ETYM Greek petalon a leaf, a leaf or plate of metal: cf. French pétale. Related to Fathom.
Part of the perianth that is usually brightly colored.
Part of a flower whose function is to attract pollinators such as insects or birds. Petals are frequently large and brightly colored and may also be scented. Some have a nectary at the base and markings on the petal surface, known as honey guides, to direct pollinators to the source of the nectar. In wind-pollinated plants, however, the petals are usually small and insignificant, and sometimes absent altogether. Petals are derived from modified leaves, and are known collectively as a corolla.
Some insect-pollinated plants also have inconspicuous petals, with large colorful bracts (leaflike structures) or sepals taking over their role, or strong scents that attract pollinators such as flies.