Flowers And What You Need To Know
Flowers And What You Need To Know
Article by Adriana Noton
There’s more to flowers than meets the eye. Blooms are deeply engrained in every aspect of modern culture. From simple nursery rhymes to our most powerful love poems we sing and write about their beauty and symbolism. If you went back in time before the Cretaceous Period, about 130 million years ago, you would have seen some of the first blooms, though by current standards, these might be considered bit of a disappointment, being drab and tiny. They were tasty though, and appealed to herbivorous dinosaurs, who chomped them down and spread their seeds.
These proto-blooming plants evolved over time, developing colourful petals that were a huge attraction for bugs. That relationship between insect life and blooming plants is so intertwined that Albert Einstein has stated that if a bee disappeared, you would only have four years of blooming. With the bees no longer exist, that means there will be no more pollination. No more pollination means no more plants and no more plants means no more animals, which means no more men.
When dinosaurs became extinct, a new dominant species came on the scene. Our love affair with blooms began when we were still living in caves. As man developed settlements, they began to cultivate and these blooming plants, like wheat and corn. Today, almost all the grain, vegetables and fruits we eat come from blooming plants.
As time went on, man discovered the hidden power of blooms to heal the body and sooth the soul. Back in the day when there were no doctors or drug stores, people resorted to flower teas to treat a range of ailments from body aches to bruises. Colds and fevers were treated with chrysanthemum petals. You might even take a bath in water infused with blooms to break a run of bad luck or if you thought you had been hexed.
Some blooms though have a dark aspect to them containing chemicals that can kill, like the common oleander that can causes stomach problems and the heart to beat erratically. Blooms like datura bring on hallucinations if ingested. Over time we have learnt to extract opium from poppies and marijuana from hemp, creating some of our most potent poisons and drugs.
In the days before frequent baths and antiperspirants, perfumes played a major role in masking body odor. In 2005, archaeologists discovered the remains of a 4000-year-old perfumery on the island of Cyprus. In the ninth century, the Persian doctor and philosopher, Avicenna discovered a means of extracting these scents by distillation. The process is still widely used today, and is responsible for the presence of floral notes in many of the top-of-range perfumes we buy and use.
If you want to tell your lover it’s all over, you can send them a bunch of dead blooms. Appreciate your mother with pink carnations and day lilies. Blossoms have a language all their own, so be aware that red roses are for romance and yellow roses are for friendship and daisies represent innocence.
From the funeral wreath to a bridal bouquet, flowers mark our deepest sorrows and our happiest moments. Whether we’re planting them, arranging them, giving or getting them there’s something about flowers that lifts us up and gives us joy. It seems there’s just no resisting the appeal of flowers.
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