Breathe in the scent of a flower.
Fanciful, fabulous & totally functional.
I had to find out how & why flowers smell.
While we delight in the scent of flowers, they aren’t doing all the hard work to produce sweet, seductive scents for us.
It is for the bugs.
And the butterflies, humming birds, moths and even bats.
All pollinate flowers and all flowers need to be pollinated – it is their end game.
Flowers produce a complex mixture of low weight compounds which swirled together create the scents we adore.
Some flowers produce this mixture from their petals & some in deeper organs, like orchids.
Emitted into the air the scents attract pollinators. A come hither call of the floral variety.
Like snowflakes, no two floral scents are exactly the same. Each flower, even of the same variety, produces a distinct scent. We might not notice the subtle differences, but the bugs, birds, butterflies, moths and bats do.
Scent not only attracts pollinators, but directs them to the right plants for them. Flowers pollinated by bees have sweet scents. Those pollinated by beetles have spicy, fruity odors.
Pollinators can distinguish between the scents to make their choices, much like we might at a buffet.
Plants maximize their scent when the flowers are ready for pollination.
Once sufficiently pollinated, the scent decreases so that other plants in need of pollination can be found. So very civilized & orderly.
Knowing the how & why of flower scents doesn’t lessen my fascination.
Plants & flowers simply amaze me. Take a bare root rose for example. I am spellbound by the fact that a gnarled bit of stem can produce such magnificent blooms.
Even though I understand how – I still think of it as a miracle every time.
That is why I am a gardener – mini miracles abound.
Hope you enjoyed the how & why of floral scent.
Let me know if there is anything home & garden related you’d like to know the how & why of…
** Kelly **