The Emotional Impact of Flowers

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by Eric La Fountaine, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  2. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I am surprised there has not been more research on this topic. Few things elicit as much response in humans as the smile of a baby and fresh flowers. It is interesting that women are traditionally presumed to be the more emotional of the sexes and to enjoy flowers more.

    Are these things emitting pheromone-like chemicals that attract us? I especially like fragrant flowers. I know that some cultures associate particular flower fragrances with certain emotions and states of being.
     
  3. munroc

    munroc Member

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    Hi Eric -

    I'm surprised you haven't received more messages on this thread, as the emotional impact of flowers is huge. For instance, my mother has always loved flowers, but after my father died, she could not face flowers for over a year. Now she helps me in the garden and loves the flowers again. I've heard of others losing a spouse who could not face the house interior, but got great solice from the garden.

    As for phenoromes, I've discovered chocolate cosmos. This flower is not only elegant, but truly smells of the best of chocolate on a hot sunny day.

    Why do flowers and herbs give off odours of other familiar edibles that we love, such as chocolate, pineapple, and all the citrus and mints?
     
  4. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Munroc, I guess the theory is that some plants coincidentally produce chemicals or colours that humans respond to emotionally (or otherwise) and we have selected and cultivated these flowers primarily for their uplifting (and possibly healthful) impact.

    Interesting that your mother was so turned off by flowers after losing your father. I imagine the flowers were so closely associated with the memories and it was just overwhelming.

    The complex chemical interrelations of plants and animals that has evolved over time is quite amazing. Many flowers seem to have extraordinary impact considering we don't eat them (most of them).
     
  5. whistler

    whistler Member

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    Hi Guys,
    Interesting subject! Didnt read the link that Eric posted, but have a few quick ideas /reasons/ questions to that theory. My opinions, no fact backing them. First "whats a equivalent gift as the article states"? If its the same , would it not evoke the same response? Do we cultivate flowers for positive stimuli, the same reason we breed dogs, cats horses, etc? We enjoy our perception of what we think is beautiful, pleasing,calming etc. Flora and Fauna adapt for their survival, we adapt them for our survival. {because we can} Im rambling, it is fascinating though, but sometimes isnt it just nice to sit back and smell the roses, as opossed trying to decifer all the scientific reasoning? {Though I realize, this is why u opened the topic}.
    Does a blind person appreciate a flower as much as a sighted person does? All our senses evoke a stimuli. So a unscented, though beatiful looking flower, may evoke no positive response to a blind person.
     
  6. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The equivalent gift was something like a scented candle or chocolates, beautiful and/or scented things that were not flowers.

    I think the main point of the experiments was to look at why we are so drawn to something that provides us no useful product. Other plants domesticated by humans provide food, fibre, building materials, medicine etc. Most animals domesticated by humans were originally food sources. Dogs were probably drawn to our hunting and soon man realized that these pack animals could join the hunting team. Cats hmmm? ...Oh well another example of something useless that we keep....Just kidding. (I have two cats.) Cats may have also hunted for man, they were mousers and even used as guards.
     
  7. GreenGirl

    GreenGirl Member

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    Is the happiness one gets from growing flowers not considered a useful product? What is the purpose of life if we can not be happy? Perhaps as our society moves more away from natural settings, growing flowers is a way to still feel in touch with the earth. Flowers are a gift to us from the earth and provide us with a sense of well being that a man made gift could never produce.
    We should all be surrounding ourselves with natural "happy" producers rather then seeking happiness from be screen tvs and cells phones.

    cheers! :)
     
  8. munroc

    munroc Member

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    I agree, Greengirl, sometimes it is simply the "uselessness" of something that makes it a special gift. I'd even go as far as to say that I prefer a bouquet of cut flowers to a potted flowering plant; maybe it says something to me about the giver.

    I also think we are hugely attached to anything that signifies life and lets us feel less alone. Think of an isolated or confined person who cultivates the 'friendship' of a bug, even a cockroach. Maybe our senses are somehow involved in our emotional health - needing to see and touch something else alive.

    One of the most sensual experiences I can think of is snorkling over a coral reef, and apart from seeing colour and light and experiencing bouyancy, maybe even feeling the accidental touch of a velvety fish, and hearing my own breath through the snorkle, I think of it as a privilege to glimpse another world - similar to the glimpses we get of other cultures and landscapes when we travel.

    So as for those useless cats, well, I have two, too... but then think of the success of pet therapy - oops, I'm really getting off topic, or am I?
     
  9. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Odour of flowers mean nothing to me; in fact I seldom smell them. It is the appearance that I find attractive. It is thrilling to see a healthy plant procducing its perfect bloom. Every morning I wander around the garden looking for overnight beauty. A new bloom truly evolks a delighful feeling. I probably think I helped produce that, sort of like creating something. The plant was treated right and this is my reward. I might add I find it most difficult to destroy a plant because it is is the wrong location; usually, I find another location for it.

    A little babble about trees.
    Big trees of BC destroyed give me an empty feeling. Once I was wandering through the logging trails in Kitamat, and come across about 20 stumps about 6 feet across. My thought was, they were older than Canada. Could not one have been left standing?

    In Ontario and Michigan one cannot find one old growth Great White Pine anywhere within driving distance. Michigan was logged out in 40 years from about 1880 to 1920. There is a stand near Temagami, Ontario. I went one summer to see them, but a eight hour canoe trip was required. Never did see them. The only reason they are still standing is because it was too difficult for loggers to get them out in the old days. They are trying now, I don't know how successful because there is/was a lot of opposition. At least BC still has a few big trees left. Every time I went to Vancouver I always walked around Stanley Park. Stanley had foresight, which is much appreciated today. Maybe large trees fascinate me so much, because I was raised on the man made plains of Saskatchewan.

    Durgan
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2005

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