se·​pal | \ ˈsē-pəl How to pronounce sepal (audio) , ˈse- \

Definition of sepal

: one of the modified leaves comprising a calyx — see flower illustration

Examples of sepal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The sepals, which are pink, petal-like extensions of the flower, look like wings while the lip (or labellum) mimics the body of a bee. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, "This Pretty Orchid Looks Just Like a Bumble Bee (And It Helps Attract Them, Too!)," 30 Apr. 2020 The flowers endure because the petals are in fact thick structures called sepals. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "The hellebore: Popular, early and now in a dazzling variety," 15 Jan. 2020 The mullet dress, cast in a print of pink roses and green sepals, highlighted her signature glow, which was further accentuated by a matching minaudière by Tyler Ellis and heels by . Barry Samaha, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jennifer Lopez Blossomed at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in a Gown by Richard Quinn," 3 Jan. 2020 But the sterile flowers each bear four large, showy, white sepals making an individual flower from 1/2-inch to 1-inch across. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Why this Kentucky plant is the 'Manolo Blahniks' of the garden world," 22 June 2018 The inflorescence reaches 12 to 18 inches long, bearing colorful flowers with white lavender petals and orange sepals. Karen Dardick,, "Bromeliads create garden drama," 17 May 2018 Pick some yellow dandelion tops, remove the green sepal holding the flowers together, cover them with honey in a jar, label, and cap until the winter solstice on December 21 for a little summertime flower power. Christine Buckley, Bon Appetit, "This Common Weed Is Secretly Super Healthy," 12 June 2017 The hydrangeas which have large, showy sepals are called sterile flowers., "Happy hydrangeas: how to plant, grow and choose the best plants," 19 May 2017 This compact grower produces large and wildly impressive blooms with double flowers (each flower has more than 20 showy sepals rather than the typical four!) that start out white and fade gradually to deep pink. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Queen of the summer. Why your garden needs an oakleaf hydrangea," 14 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sepal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of sepal

1821, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sepal

New Latin sepalum, from sep- (irregular from Greek skepē covering) + -alum (as in petalum petal)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sepal

Time Traveler for sepal

Time Traveler

The first known use of sepal was in 1821

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sepal

Cite this Entry

“Sepal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sepal


se·​pal | \ ˈsē-pəl How to pronounce sepal (audio) , ˈse- \

Kids Definition of sepal

: one of the specialized leaves that form the calyx of a flower

More from Merriam-Webster on sepal

Nglish: Translation of sepal for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sepal

Comments on sepal

What made you want to look up sepal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!