Showing posts with label Bees. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bees. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 336 - 340

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 336 - Pollination systems are biological markets, where flower visitors choose between flower species on the basis of their quality, such as the sweetness and amount of nectar per flower. Plants in turn compete for pollinators and advertise their product through colorful visual displays and scents. A key challenge in floral advertising is that signals must be not only attractive but also memorable. The more distinct a flower signal, the more likely a pollinator is to remember it, increasing the probability that pollinators will visit more flowers of this species while ignoring competitors. Some plant species even gain an unfair advantage in this competitive market by manipulating the memory of bees with psychoactive drugs, namely caffeine.


Day 337 - Diesel pollution snuffs out floral odors, interfering with honeybees' ability to find and pollinate flowers, new research suggests. Honeybees use both visual and olfactory cues to recognize flowers that produce nectar in return for insect pollination. Not all flowers produce nectar, and bees avoid those that don't by learning to recognize the odors of nectar-bearing flowers. But these floral odors — which consist of reactive chemicals called volatiles — react with other substances in the atmosphere; in the presence of certain pollutants, especially those in diesel fuel, these scents can chemically transform into undetectable forms. So give a hoot, don’t pollute!

 
Day 338 - The rose was adopted as England’s flower emblem during the Civil War (1455-1485). Roses symbolized two warring factions in England. Red roses symbolized the Lancaster faction while white roses symbolized the York faction, this clash became known as the War of the Roses.

 
Day 339 - It seems that the French were the first people to first deliver roses. As well it was the French explorer Samuel de Champlain who brought the first cultivated roses to North America in the seventeenth century.





 
Day 340 - The world's oldest living rose bush is thought to be 1000 years old. Today, it continues to bloom on the wall of the Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany. This variety is known as Sunrisa.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 331- 335

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.

Day 331 - Interaction between insects and flowering plants shaped the development of both groups, a process called coevolution. In time flowers evolved arresting colors, alluring fragrances, and special petals that provide landing pads for their insect pollinators. Uppermost in the benefits package for insects is nectar, a nutritious fluid flowers provide as a type of trading commodity in exchange for pollen dispersal. The ancestors of bees, butterflies, and wasps grew dependent on nectar, and in so doing became agents of pollen transport, inadvertently carrying off grains hitched to tiny hairs on their bodies. These insects could pick up and deliver pollen with each visit to new flowers, raising the chances of fertilization.

Day 332 - Insects weren't the only obliging species to help transport flowering plants to every corner of the Earth. Dinosaurs, the greatest movers and shakers the world has ever known, bulldozed through ancient forests, unwittingly clearing new ground for angiosperms. They also sowed seeds across the land by way of their digestive tracts.

Day 333 - Dinosaurs disappeared suddenly about 65 million years ago, and another group of animals took their place—the mammals, which greatly profited from the diversity of angiosperm fruits, including grains, nuts, and many vegetables. Flowering plants, in turn, reaped the benefits of seed dispersal by mammals. "It was two kingdoms making a handshake," says David Dilcher, a paleobotanist with the Florida Museum of Natural History. "I'll feed you, and you take my genetic material some distance away."


Day 334 – As humans evolved, they and the plant kingdom continued to evolve together, through agriculture, angiosperms met our need for sustenance. We in turn have taken certain species like corn and rice and given them unprecedented success, cultivating them in vast fields, pollinating them deliberately, consuming them with gusto. Virtually every nonmeat food we eat starts as a flowering plant, while the meats, milk, and eggs we consume come from livestock fattened on grains—flowering plants. Even the cotton we wear is an angiosperm. Aesthetically, too, angiosperms sustain and enrich our lives. We've come to value them for their beauty alone, their scents, their companionship in a vase or a pot. Some flowers speak an ancient language where words fall short. For these more dazzling players—the orchids, the roses, the lilies—the world grows smaller, crisscrossed every day by jet-setting flowers in the cargo holds of commercial transport planes.

 
Day 335 – Bittersweet is a species of vine in the potato genus Solanum. It is considered an invasive problem weed in North America, but is available in the autumn as cut branches and used by florists in fall floral designs and wreaths. They have a small bi-colour orange skin with red berries that dry on the branch, maintaining the same appearance as when fresh.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

365 Days of Floral Education - Days 321- 325

As part of our 125th Anniversary celebration at Stein Your Florist Co. we are sharing a year of floral education, November 1, 2012 thru October 31, 2013. Each day we will post something new on our Facebook page to share our knowledge of our favorite things, flowers and plants and we'll be updating our blog every 5 days or so. No need for pencils and notebooks, just sharing some simple lessons in floristry.


Day 321 – The oldest example of grave flowers has been discovered in Israel. An ancient burial pit dating to nearly 14,000 years ago contained impressions from stems and flowers of aromatic plants such as mint and sage. The new find "is the oldest example of putting flowers and fresh plants in the grave before burying the dead," said study co-author Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa in Israel.
 

Day 322 – Flower petals breaking through the snow, an early hint of spring's arrival, hides a very complex genetic process behind its floral fa├žade. Flowers know when to bloom because of a gene named Apetala1. A lone master gene, Apetala1 triggers the reproductive development of a plant, telling it when it's time to start blossoming. Yes, a single gene is all it takes to make a plant start producing flowers. A plant blooming with flowers has an active Apetala1, while a plant carrying inactive Apetala1 genes has very few flowers, if any, with leafy shoots growing in place of blossoms.
 


Day 323 – Bees can sense a flower's electrical charge, which tells them if the flower's worth visiting. Everyone knows that bees buzz around flowers in their quest for nectar, but scientists have now learned that flowers are buzzing right back — with electricity. Plants generally have a negative electrical charge and emit a weak electrical signal and scientists have known for years that bees' flapping wings create a positive electrical charge of up to 200 volts as they flit from flower to flower. The bees — busy as they famously are — don't have time to waste visiting pretty flowers whose nectar has just been taken by another insect, so the flower and bee have an electric communication that provides them both with what they need. The bees get nectar and the flowers get pollinated without wasted effort.
 

Day 324 – If you've ever taken a late-night stroll through a garden, you may have noticed that certain flowers, much like people, tend to retire after the sun goes down. But flowers that close up at night, such as tulips, hibiscus, poppies and crocuses, aren't sleepy. They're just highly evolved. Plants that tuck themselves in for bedtime exhibit a natural behavior known as nyctinasty. Scientists know the mechanism behind the phenomenon: In cool air and darkness, the bottom-most petals of certain flowers grow at a faster rate than the upper-most petals, forcing the flowers shut.
 

Day 325 – Science has proven it! Flowers make people happy! We of course knew, but read on… The first study involved 147 women. All those who got flowers smiled. Make a note: all of them. That's the kind of statistical significance scientists love. Among the women who got candles, 23% didn't smile. And 10% of those who got fruit didn't smile. We still like candles and fruit, but flowers make people the happiest!