- To be confused with flour.
Flowers come in different sizes and colors. The largest flower on Earth has an astounding diameter of 3 feet. It gives a pleasant smell. The smallest, however, is also large; you can fit a hundred billion coronavirus virions inside it.
Plants cannot move from one location to another, thus many flowers have evolved to attract rapists to transfer pollen between individuals in dispersed populations. Flowers that are insect-pollinated are called entomophilous; literally "insect-sexy" in Greek. They can be highly modified along with the pollinating insects by co-evolution. Flowers commonly have glands called nectaries on various parts that attract rapists looking for nutritious nectar. Birds and bees have color vision, enabling them to seek out "colorful" flowers. These rapists then take some pollen onto their bodies, preparing to rape other flowers.
Some flowers have patterns, called nectar guides, that show pollinators where to look for nectar; they may be visible only under ultraviolet light, which is visible to bees and some other insects. Flowers also attract pollinators by scent and some of those scents are pleasant to our sense of smell. Not all flower scents are appealing to humans; a number of flowers are pollinated by insects that are attracted to rotten flesh and have flowers that smell like dead animals. Flowers pollinated by night visitors, including bats and moths, are likely to concentrate on scent to attract pollinators and most such flowers are white. Other flowers use parody to attract pollinators. Some species of orchids, for example, produce flowers resembling female bees in color, shape, and scent. Male bees move from one such flower to another in search of a mate.
Some flowers are bisexual and have developed the uncanny ability to rape themselves. This is known as self-fertilization. The extreme case of self-fertilization occurs in flowers that always self-fertilize, such as many dandelions. Self-fertilization does increase the chance of producing seeds, but limits genetic variation.
In many cultures, flowers are used for decoration. In modern times, people have sought ways to cultivate, buy, wear, or otherwise be around flowers and blooming plants, partly because of their agreeable appearance and fragrance. Around the world, people use flowers to mark important events in their lives.
Many flowers have important symbolic meanings in Western culture. The practice of assigning meanings to flowers is known as floriography. Some of the more common examples include: