20 Facts About Flowers
Flowers are the reproductive organs of a plant. They contain both the male and the female organs of a plant. Male gametes are found inside the pollen. The female part of the plant is the ovary, located in the pistil.
They are brightly colored and have a pleasant fragrance. This helps them attract insects and other animals. These animals, also known as vectors, assist in pollinating plants. Pollination refers to transferring one plant’s pollen to another plant’s stigma. This process is essential for reproduction.
Flowers also depend on wind and water for transporting their pollen. Some plants can even self-pollinate – sometimes within the same flower! Let us now learn some incredible new facts about the world of flowers.
Also Read: Parts of a Flower
20 Interesting Facts About Flowers
- There are over 369,000 species of flowering plants all over the world! These make up 94% of all the plant species known to humans. They are further divided into 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,000 genera.
- All flowering plants are together known as the angiosperms. The earliest remains of flowering plants date over 125 million years ago.
- The genus Rafflesia houses some of the world’s most giant flowers. Of these, the Rafflesia Arnoldii produces the largest individual flower globally. It is Indonesia’s national flower and can grow to be 3 feet across and weigh up to 15 pounds! It also has a very characteristic and unpleasant odor. The flower smells like a decaying corpse, because of which it’s also called a ‘corpse flower’.
- The Titan Arum has an even larger cluster of flowers. Known as an unbranched inflorescence, the cluster can grow up to 10 feet high! Like the Rafflesia, the Titan Arum also has a strong smell and is a corpse plant.
Also Read: Vanilla Facts
- Want to know about an even bigger flower cluster? The Talipot Palm is the world’s biggest branched inflorescence. The plant can live for over 60 years before bearing flowers and dies soon after. The cluster can grow anywhere from 20 to 26 feet and contains over a million individual flowers!
- On the other end of the spectrum, the genus Wolffia consists of some of the simplest flowers in the world. One of these, the Duckweed or Wolffia Globosa, produces the world’s smallest flower. The plant itself is tiny. It has a diameter as small as 0.004 inches and weighs 1/190,000 of an ounce – or about 2 grains of table salt! The plant also produces the world’s smallest fruit, called a utricle.
- Many flowering species, including the Rafflesia, are difficult to find. But the rarest flower in the world is the Middlemist Red flower! Belonging to the family Camellia, it is a pink rose-like flower originating from China. Today, only two specimens remain – one in New Zealand and one in Great Britain.
- Roses are probably the most common flowers found in the world. There are about 360 different species under the genus Rosa. They grow in various colors, including red, pink, white, and even black. Roses are also a symbol of love and affection and are often given to loved ones on Valentine’s day.
- The Shenzhen Nongke Orchid is an entirely artificial flower created by scientists in China. In 2005, it also became the world’s most expensive flower when they sold it at an auction for over $200,000!
- Bamboo plants are one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. But they also take a long time to flower. While they take up to 50 years on average to blossom, sometimes flowering can also take as long as 130 years! What’s weirder – all the members of a particular clone blossom simultaneously! The blooming time is irrespective of their location or the climate. This means bamboo forests separated by hundreds of miles bloom simultaneously!
- Sunflowers are so-called because these flowers tilt their face throughout the day. They do this to track the Sun across the sky. This helps them gain more sunlight for making food through photosynthesis. Insects are also more attracted to warmer flowers. Once they’ve matured, the Sunflowers remain static, facing the east direction.
- The Moonflowers, also called the Morning Glory, only bloom during the night. They open up in the evening and remain open throughout the night. They close up as soon as the morning dew drops touch them.
- Some vegetables like Broccoli and Artichokes are actually edible flowers. They belong to the same family as Cabbages and Cauliflowers. Their flowering heads, stalks, and leaves are cooked and eaten in many parts of the world.
- The Buttercup family of flowers features the most petals in the world. While the exact number can vary even within a species, they generally grow ten to twelve petals. The leaves right beneath the petals are very similar to the petals in some simple flowers. These are called sepals. They can give some flowers, like Magnolias, the appearance of having even more petals!
- The European Dittany has white or pink flowers with a strange quality! The flowers release a potent aromatic vapor on warm and humid nights. This vapor is flammable and can be set on fire. This has earned this flower the nicknames ‘gas plant’ and ‘burning bush’.
- The Nerium flower is one of the most toxic flowers in the world. Its flowers are crimson, magenta, or white. But don’t get fooled – every inch of the plant is poisonous if ingested. Even inhaling the fumes from a burning Nerium flower can be hazardous to your health.
Also Read: Plant Life Cycle
- Some flowers attract insects using bright colors. This indicates the presence of sweet nectar. But some other plants mimic these flowers without offering any nectar themselves. For instance, the species Epidendrum ibaguense. It produces flowers that resemble other plants, like the Tropical Milkweeds. This helps to lure Monarch butterflies and even hummingbirds for pollination.
- Some Orchids take this deception to the next level. Species like the Spider and the Fly Orchids have flowers that resemble insects! The most well-known example is of the Hammer Orchids in Western Australia. The lip of their flowers, or the labellum, is shaped and colored like a female wasp. What’s more, the flower even releases a scent to mimic the female wasp’s smell! This attracts male wasps wanting to mate with a female. When they try to grab the labellum, the pollen rubs off on them. This way, the wasps help pollinate the flowers.
- The Arctic region has over a hundred species of flowering plants. But there are only two flowering plants on the continent of Antarctica! These are the Antarctic hair grass and the Antarctic pearlwort.
- In 2016, an orange Zinnia flower became the first flower to be grown in space! It was grown aboard the International Space Station. It helped scientists understand how lack of gravity affects plant growth. This will help them figure out how we can grow plants on spaceships and other planets.
As we’ve seen, the world of flowers is full of surprises! There are over 369,000 species of flowering plants. These include incredibly smelly flowers like Rafflesia and poisonous flowers like the Nerium.
Thousands of new species are also discovered every year—these range from big clusters like the Talipot palm to the smallest Duckweeds. Thus, every flower is special and unique in its own way.
So it is safe to say that flowers are an integral part of our culture and the planet’s ecosystem. And by launching flowers into space, maybe one day we’ll be able to grow them on other planets too!