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is the modified calyx, the part of an individual disk, ray or ligule floret surrounding the base of the corolla
Petals are modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of flowers. They often are brightly colored or unusually shaped to attract pollinators. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla. Petals are usually accompanied by another set of special leaves called sepals lying...
, in flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...
heads of the plant family Asteraceae
The Asteraceae or Compositae , is an exceedingly large and widespread family of vascular plants. The group has more than 22,750 currently accepted species, spread across 1620 genera and 12 subfamilies...
. The pappus may be composed of bristles (sometimes feathery), awns, scales, or may be absent. In some species, the pappus is too small to see without magnification. In some species, such as Dandelion or Eupatorium
Eupatorium is a genus of flowering plants in the aster family, Asteraceae, containing from 36 to 60 species depending on the classification system. Most are herbaceous perennial plants growing to 0.5–3 m tall. A few are shrubs. The genus is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere....
, feathery bristles of the pappus function as a "parachute" which enables the seed to be carried by the wind. The name derives from the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...
, meaning "old man", so used for a plant (assumed to be an Erigeron
Erigeron is a genus of about 390 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution with the highest species diversity in North America, where 173 species occur....
species) having bristles and also for the woolly, hairy seed of certain plants.