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Plain Jane Flowers Smell Real Good

Category: Floral Musings | Posted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:05 pm

I was researching about floral fragrance for an article for my other blog. Many interesting and new things came up as I looked into the books. Of course, the essential oils are the main components in many flowers that are used in perfume industries. But what I found interesting and what logically seemed correct, yet I had never paid attention to, was this fact: The less conspicuous, less vibrant/white or pale flowers have strong fragrance but the ones that are brightly colored do not invest much in building fragrance. For example, only the yellow and white cultivated freesias have a strong smell. The small white colored jasmine flowers pack a punch in a single drop of their essential oil extract. Tuberoses, Cestrum nocturnum or the "queen of the night" as it is known in India or coral jasmine, all have white colored, strong but pleasant smelling flowers.

It makes sense to me. Flowers use colors and fragrance to attract pollinators. So the ones that have brightly colored flowers are anyways well endowed with features to attract the insects. Why waste more resources?

Then, of course, there are flowers that stink and are called carrion flowers. European Dutchman's pipe (Aristolochia clematitis) is one such plant whose flowers emit a strong, pungent odor that attract insects. These stinkers use deception to attract the scavenging insects which bring about their pollination. Well, to each his own!! In this race to survive, every creature has made the most of whatever circumstances and advantages the wily nature has provided. The more you look at the contrivances and deceptions of the floral world, the more it leaves you amazed and in awe.



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Comments

 

Netty wrote on Sat Dec 22, 2007 12:40 am:


I have noticed that white flowers generally smell better. I have a particular white flowering Hosta that smells amazing!




 

CritterPainter wrote on Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:48 am:


Yes, and my plain wild roses smell soooo much better than the fancy hybrids (well, maybe except for david austin roses). I love to sit in my wildflowers and just breathe!




 

Alka Srivastava wrote on Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:50 pm:


Critter,
It is so true that the new varieties and hybrids that are big and vibrant in color have more or less lost their smell during the breeding processes. They may look good, but they do not smell as good as some of those older varieties that you have to order from a catalog and pay a premium for!!




 

Alka Srivastava wrote on Sat Dec 22, 2007 5:52 pm:


Netty,
Do you know the specific name of the Hosta that you have? I would love to have a good smelling plant that is easier to grow as I will have to put it in a pot.




 

Netty wrote on Sun Jan 06, 2008 1:14 pm:


My favorite Hosta was identified here at Gardenstew as
Hosta Plantaginea.





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