Flowers and Bouquets (including Roses)
A Pocket Full of Roses
All About Flowers
|A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants (plants of the division Magnoliophyta, also called angiosperms). The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs. Flowers may facilitate outcrossing (fusion of sperm and eggs from different individuals in a population) or allow selfing (fusion of sperm and egg from the same flower). Some flowers produce diaspores without fertilization (parthenocarpy). Flowers contain sporangia and are the site where gametophytes develop. Flowers give rise to fruit and seeds. Many flowers have evolved to be attractive to animals, so as to cause them to be vectors for the transfer of pollen. |
In addition to facilitating the reproduction of flowering plants, flowers have long been admired and used by humans to beautify their environment, and also as objects of romance, ritual, religion, medicine and as a source of food.
In modern times, people have sought ways to cultivate, buy, wear, or otherwise be around flowers and blooming plants, partly because of their agreeable appearance and smell. Around the world, people use flowers for a wide range of events and functions that, cumulatively, encompass one's lifetime:
People therefore grow flowers around their homes, dedicate entire parts of their living space to flower gardens, pick wildflowers, or buy flowers from florists who depend on an entire network of commercial growers and shippers to support their trade.
Flowers provide less food than other major plants parts (seeds, fruits, roots, stems and leaves) but they provide several important foods and spices. Flower vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower and artichoke. The most expensive spice, saffron, consists of dried stigmas of a crocus. Other flower spices are cloves and capers. Hops flowers are used to flavor beer. Marigold flowers are fed to chickens to give their egg yolks a golden yellow color, which consumers find more desirable. Dandelion flowers are often made into wine. Bee Pollen, pollen collected from bees, is considered a health food by some people. Honey consists of bee-processed flower nectar and is often named for the type of flower, e.g. orange blossom honey, clover honey and tupelo honey.
Hundreds of fresh flowers are edible but few are widely marketed as food. They are often used to add color and flavor to salads. Squash flowers are dipped in breadcrumbs and fried. Edible flowers include nasturtium, chrysanthemum, carnation, cattail, honeysuckle, chicory, cornflower, Canna, and sunflower. Some edible flowers are sometimes candied such as daisy and rose (you may also come across a candied pansy).
Flowers can also be made into tisanes or "herbal teas". Dried flowers such as chrysanthemum, rose, jasmine, camomile are infused into tea both for their fragrance and medical properties. Sometimes, they are also mixed with tea leaves for the added fragrance.
Flowers have been used since as far back as 50,000 years in funeral rituals. Many cultures do draw a connection between flowers and life and death, and because of their seasonal return flowers also suggest rebirth, which is the why many people place flowers upon graves. In ancient times the Greeks would place a crown of flowers on the head of the deceased as well as cover the tomb with wreaths and flower petals, rich and powerful women in ancient Egypt would wear floral headdresses and necklaces upon their death as representations of renewal and a joyful afterlife, and the Mexicans to this day use flowers prominently in their Day of the Dead celebrations in the same way that their Aztec ancestors did.