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Ineractive photo showing that the ovary here looks like a pea, the tepals look like long purple petals

© 2004 VIAs Inc./Bob Gilman

Captain Lewis:

. . . the corolla consists of six long oval, obtusly pointed, skye blue or water coloured petals, each about 1 inch in length; the corolla is regular as to the form and size of the petals but irregular as to their position, five of them are placed near e[a]ch other, pointing upward while one stands horizantally or pointing downwards, they are inserted with a short claw on the extremity of the footstalk at the base of the germ; the corolla is, of course, inferior; it is also shriveling, and continues untill the seeds are perfect.

Professor Reveal:

The flowers are slightly irregular in this species, meaning that one of the tepals is positioned slightly differently from the other five. Lewis noted this, a fact not readily seen by many who look at the flowers of the species. Lewis says the corolla is "of course inferior" meaning the petals and sepals are not differentiated (today the term "tepals" is applied to the undifferentiated sepals and petals). His expression about the "corolla" being "inserted with a short claw on the extremity of the footstalk at the base of the germ" refers to the narrowing of the tepals at the base of the ovary; both the tepals and the ovary are positioned atop the pedicel.


corolla—"All of the petals of a flower, collectively."

Supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Governor's Lewis and Clark Trail Committee