Flowers: It’s all about sex
We all pretty much accept that a gift of flowers is a universal symbol of romance and affection, but how did they manage to claim such a high honour? Well, besides their evident beauty – the colours, the shapes, the scents – it seems they actually symbolize the very act for which the flowers might (indirectly) be exchanged. Sex.
See, most flowers require an animal, insects or the wind to carry the pollen from one bloom to another. Exchanging pollen allows them to create new flowers as part of a reproductive process that might seem a little passive, but would totally be a turn-on if you were a plant.
In his amazing TED talk, Jonathan Drori introduces us to some of the most potent flowers and explores the tricks they use to get lucky. Producing new flowers takes an amazing amount of energy, but it seems they’re always up for the challenge. Really, in a way, they’re a lot like us.
Just a few examples,
There are over 20 000 types of orchids. One type, named Darwin’s Orchid, has a long nectar tube, which forces insects to go all the way down to the bottom and get covered in the orchid’s pollen. They then carry their powdery cargo to other plants and begin the life cycle all over again.
This flower attracts insects by mimicking a fertile-looking female insect—kind of like if blow-up dolls were more convincing. The texture of the flower even stimulates the insect when they land on it, inviting further interactions in the future.
This elang elang flower forms the base of many perfumes and attracts insects through its scent. So if you like the way your girlfriend’s been smelling lately, it’s something else you have in common with the bugs.
Set the temperature
This Brazilian flower heats itself to exactly 115 degrees F (43 C) and expends a ton of energy maintaining it. Why? It raises its temperature to attract a specific type of beetle that just loves to get it on when it’s nice and hot. After they’ve done the deed, they fly off covered in pollen to fertilize new plants.
So! The next time you’re offering flowers to your girlfriend, you might want to think about the effort, the insect sex and the years of evolution it took to produce their breathtaking beauty.