Fun Flower Facts

Why Do Flowers Smell?

October 30, 2015

Stop and Smell the Flowers

We all know that flowers are one of the greatest scented gifts you can give and are one of the best ways to add a delightful aroma to your home, but do you really know why flowers give off certain smells? Although you may just assume that flowers smell “because they’re supposed to,” there is tons of research behind it that truly explains why this is so. Want to find out? Below, we’re breaking things down for you to give you a better understanding behind the magic of your favorite blooms.

Girl Smelling Pink Flower

Why Do Flowers Have a Smell?

Before we really dive into the science of flowers and their scents, let’s touch a bit on the basics, shall we? First and foremost, one of the most important things to know is that flowers rely on bugs, insects, even some animals, to spread their pollen (a.k.a reproduce), “communicate” with other plants (if you will), and for some, attract food. That’s right – while you might view creepy crawlers and small furry friends as pesky little critters taking over your garden, they are a lifeline for what’s in it! With that being said, one of the primary reasons that flowers give off the scents that they do is so that they can lure the insects and animals they need to complete the three tasks we listed above.

The Science of Smelling Flowers

But why do different flowers have different smells? And where do they come from? The answer is pretty simple! In order to attract the right pollinators, each flower must produce the scent that their specific target is drawn to. For example, bees are attracted to sweet smells, which is why they are naturally enticed by roses! In terms of how the scent comes to be, it’s all about the chemicals. Often produced in a flowers’ petals, the combination of chemicals present gives off a certain smell when released by the plant. The main cause of their difference has to do with the length of carbon chains, as well as the various other atoms that can be found, within each flower.

Bee on Flower

Now that you know the primary reason why your favorite flowers smell, let’s take a look at some specific examples and go over their scents:

Roses:

Roses are one of the sweetest smelling flowers there is! And although they may all seem to smell the same, the truth is that no two roses produce the exact same scent; they’re all just a teeny bit different in their own way. One thing that we’d like to point out particularly about roses, though, is that as one of the most popular scents, it is often used in products like candles, perfumes, soaps, lotions and creams! Aside from flowers, what’s your favorite way to experience the sweet smell of a rose?

Red Roses

Lilacs:

A flower often associated with spring, lilacs are one particular species that produces a pretty intense smell, but it is a sweet one at that! And although the degree of sweetness may vary depending on the type of lilac you come across, the fact that this flower is sweet in nature will always stay the same.

Lilies:

Similar to lilacs, lilies are known for the way they produce a super strong smell – if you walk past one, you’ll know it’s there! In fact, some sources would say that their scent is strong enough to take over an entire garden. Although the scent may be sweet, if you’re a bit sensitive to smell, you may want to keep an eye on how many lilies you have around the home in order to prevent their scent from becoming overpowering.

Pink Lilies

So what do you think? Are you surprised behind the reasoning behind flowers and their scents or did you see it coming? Either way, the next time you can’t keep your nose out of a bouquet or floral arrangement, we hope you’ll remember why the scent is really there – it’s not just to please you, you know!