Have you ever wondered why certain flowering plants are chosen by humans for domestication and propagation? Some plants make invaluable practical contributions to medicine, shelter and as food ingredients. But it's harder to pinpoint why exactly why our ancestors began saving and sowing seeds for flowers. Many flowers have little practical purpose, but there was something so alluring and emotionally engaging about them that our ancestors felt compelled to initiate a practice of growing them and using them in gifts and decorations. This practice survives to the modern day.
Research on why flowers are selected is sparse - some researchers point to a wider dearth of research into the emotional factors contributing to biological evolution. One theory that has been put forward is that we began initially tolerating certain flowers in early agriculture and then actively preserving and growing them, so pleasing did we find them. In this way, the evolution of flower propagation has been likened by some to the domestication of dogs. In other words, "flowers may be the plant equivalent of companion animals."
Mac, our faithful Clare Florist HQ companion and reluctanct blog photography model
Of course, it may be the case that we are over-thinking this. Flowers are beautiful. They therefore are inherently desirable and worth growing and treasuring. The sensuous, ineffable beauty of flowers isn't something that can be easily analyzed or put into words. These lofty psychological theories, as indisputably fascinating as they are, perhaps are complicating something which is simple and obvious. Humans have always appreciated beauty, whether in art or the natural world. Flowers are no exception to this. Is it their attractive colours, pleasant scent, beautiful symmetry? To try to decode why this is the case would be to question the basic blueprint of what constitues beauty, a foray into aesthetic and philosphical considerations that we feel is beyond the remit of the Clare Florist blog... for the time being anyway!