By Carlie Douglas
I think it’s fair to say that most people enjoy flowers in the natural environment, barring any allergic reactions. I certainly am no exception and whilst I am out taking photos for site analysis or other various projects, I always seem to come away with at least a few photos of flowers. I can’t get enough; I’ve even started growing some in studio! Flowers always seem to have a positive effect on my mood, and definitely on the mood of others around me. So, as I seem to always do, I decided to look in the ‘why’ of it and also add a few fun facts about these lovely mood-boosting growing things. There are various psychological theories as to why we are so positively connected to flowers; learned associations through positive social events in life, food associations stemming from our own evolution, but perhaps my favourite is the one that flowers have evolved specifically to elicit positive emotions in mammals. The idea that an entire division of the Plantae Kingdom has evolved specifically to benefit mammals seems a bit out there, but there certainly are evidence for this theory, such as the apparent adaptation of flower to fit our evolutionary preferences. I won’t go into the evolutionary psychological theories, but if anyone is interested I’ve attached a link at the bottom of this post.
Now, for some fun facts about flowers;
Flowers are most commonly associated with femininity.
The Roman Goddess of flowers, gardens, and the season of spring is Flora. The Greek Goddess of spring, flowers, and nature is Chloris.
The most expensive spice in the world, saffron, is made from the dried stigmas of a crocus. Other spices made from flowers are cloves and capers.
Beer is significantly flavoured with Hops, another flower.
Other edible flowers, sometimes used in salads are nasturtium, carnations, honeysuckle, sunflower, and chicory.
Many herbal teas are also made from flowers, chamomile, rose, jasmine, dandelion, and hibiscus.
Flowers often have symbolic meanings that often span across cultures. For instance, Lilies are widely used in burials as a symbol of life or resurrection. They are also sometimes associated with the stars or their petals are said to shine like the sun. In Hindu culture, the Lotus flower carries spiritual significance. Daises are usually a symbol of innocence. Poppies are generally a symbol for consolation in a time of death, and in many countries (including the UK) are worn to commemorate soldier who have died in war. Red Roses, often a symbol of romance, are usually given as a token of love, beauty, or passion.
I hope you enjoy my photos of flowers and maybe the next time you look at a garden or drink a beer, remember the lovely little bit of flora and its possible evolutionary process to please you.