Plant symmetry


What is symmetry?

Symmetry can be defined as similarity, or balance among systems or parts of a system. This word derives from Latin symmetria, which in turn comes from Greek summetria (=proportion). The following pictures are considered symmetric

Symmetric pictures

Symmetry types in plants

Plants parts, as many living organisms, also present symmetry. The symmetry in plants can be:.

  • Radial symmetry: This a type of symmetry resulting from a plant being cut along a line passing through the center of an imaginary circumference (the diameter). In this case, the two resulting parts are identical.

This type of symmetry is very frequent in fruits, stems and flowers (actinomorphic flowers) such as those of rosaceae,

radial symmetry

Radial symmetry in a flower

radial symmetry in a stem

Radial symmetry in a stem

plant symmetry

Radial symmetry in a fruit

  • Bilateral symmetry: This a type of symmetry that occurs when only two faces are the same. The plant part can only have a single plane (the sagittal plane) that divides it into two exact parts.

This type of symmetry takes place in many flowers, leaves and in cactus stems

radial symmetry

Bilateral symmetry in a leaf

radial symmetry in a stem

Bilateral symmetry in a fruit

symmetry in fruits

Bilateral symmetry in a cactus stem

  • Dorsiventral symmetry: It is considered as the real bilateral symmetry. This differs from previous symmetry in the fact that front side is different from back side, so only left and right sides are the same.

Dorsiventral symmetry is present in most leaves and in some flowers (Zygomorphic) such as those of labiatae,

radial symmetry

Dorsiventral symmetry in a flower


Dorsiventral symmetry in a leaf

Activities and exercises: What do you think?

What type of symmetry do the following plants parts have?

plant symmetry

Bulb of hyacinth

plant symmetry

Snapdragon flower

plant symmetry

Borage flower

plant symmetry

Hollyhocks pollen

symmetry in fruits


punto rojo More information about leaves and stems

This article was endorsed by Julián Masats - Technical agricultural engineer specialized in horticulture and gardening.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

21 October, 2021

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