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Why do flowers smell good?

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This week a TPL Kids website visitor might've been around flowers, because this wonder is about why flowers smell good. 

 

Now, we’ll start this wonder by mentioning that not all flowers smell good. There’s a flower called the Corpse Flower, officially known as the titan arum that smells like a rotting carcass. (ewww…). So rather than just find out why flowers smell good, let’s find out why flowers give off the scent that they do.

 

For this wonder, we found an answer from Scientific American (their answer has been abridged)

 

Flowers of many plant species produce a scent. This scent is typically a complex mixture of low molecular weight compounds emitted by flowers into the atmosphere and its structure, color and odor are critical factors in attracting pollinators. Scent is a signal that directs pollinators to a particular flower whose nectar and/or pollen is the reward. Species pollinated by bees and flies have sweet scents, whereas those pollinated by beetles have strong musty, spicy, or fruity odors.

 

So the next time, you’re in the garden (or at a florist) enjoying the scents, remember how integral insects are in making flowers.   

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