|A fuchsia (Fuchsia sp) which
has brightly coloured sepals
|A lily (Lilium sp) showing its identical three sepals and three petals which are referred to as tepals.|
In many flower species, the calyx consists of green leaf-like structures, the sepals, which protect the delicate inner parts of the flower while it is developing and prevent it from desiccating. There are usually as many sepals as there are petals and they are arranged so that they alternate with the petals. There are, however, many exceptions to these rules. As is the case with the androecium, gynoecium and corolla, the sepals may be fused and symmetrical or assymetrical. In some plant families such as the lilies (Liliaceae) it is not possible to distinguish between sepal and petals and these structures are called tepals tepals.