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act as the absorbents of the reserve-food of the seed and are commonly brought above ground (epigeal), either withdrawn from the seed-coat or carrying it upon them, and then they serve as the first green organs of the plant.