Why do some flowers smell good and some don't?

Above: Image © mdf, Wikimedia Commons

Question

Why do some flowers smell good and some don't?

Answer

Before I answer your question, I just wanted to quickly go over what pollination is (which you might already know). So pollination of plants is sort of equivalent to fertilization in humans where the pollen (equivalent to sperm) gets transferred to the ovaries (containing eggs) in the stigma of the flower, which is essentially required for the production of a fruit (by which the next seeds are dispersed for the plant). So the flowers are basically the reproductive organs of the plant, and they require specific pollinators (animals, birds, insects) to help disperse the pollen to the ovaries between different plants of the same species (they can also use wind, water and gravity for transportation). There is a very useful article that explains this information in further detail, which you can take a look at: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070727170052.htm So flowers use many ways to lure insects by the color and shape of the petals, accessibility to the nectar, and well as a specific scent to lure the insects to drink their nectar, and thus transfer the pollen between flowers. The key here is that the specific smell that a flower produces is attractive to a specific type of pollinator species. So for example, hummingbirds and butterflies might prefer a sweeter or "good" smell, whereas a different pollinator (like for example beetles) might prefer a stronger, more unpleasant smell. So the flower basically does what it needs to in order to survive (whether that means smelling good or bad!)

Answered By: Harman Sawhney

CurioCity

This is content has that been provided for use on the CurioCity website.


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