Why do Flowers have Fragrance?

Why do Flowers have Fragrance?

Whenever we think of flowers, first thing that comes to the mind is the smell apart from others such as colors, shapes etc. Even when you pass thru a garden, the fragrance of flowers completely engulfs us. Nature has instilled flowers with beauty, charisma, colors, fragrance and nectar. Insects get pulled towards flowers and they sit on them and when they fly off they carry with them pollen grains to other flowers. This interchanging of pollen grains help in cross pollination of flowers as a result of which seeds are produced. This is how plants and trees multiply on their own.

What attracts insects to flowers, is their fragrance. This in turn helps in pollination through the insects. If it weren’t for the fragrance, insects would never sit on the flowers. Different flowers contain oils that give them a specific fragrance. As and when the oils evaporate, these fragrances with them spread in the air and that’s how they attract insects. Perfumes, soaps, shampoo’s are also made from these oils once they are extracted from flowers. Even certain herbs and medicines etc are made by extracting these fragrant oils in the flowers.

Every flowering plant will give off a different scene. This is due to their biological structure and chemistry. Right from the soil and they methods they are harvested, each flower will give off a smell depending on these conditions. Plants exhibit their scent output to high levels only during the time when the flowers are ready for pollination. They usually maximize their outputs during the day and are primarily pollinated by bees or butterflies and those plants that exhibit their scent during the night times are usually pollinated by bats and moths. During flower development, newly opened and small flowers, which are not ready to function as pollen donors, produce fewer scents and are less likely to be attracted towards pollinators than older flowers. Once a flower has been sufficiently pollinated, changes to the floral bouquet lead to a lower attractiveness of these flowers and help to direct pollinators to unpollinated flowers instead, thereby maximizing the reproductive success of the plant.

Flowering plants exude chemicals in flowers which evaporate into the thin air and produce their own unique fragrances. When you order flowers online, there is a good chance that the bouquet that is delivered to you will exhibit some sort of a fragrance. These could be sweet smelling to sometimes even mildly pungent. Flower bouquets in vases sometimes deliver a mixture of smells which is due to the fact that they are in open waters in the vase which also mix with the foliage and other flowers which give off a mixed smell after a couple of days if the water in the vase has not been changed. When you send flowers online to someone and you want to send something that has a sweet smell, consider flowers such as Oriental Lilies, Peonies, Sweet Alyssum, Tube Roses, Lavender, Iris, Hyacinth, Lily of the Valley to name a few which give off a nice smell and if kept in a small room with air conditioner, it can really fill up the whole room in no time. These serve well for even small toilets if you place just a few stems of these fresh flowers. Even certain foliage such as eucalyptus leaves, exude a strong fragrance that is liked by most. When you order a bouquet that has a mixture of these kinds of foliage and flowers that give off a fragrance, the end result can be quite dramatic and pleasing!

Lilies: Oriental and Asiatic

Oriental Lilies and Asiatic Lilies

Lilies or Liliums as they are known in the local Indian flower market are truly great flowers and their form, bloom season and graceful appearance have their own beauty and elegance. Lilies are in various colors and in different forms which may not be noticeable to the layman but there are different grades and textures of these beautiful flowers. Lilies are tall star shaped flowers that give elegance and height to any flower garden or for any bouquet for that matter.

Stargazer is one of the famous hybrid lily from the Oriental group of lilies that are known for the fragrance and large star like appearance. They are flowers that have a very fast growth rate and can grow up to 36 inches and bloom 4 – 5 bulbs per stem. The most striking feature of these lilies are that they are dotted with red freckles in the center and phase out towards more whitish towards the outer edges.

Another variety of Oriental Lilies are the pure white ones which do have small dotted white spots which may not be very visible.

Lilies grow best in containers. They come in different heights and sizes and can be planted individually or along with other plants. They look beautiful on wooden decks and patio’s and can instantly beautiful anyone’s garden or deck instantly.

Lilies come in two major different forms i.e. Asiatic and Oriental. The best way to tell them apart is by their blooms and their fragrance.  Oriental have a strong fragrance while Asiatic have no fragrance at all. Oriental lilies can instantly fill a room with a strong spicy fragrance especially in closed air conditioned rooms or office spaces.

These two also differ in their shapes and their placement on the stems. Both of them have a roundish shape but oriental lilies will have a more wrinkly edge and Asiatic will have a more smooth edge on their petals. Asiatic usually look like an upside down umbrella and usually grow one bloom per stem. Oriental will have a more starfish shape and will have multiple blooms per stem.

From a more technical point of view the Asiatic have a more whitish bulb growth whereas Orientals have more of a yellowish color bulb growth.  Leaf shape on the oriental will be more larger and wider tapered where as on Asiatic will be small and thin and in bunches.

Asiatic lilies come in more colors than Oriental in Indian markets. However both these flowers have their distinctive charm and can add a stunning effect to any flower bouquet be it a hand bunch or a vase bouquet with just lilies or a basket bouquet for that matter. Oriental lilies will definitely last longer than Asiatic ones provided they are cared for.

We at May Flower use more of Oriental Lilies as they are our favorite but do use Asiatic as well as per the season of their availability.