is called staminate). Species with both staminate flowers and carpellate flowers on the same plant (e.g., corn) are monoecious..."

ref https://www.britannica.com/science/perfect-flower

Found by searching for "perfect flower"

  • $\begingroup$ I focused on "degraded", my mistake! Thank you very much!! $\endgroup$
    – maya
    May 7, 2020 at 21:55

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