Tag Archives: Flowers

How is scent extracted from flowers like roses?

To capture the scent of a flower you have to pick it — about 100 kilograms of them for 25 grams of rose attar. Unfortunately, flowers don’t smell the same dead as alive. Within 15 seconds of being picked, the mixtures of 60 so different molecules that contribute to its smell begin to change. Moreover, volatile essential oils formed by these molecules continue to evaporate and are not replaced. That is why some experts dealing with fragrance put glass jars over individual blossoms to absorb all the chemicals they give off. The chemicals are then analyzed and their synthetic version is made in the lab.

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Why different flowers have different colors?

We do not know in any clear way what originally produces the different colors in different flowers. Without implanting biotechnology and genetic engineering we can not alter the color of any particular flower to any great extent, even when we have the seed from the beginning, unless we blanch it by growing it in a soil that has no iron. The color of a particular flower is what it is through heredity – the general law that offspring resemble their parents.

This acts in a very remarkable way in some cases which are now being studied, especially in the color of sweet-peas, which vary a great deal as we all know. It may seem to us that these variations are just haphazard – white and pink and purple, and so on, occurring by chance in flowers of the same plant (see photo). But it is not so. The different colors occur in regular proportion, due to the way in which the laws of heredity work. And if we take seed from these flowers and grow it, we find that these laws are still maintained in the color of the flowers of the next generation. We know, too, that the single cell from which every plant starts contains the genetic program that determines what color of flowers it shall have, and what proportion of each kind of color is to be in these flowers.

Additional reading:
Flower (Wikipedia)
Sweet pea (Wikipedia)

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Why does sunflower always face towards the Sun?

The property of vegetation to turn towards the changing direction of Sun is called phototropism. Sunflower plant contains a hormone named Auxin which is sensitive to the sun-rays. This chemical accumulates on the shaded part of stem and boosts the growth of cells on the shaded part of stem. So the sunflower automatically leans in the opposite direction i.e. towards the Sun. As the direction of shade changes with the direction of the Sun, Auxin hormones also shift their own position on the stem to remain away from the sun-rays. This keeps sunflower always facing the Sun.

Such characteristic is not seen in most of the other flowers. Then why has Nature made sunflower different? A number of flowers grow on other plants and at least some of the flowers clustering the plant receive the sunlight directly to display their colors and attract the insects engaged in providing pollination service. But sunflower plant has only one flower on its stem. As pollination is entirely dependent upon the flower the sunflower plant having only one flower has to display it conspicuously in the sunlight! Nature has made this special arrangement for sunflower only for this purpose.

Additional reading:
Sunflower (Wikipedia)

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