In some cases, as in the vine-family Ampelidaceae, this seems to be the ordinary mode of development, but the superposition of the stamens on the sepals in many plants, as in the pink family, Caryophyllaceae, is due to the suppression or abortion of the whorl of petals, and this idea is borne out by the development, in some plants of the order, of the suppressed whorl.
Thus, in many Caryophyllaceae, as Polycarpon and Holosteum, while the calyx and corolla are pentamerous, there are only three or four stamens and three carpels; in Impatiens Noli-me-tangere the calyx is composed of three parts, while the other verticils have five; in labiate flowers there are five parts of the calyx and corolla, and only four stamens; and in Tropaeolum pentaphyllum there are five sepals, two petals, eight stamens and three carpels.
This is seen in many of the Caryophyllaceae and Primulaceae (figs.
In Caryophyllaceae, however, while the placenta is free in the centre, there are often traces found at the base of the ovary of the remains of septa, as if rupture had taken place, and, in rare instances, ovules are found on the margins of the carpels.
The first of these views applies to Caryophyllaceae, the second to Primulaceae.