A diagram showing some kinds of petal or sepal aestivation in flower buds. A: quincuncial; B: twisted, C: cochleate; D: contorted; E: valvate; F: open.

Aestivation or estivation is the positional arrangement of the parts of a flower within a flower bud before it has opened. Aestivation is also sometimes referred to as praefoliation or prefoliation, but these terms may also mean vernation: the arrangement of leaves within a vegetative bud.

Aestivation can be an important taxonomic diagnostic; for example Malvaceae flower buds have valvate sepals, with the exception of the genera Fremontodendron and Chiranthodendron, which have sometimes been misplaced as a result.


The terms used to describe aestivation are the same as those used to describe leaf vernation.[1]

Classes of aestivation include:


  1. ^ Hickey, M.; King, C. (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.