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Female reproductive part of a flower. Centrally located, the pistil typically has a swollen base called the ovary, which contains the potential seeds (ovules). The stalk (style) arises from the ovary and has a pollen-receptive tip, the stigma, which is variously shaped and often sticky. There may be a single pistil, as in the lily, or several to many pistils, as in the buttercup. Each pistil is constructed of one to many rolled leaflike structures, or carpels. Differences in the composition and form of the pistil are useful in classifying flowering plants. See alsostamen.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pistil, visit Britannica.com.