Flowers are more than just something beautiful to gaze at. In fact, they have long been associated with rituals, religion, and mythology. They’ve also found their purpose in medicine, as well as fragrance and food production, among other spheres.
Here are some thought-provoking facts about flowers you might have never heard of.
Let’s get started.
Top 10 Flower Facts and Stats to Keep in Mind
- A “complete flower” has sepals, petals, pistil, and stamen.
- The world’s largest importer of cut flowers is the US, at $1.6 billion in 2019.
- There are around 369,400 flowering plants globally.
- The Juliet Rose is the most expensive flower, sold for $15.8 million.
- The world’s biggest flower is the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum).
- Watermeal (Wolffia spp.) is the world’s tiniest flower.
- The rose is the United State’s national flower.
- Lilies are typically associated with funerals.
- The Passion Flower is associated with the Passion of Christ.
- The Ghost orchid doesn’t have leaves.
General Information About Flowers
Before diving deeper into flower-related facts and stats, let’s go through some general must-knows about flowers.
1. Biologically speaking, flowers serve the purpose of plants’ sexual reproduction.
(Oregon State University) (NPS.gov)
We think of flowers, we picture the richest ranges of color and most luxurious scents. In other words, they’re designed to attract, but not primarily humans.
Flowers’ beauty is meant to attract pollinators, like bees, butterflies, moths or birds. This is important for their fertilization because it is these creatures (and many others) that carry pollen from the male part to the female part of the reproductive system.
2. A complete flower has sepals, petals, a pistil, and a stamen.
(Oregon State University)
An excellent example of a complete flower is the rose. However, flowers missing (one of) these parts are referred to as incomplete.
Interestingly, if flowers have both functional pistils (female part) and stamens (male part), they’re called perfect (whether or not they have sepals and petals). On the other hand, if they’re missing either pistils or stamens, they’re imperfect.
3. The greatest flower exporter globally is the Netherlands.
According to these interesting facts about flowers, the country exported almost $3.7 billion worth of flowers in 2017, while the second and third in place—Colombia and Ecuador—reached $1.4 billion and $846 million.
The Netherlands is also the world’s greatest flower producer. The latest floral industry statistics show that its share of global production in 2018 was an astonishing 52%!
4. Data from 2019 shows the world’s largest importer of cut flowers is the US.
That year, the value of the imported flowers in the States reached $1.6 billion. What’s impressive is that Miami International Airport handles around 80% of all those imports.
The cut flowers come from a variety of countries in South and Central America, but also the Netherlands. However, they’re primarily brought in from Colombia, one of the world’s greatest flower exporters.
5. Globally, there were around 369,400 flowering plants in 2016.
According to estimates from five years ago, there are around 390,900 plants in the world, if we don’t count hornworts, liverworts, mosses, and algae. So, we can see that over 94% of them are angiosperms (scientific terms for flowering plants).
6. One of the most amazing pieces of flower trivia is that the most expensive flower ever—the Juliet Rose—was sold for $15.8 million.
Davis Austin, who spent 15 years nurturing the Juliet Rose, sold it for this vast amount of money at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2006.
Other expensive flowers include the Shenzen Nongke Orchid, sold for $200,00, the Gold of Kinabalu Orchid, sold for about $6,000 a piece, and Saffron Crocus for about $1,500 a pound.
The last one is, of course, famous for the wonderful spice. The reason a single pound of saffron is so costly is that it takes about 70,000 flowers to make that much spice.
If you think that’s not crazy enough, check out the Kadapul Flower. This Sri Lanka-native flower simply has no price because of its rarity and short life span. In other words, not for sale.
7. Based on scientific facts about flowers, the oldest flower that’s ever been found is over 130 million years old.
The fossilized Montsechia vidalii was discovered in Spain over 100 years ago and may also be the oldest flowering plant ever. According to scientists, the fossilized plant was most likely a water weed. Nowadays, it’s known as the coontail, present in numerous lakes worldwide.
8. The world’s biggest flower is the corpse flower (Amorphophallus titanum).
(United States Botanic Garden) (Library of Congress)
This incredible creation of nature can weigh as much as 15 pounds and measure three feet in width. However visually impressive, the plant is also known for its putrid scent, hence the striking name.
Unfortunately, the corpse flower is an endangered plant, with fewer than 1,000 specimens left. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the population of this flower has plummeted by over 50% during the previous 150 years or so.
9. The rose is the States’ national flower.
(Better Homes and Gardens)
The rose was declared the national flower emblem of the US in 1986 by Ronald Reagan. Additionally, different rose varieties are considered the state flower of Washington, D.C., Georgia, and North Dakota.
10. More fun facts about flowers: The watermeal (Wolffia spp.) is the world’s tiniest flower.
(Library Of Congress)
The watermeal is about as big as a single candy sprinkle, and weighs as much as two table salt grains of salt. The world’s smallest flower also produces the tiniest fruit on the planet—the utricle.
Facts About Wedding Flowers
While roses are unquestionably among the trendiest wedding flowers, other flower types certainly can make such a lovely occasion even more memorable. Here are some facts you might not have heard before.
11. Though today they’re frequently seen at weddings, marigolds were used to replace gold coins.
(Bride and Blossom)
The name of this flower is derived from the phrase “Mary’s Gold” because it was used as an offering to the Virgin Mary (instead of gold coins). Nowadays, they’re well-known for being used in the Day of the Dead celebrations, and they’re a treasured part of Mexican culture.
When it comes to weddings, marigolds are a fantastic way to add a splash of passion and vibrancy to a venue, and they look great in a bouquet.
12. Indonesian weddings have traditionally featured jasmine flower buds in headdresses and garlands.
As facts about jasmine flowers suggest, these plants have been seen as sacred in this country’s culture for a long time. They’re also commonly used in Pakistani wedding celebrations. In various cultures, the jasmine symbolizes peace, harmony, love, beauty, and purity.
13. Lilies are typically associated with funerals.
The reason for this lies in their symbolism of the innocence that departed souls regain. However, since lilies symbolize purity and majesty as well, they’re also commonly used at weddings.
Fun Facts About Different Flowers
The title says it all! Keep scrolling for more!
14. You can eat certain cactus flowers.
(SFGATE) (Garden Guides)
You may already know that cactus fruits like prickly pears are edible, but were you aware that the same is true of the flowers? What’s more, they can also be used to make delicious wine.
However, only part of the flower is cooked. You can harvest the unopened flower buds before they bloom and cook them as vegetables.
15. Snowdrops are named after earrings.
(National Garden Scheme)
No, they’re not called snowdrops after drops of snow, as you may have automatically assumed.
Based on the facts about snowdrop flowers, there are over 2,500 different kinds of this plant. Symbolically, they represent religion, spring, and purity. What’s especially interesting is that in various countries, collecting their bulbs in the wild is treated as illegal.
16. There are more than 20 perennial and annual types of cosmos flowers.
These plants native to Central America are related to sunflowers and daisies. It’s interesting that some areas of the US consider this flower a weed because of its invasive nature.
17. The Ghost orchid doesn’t have leaves.
(Gardening KnowHow) (National Geographic)
Due to its unusual shape, this flower native to Cuba, Florida, and the West Indies is also known as the white frog orchid. Since it doesn’t have leaves, the flower absorbs moisture from the air. Also, its nocturnal smell typically attracts giant sphinx moths.
18. Morning glory flowers close in the afternoon.
(Southeast Iowa Union)
The reason behind such a descriptive name is that such flowers open up their petals in the morning and close in the afternoon. Moonflowers, on the other hand, open during the evening hours, usually round dusk.
19. The Passion Flower is associated with the Passion of Christ.
According to facts about passion flowers, these plants are frequently used as a symbol of the Passion of Christ due to their striking appearance.
Namely, the crown of thorns is the flower’s corona, the styles and their stigmas are associated with the nails Christ was crucified with. Lastly, the five petals and five sepals equal the ten apostles (except St. Peter and Judas).
20. The bluebonnet flower became Texas’s state flower in 1901.
Although there are five types of Texas-native bluebonnet species, the Lupinus texensis is the real Texas bluebonnet. It was once called the wolf flower, probably because it’s poisonous if consumed.
It’s no wonder that flowers have captivated humankind since ancient times. They have always been an essential part of human existence, playing a significant role in rituals, spirituality, medicine, etc.
We hope the given facts have managed to cast at least some light on the diversity of the world of flowers. Unfortunately, climate change is taking its toll on numerous plants, whose existence is being brought into question.
How many flowers are in the world?
According to scientists, there are around 369,400 flowering plants in the world. However, the number constantly changes as experts discover new species, while others die out.
What’s the rarest flower?
The Middlemist Red (or the Unspecified Camellia) is considered the rarest flower on the planet. Presently, there are just two specimens of it known to scientists in the whole world.
What is the biggest flower of the world?
The Rafflesia arnoldii or the corpse flower is the largest flower on the planet. It grows in Indonesian rainforests, and it can weigh up to 15 pounds and grow to be around 3 feet across.
(Library of Congress)
What is the smelliest flower?
Besides being the largest, the corpse flower (titum arum) is also the smelliest flower on the planet. The name itself is indicative of the scent’s unpleasantness, which reminds people of rotting flesh. The smell is the result of a combination of over thirty different chemicals.
(The Culture Trip)
Which is the world’s smallest flower?
The Wolffia spp. or watermeal is the smallest flowering plant on the planet. On average, the plant is 1/85” wide and 1/42” long, and its weight can literally be measured in grains of table salt.
According to facts about flowers, other tiny flowering plants include the Thymus vulgaris (also known as thyme), Lobelia, Kenilworth ivy, Alfalfa, and Bladderwort.
(The Mysterious World) (Library of Congress)
- Better Homes and Gardens
- Bride and Blossom
- Farmers Almanac
- Floral Daily
- Flower Aura
- Garden Guides
- Garden Guides
- Gardening KnowHow
- Library of Congress
- Library of Congress
- Marine Florists
- National Garden Scheme
- National Geographic
- Oregon State University
- Southeast Iowa Union
- The Culture Trip
- The Mysterious World
- United States Botanic Garden