Flowers – The Magic Wands Of Nature
Everybody feels a sense of fascination at the sight of a flower; birds, insects and humans alike. Flowers look great, they smell great and they make us feel wonderful. However, flowers serve a far greater purpose in our biosphere besides their attractive physical attributes.
What Are Flowers?
A flower is the reproductive structure of a plant. Flowers are seed bearing; they produce seeds which upon germination grow into a new plant.
In addition to serving their most essential purpose, flowers have been an object of admiration to humans, who use them for a wide range of purposes and to the birds and insects who suck nectar from flowers as their source of food.
The Reproductive Aspect Of A Flower
Flowers are basically made up of four components:
The androecium and the gynoecium perform the reproductive functions of the plant. The androecium consists of units called stamens which are the male reproductive structure and the gynoecium consists of carpels which are the female reproductive structure.
Stamens have a bulge at the topmost surface called the anther. Pollen grains are produced in the anther and these very pollen grains act as the sperm of the flowering plant.
The carpel, on the other hand, has a structure at the topmost surface called the stigma. The stigma acts as receptor for pollen grains. These pollen grains then enter the stigma through the
pollen tube into the ovary of the flower, thus, leading the pollen grain to the ovule. Once the pollen grain meets the ovule, the ovule gets fertilized and produces seeds.
How Does Reproduction Work In Nature?
Pollen grains are very light and sticky in nature. They are carried by the force of the wind and get deposited onto the sticky receptive surface of the stigma of other flowers.
Certain flowers use their bright colors, attractive petals and strong fragrances to attract birds and insects to them. The pollen grains from these flowers stick to the bodies of insects and birds and later get dropped onto the stigma. This is how fertilization occurs naturally.
The Various Purposes That Flowers Serves
Besides its reproductive nature, flowers are very useful to our environment. They serve quite a number of purposes such as the ones mentioned below.
* Source of Food
Insects and birds suck nectar from flowers and use it as a source of food. Certain flowers are also used in certain food preparations as delicacies.
* Beautification of the Environment
In an attempt to make our surroundings look better, flowering trees are planted to make nature come alive with color.
* Decorative Purposes
Flowers are used as decorations for weddings, birthdays and parties and also in places of worship,
* Religious Purposes
Flowers are offered at the altar during certain religious ceremonies and rituals such as christenings, weddings and funerals. Certain religions and cultures also observe the practice of constantly making sure that holy idols, statues and pictures are always accompanied with flowers.
* Medicinal Purposes
The extracts of certain flowers are used as medicines. Flowers are known to offer 100% natural medicinal properties without the side effects of chemical medications.
* Beauty Purposes
The extracts of some flowers are used as main ingredients in massage and therapeutic oils and facials. Flower extracts are also used in skin cosmetics and beauty products.
Floral fragrances are very popular with the ladies. There are quite a few flowers which do not have a natural sweet fragrance and those which do find themselves inspiring some of the most popular fragrances in the market today.
* As A Sign Of Love And Appreciation
Flowers are often used to express love, fondness, respect and affection to loved ones and also as a sign of gratitude and as a tribute to seniors.
The Commercialization of Flowers Today
Flowers have gained quite a commercial aspect in today’s times. The sale of flowers and their prices reach sky rocketing proportions due to their demand during public celebrations like Mother’s Day .
To meet the ever increasing demands, flowers are now fertilized with artificial processes to increase the number of seeds produced and beautify them further with brighter colors and stronger, long lasting fragrances.
People who practice gardening as a hobby also tend to flowering plants to enhance the beauty of the gardens and yards they maintain.
The growth and sale of flowers is a huge market today because of the many purposes that flowers serves.
So the next time you think of plucking a few flowers that are blossoming on a plant nearby just for fun, remember how valuable those flowers are to the plant and also to the environment around you.