In diameter, and bear in the axil a solitary, stalked, white flower, about the size and shape of the garden anemone, with six or more petals and twice as many hypogynous stamens.
The anomalous position of the stamens in front of the petals is explained by the abortion or non-development of an outer row of stamens, indications of which are sometimes seen on the hypogynous disk encircling the ovary.
The flowers, which are generally arranged in a cymose inflorescence, are hermaphrodite, hypogynous, and, except in Pelargoniums, regular.
Advance has been along two lines, markedly in relation to insect-pollination, one of which has culminated in the hypogynous epipetalous bicarpellate forms with dorsiventral often large and loosely arranged flowers such as occur in Scrophulariaceae, and the other in the epigynous bicarpellate small-flowered families of which the Compositae represent the most elaborate type.
Of the Polypetalae, series i, Thalamiflorae, is characterized by hypogynous petals and stamens, and contains 34 orders distributed in 6 larger groups or cohorts.
The seven series of Monocotyledons represent a sequence beginning with the most complicated epigynous orders, such as Orchideae and Scitamineae, and passing through the petaloid hypogynous orders (series Coronarieae) of which Liliaceae is the representative to Juncaceae and the palms (series Calycinae) where the perianth Ioses its petaloid character and thence to the Aroids, screw-pines and albuminous Dicotyledons the cotyledons act as the absorbents of the reserve-food of the seed and are commonly brought above ground (epigeal), either withdrawn from the seed-coat or carrying it upon them, and then they serve as the first green organs of the plant.
They are hypogynous, and have long and very delicate filaments, and large, linear or oblong two-celled anthers, dorsifixed and ultimately very versatile, deeply indented at each end, and commonly exserted and pendulous.
This arrangement is known as hypogynous, the other series (calyx, corolla and stamens) being beneath (hypo-) the gynoecium.
Sometimes they become adherent to the petals, or are epipetalous, and the insertion of both is looked upon as similar, so that they are still hypogynous, provided they are independent of the calyx and the pistil.