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What Gives Flowers Their Color?

What Gives Flowers Their Color? on

And why it matters

When it comes to colors, nothing can compare to nature’s own pallet. It’s one of the biggest reasons people love flowers. The rainbow of colors tell a story: a person’s favorite color, a shade that matches a theme, the soft romance of pastel pink, the passion of fiery red, the warmth of sunny yellow, the purity of white. Flowers colors are all about you …

But they’re really not. The honest truth is that flower colors have nothing to do with you or me or any person on the planet. Instead, the colors we have come to love are about bees, pollen, and more flowers.

There’s a lot of competition on the field

It’s not easy being a flower. With so many blooms, there’s a lot of competition on the field to stand out from the crowd and to get some attention from the pollinators. In order for flowers to survive – and in many cases, to produce seeds, nuts, and fruit – their pollen has to travel to other flowers.

To make a visit worth the while of various pollinators, flowers produce nectar and protein. The trick is getting the pollinator to the pollen – and for that, flowers rely on color.

The more colorful the flower …

Generally speaking, pollinators are attracted to bright colors. While bees are the most common of the pollinators, not all flowers rely on bees. Some depend on butterflies, others on hummingbirds, and still others on ants. (Night-blooming flowers, because color means nothing in the dark, use aroma to attract moths and bats.)

Although pollinators will flit and fly and land on all sorts of flowers, each species is drawn to specific colors:

  • Bees: Bright blue and violet;
  • Butterflies: Yellow, orange, pink, and red; and
  • Hummingbirds: Red, pink, fuchsia, and purple.

It’s important to note that when pollinators see colors, they do not see the same colors humans do. Bees, for example, are able to see ultraviolet light. As a result, bees are able to see subtle patterns to guide them to the pollen.

But where does the color come from?

When looking at a flower’s color, most people are seeing the actual color, everything from white to purple. The color, though, is actually the result of genetics, a plant’s survival mechanism to ensure its survival by producing bright flowers for the pollinators.

The chemical compounds responsible for coloration are anthocyanins. While that name may not be familiar to most people, the chemicals are part of the flavonoid family – a class of about 6,000 phytonutrients, or antioxidants, found in almost all fruits and vegetables.

Flowers are healthy for the heart and soul

At HOSA International, we love the idea that flower colors are created with antioxidant compounds. It confirms what we’ve always thought about flowers – they’re beautiful and healthy.

Science may tell us that flower colors exist for the purpose of attracting pollinators, but perhaps flower colors exist to make us feel better and happier – which means that flower colors do tell a story, and that story is all about you.

For more information about HOSA International, our flowers, our policies, and what we can do for you, or to place a wholesale order, call us at 305.470.9991 or complete our online form.

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Flower Distributor

Flower Distributor