Amazing Facts About Garden Flowers

We humans often tend to focus on animal life, and view the flowers and other plants in our gardens essentially as a backdrop to our daily lives. But when you actually stop and take a good long look at flowers, you will discover that they are not just 'pretty' but are far more amazing than you might think. Here are a few amazing facts about flowers:

Flowers and other plants can defend their territory, compete with or aid other plants around them, and make decisions

Flowering plants are not the static, inert living things that many people imagine them to be. Flowering plants have been shown to jostle with other plants for the sunlight and nutrients, turn their faces to follow the sun, release chemicals to kill off or slow the growth of competitors, or to aid nearby plants from falling prey to pests or disease. They are not alone – but work in large, sociable networks with other plants, animals and fungi. They can recognise their siblings and aid them preferentially over other plants.

Flowering plants can send distress signals and call for backup

When we smell cut flowers or mown grass, what we are smelling is actually a cry for help. When under threat, flowers and other plants will release chemicals. For some plants, these chemicals are directed to specific predators, which can help them deal with a certain pest that is attacking them. The chemical signals can be 'heard' by other plants nearby, which will increase their own defences after a neighbour is damaged.

Flowers can 'hear' bees and increase the sweetness of their nectar.

We have long known that flowers employ several different techniques to attract bees and other pollinators. What scientists have recently discovered, however, is that certain flowers (evening primrose) can 'hear' the buzzing of bees and will, in response, increase the sugar content of their nectar to entice them in. The vibrations of a particular frequency caused the temporary sugar content increase in the nectar, while the flowers were able to filter out background noise and sounds of other frequencies.