Roses are red
Violets are blue
There are trillions of us
But only 7 billion of you
We’re all familiar with roses and the symbolism of love behind them, or the dandelions that we fight to keep from taking over our front lawns, but did you know that there are more than hundreds of thousands of different species of flowers out there? Popular culture and day-to-day experience may not make them all readily known to us, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a whole wide world of exotic flowers out there, from those that smell of rotting flesh, to those credited with saving an entire nation.
They seem like some of the most common plants in the world, but you’ll be surprised at the things that you don’t know about flowers! Here are six weird flower facts for your enjoyment:
1. Flowers Number in the Trillions
As our opening poem suggests, there are many more flowers out there than people! While answering the question of how many flowers are growing around the world at any given time is impossible for obvious reasons, scientists estimate that there are literally trillions of them out there, of many thousands of different varieties, the vast majority of them wild.
Keep that number in mind the next time you decide to shell out your hard-earned money for a bouquet – there’s likely a beautiful batch free for the picking nearby!
2. There are Nearly a Quarter Million Species of Flowers
With a short list of flowers representing a few important ideas for most of us – for example, roses for love – it’s easy to narrow our focus to only those few species that have any impact on our daily lives. If that’s true for you, take a moment to digest the fact that there are more than 230,000 different species of flowers out there, all of them combining to seed the Earth with the trillions of individual flowers mentioned above.
It would take an article much longer than this one to name them all, so let’s just leave things off by saying that flower species range from aster to zemophilitheuos, with hundreds of thousands of them in between!
3. Flowers are Very, Very Old
Digging through the fossil record in order to identify the earliest of species is difficult, but scientists made a discovery in 2002 in China that appears to have unveiled the world’s oldest flower. According to Flowers24hours, this water lily-like flower grew wild throughout the Chinese landscape about 125 million years ago.
4. Dandelions Get a Bad Rap
While many of us spend countless hours trying to rid our yards and concrete cracks of dandelions, they are a beautiful little flower with a host of benefits to the human body if only we’d learn to eat them regularly!
Bitter taste aside, dandelions contain high amounts of vitamins, notably vitamin A, along with a healthy dose of calcium and potassium. So, next time you’re spraying them to death or cutting them to a nice bouquet to fade, consider snipping them to add to supper, instead!
5. If Ants Gave Bouquets…
The world’s smallest flower is called the wolffia, a type of duckweed native to Australia and Malaysia, and growing nowhere else in the world today. With a size of less than one millimeter long and half a millimeter wide, this tiny flower would obviously be the gift of choice for bugs on Valentine’s Day – if bugs celebrated Valentine’s Day, of course.
6. Tulip Mania
After being introduced to Dutch settlements in the 17th century, tulips quickly became a favorite among collectors and nobility alike, causing the price of a single bulb to reach exceptionally high amounts, temporarily turning them into an item worth more than gold.
Dubbed “ulip mania,” this effect soon passed after fortunes were made and lost on pure speculation of men who had never even laid eyes on the flower, leaving the tulip to develop as a beautiful, but generally worthless, market item.