Everything You Want to Know About Flowers (30 FAQs Answered)

Everything you want to know about flowers header

Did you know gerbera’s help you sleep better, that broccoli is a flower or that Prince Charles is paid one daffodil a year as rent for his land on the Isles of Scilly and off the coast of Cornwall?

There are hundreds of interesting facts out there related to flowers, so let’s delve in and find out about the flower that smells like rotting flesh, rainbow roses and the flower that grows up to 1m in diameter and much much more…

1. What is the most popular flower in the world?

It is the rose. With over 400,000 flower plant species across the world, you might think it would be hard to pinpoint the most popular flower in the world, but it isn’t. Roses come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and combine a unique appearance with a beautiful fragrance.

It is also believed the rose is the oldest species of plant to be grown for decorative purposes, with rose fossils dating back around 35 million years. A recent study showed the worldwide appeal of the plant, with the biggest exporter of roses being the Netherlands, followed by Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya. Not only are they grown around the world, but they are also exported to countries all around the world.

2. What is the most beautiful flower in the world?

Now this is a bit more subjective. Once again the rose stakes its claim to be the world’s most beautiful flower with its beautifully defined petals and rich array of colors, but perhaps the most stunning display of floral elegance can be found in Japan in the spring.

This is when the country’s stunning cherry blossom season starts. It usually begins in the southwest of the country in late March and slowly spreads until the whole country is blanketed in a vibrant pink beauty by the time the spectacle reaches the northeast of the country, usually by early May. The phenomenon is hugely popular both for the Japanese and for thousands of tourists who visit the country each year to take in the full beauty of this wonderful plant.

3. What is the ugliest flower in the world?

Well strictly the title of the ugliest flower in the world goes to the ‘Gastrodia agnicellus’, a new species identified in December 2020. Surprisingly this flower is an orchid, usually known for its vibrant beauty, but this is a little bit different. It was discovered in Madagascar and has no leaves and a woolly, tubelike stem. Researchers from Kew Gardens labeled it “the ugliest orchid in the world”. On a more controversial note, the geranium polarises opinion, some love the colorful florets but many treat them with disdain and find them boring and underwhelming.

4. What is the rarest flower in the world?

The rarest flower in the world is the Middlemist Red, there are currently only two surviving examples in the world. One can be found at Treaty House in New Zealand, the other at the English stately home of Chiswick House and Gardens. The flower is so sought after that a clipping was taken to grace the gardens of a multi-million dollar real estate development in Saudi Arabia. Located in Riyadh the development is made up of a wealth of luxury amenities, but taking center stage is this rare flower.

5. What is the smelliest flower in the world?

The Amorphophallus titanum’s name translates as Titan Arum but it is more commonly known as the corpse flower. It was given this name on account of the fact that its smell is comparable to that of rotting flesh! Its stench has also been compared to gone off cheese and decomposing rats. I think you get the picture, it doesn’t smell very nice! The corpse flower also has the largest collection of flowers in the world. Thankfully it only blooms once every seven to nine years, and each bloom lasts around 24 hours.

6. What flower smells like pee?


If you have ever visited a garden and thought you have detected the unmistakable stench of cat urine, you might be on to something. The elegant-looking English Boxwood, popular in all kinds of landscaping, is known to smell like cat pee! The shrub is versatile and comes in a variety of species, thankfully the American or Japanese varieties are equally stylish but come free of the smell associated with the English variety!

7. What flower smells like poop?

The fleshy flower, Hydnora Africana, has two distinguishing characteristics. Firstly it has an appearance reminiscent of female genitalia, secondly it emits the smell of poop! This plant, which is native to Africa, is also known as jackal food or jakkalskos and gives off its stench to attract dung beetles to pollinate it.

It is a very odd-looking plant with no leaves or stems, but there is a flower. Hydnora Africana is found in Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana and Ethiopia. Despite its odd look and horrible smell the fruit it produces apparently tastes very nice, and is eaten by many animals and people.

8. What is the smallest flower in the world?

Wolffia globosa, also known as water-meal, is the world’s smallest flowering plant. It is a variety of duckweed and measures around 1mm long at its biggest, but usually only grows to around 0.2mm in diameter. Amazingly it also produces the smallest fruit in the world, known as a Utricle.

It takes the appearance of a yellow or yellowy-green floating plant and is found across the world in lakes, marshes, ponds and streams. It consists of a single pistel and stamen. More recently it has attracted attention for its nutritional value, it is packed full of protein and omega-3 fatty acids and contains many of the daily vitamins and minerals you need.

9. What is the largest flower in the world?

The plant responsible for producing the largest individual flower on earth is the Rafflesia arnoldii. Its flower grows up to 1m (3.3ft) in diameter.

The Rafflesia arnoldii comes from the Rafflesia genus of flower, which has 28 known species, all of which are only found in Southeast Asian rainforests. The Rafflesia arnoldii itself is only found in Sumatra, or more specifically the Sumatran Montane Rainforests ecoregion. The genus is an interesting one, it has no stems, roots or leaves and is another plant that gives off a foul stench (see the world’s smelliest flower above for another example). It is this foul smell that attracts flies and beetles that pollinate the plant.

10. What is the softest flower in the world?

Although difficult to quantify, probably the softest flower in the world is Mullein. Mullein has incredibly soft and delicate leaves and has highly medicinal qualities. The leaves can be dried for tea, the root has usage for respiratory and digestive complaints and the flowers can be made into an infused oil used to ease ear infections and calm irritated skin.

The name itself, Mullein, comes from the Latin word mollis meaning soft. Its leaves are oblong-shaped and velvety to the touch. It has been used by humans for centuries and was even thought to predict the weather, forming a leaf rosette to indicate snowfall in the cold months.

11. Which flower smells best?

Again this is another very subjective question, and there are undoubtedly some wonderful fragrant contenders out there: the classic, timeless scent of the rose, the unmistakeable smell of the lily, the soothing odour of lavender, and many many more…

But in a worldwide survey of gardeners themselves, it was revealed it was the primrose that was thought to be the flower that smells best with its sweet, spring-orientated smell winning favor. Second was the plumeria with its unique fragrance being noted. Third was the clematis, popular for its fresh vanilla aroma.

12. What is the most powerful flower?

The flower that has long been associated with strength is the gladiolus, which takes its name from the Latin word for ‘sword’. And the name hints at this deep association with power, it was the flower thrown to victorious gladiators in Roman times.

There are around 300 species of gladiolus and the entire genus symbolizes strength of character, integrity, faithfulness and remembrance. Accordingly, gladioli are the flowers traditionally given for a 40th wedding anniversary. Gladiolus was also the work correctly spelled by Frank Neuhauser to take the first-ever National Spelling Bee in 1925!

13. What flowers make you happier?

Studies have revealed that flowers have a long-term, positive effect on moods. A gift of flowers was found to immediately make someone happier, whilst also sparking a long-term positive enhancement on someone’s happiness.

So it could be argued that all flowers make you happier, but there are some that are generally thought of as being “happy flowers”. When it comes to sunflowers, the name itself tells you they can make someone’s day much brighter, yellow chrysanthemums are also said to inspire feelings of happiness and warmth and tulips with their soft blooms and array of colors frequently bring a smile to sad faces.

14. What flowers do you buy for a death?

The most popular choice of flowers to send when someone dies is lilies. White lilies in particular are sent as a sign of sympathy. Other frequent choices include chrysanthemums, gladioli, roses and carnations.

Perhaps the most appreciated choice would be if there is a flower that has a strong meaning for the deceased, something they particularly loved. Alternatively, mixed flower arrangements cover all bases and can be arranged in colors of your choice.

15. Which cut flowers are safe for cats?

Cat on decking

The safest cut flowers for cats include asters, celosia, orchids, roses, sunflowers and zinnias. The more dangerous cut flowers for cats include clematis, delphinium, lavender, lilies, peonies and tulips.

Of course, it is important to know your own cat’s characters. All animals are curious about things to an extent, but if you have a cat that loves to sniff or eat flowers then it is important to know which are safe to have in the house. The best way to double-check how safe a flower is for a cat (or even a dog or horse) is to visit the ASPCA website and search its database on plant safety and toxicity. 

16. Can dogs eat flowers?

The answer to the question can dog eat flowers? is, it depends on the flower. But you should always err on the side of caution and be fully aware some plants are poisonous to dogs. Common plants that are poisonous to your canine friend include azalea and rhododendron, holly, hydrangea, ivy, primroses, hyacinth, mums, azalea, daffodil, lily, iris and peony. Safe flowers for dogs include roses, african violets, snapdragons, orchids, pansies, sunflowers and petunias.

To check the toxicity of any plant to see if it is safe for your dog visit the ASPCA website and search its extensive database.

17. What are the four main parts of a flower?

Most flowers have four main parts, these are sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels. Sepals are the small leaf-like parts that grow at the base of petals, just about them are the petals that attract insects to pollinate the flower, the stamens are the male part of a flower that produces the pollen grain and the carpels are the female part of a flower that receives pollen and produce egg cells to develop into a new plant.

18. What is a complete flower?

A complete flower, also known as a perfect flower, has all four floral parts: sepals, petals, stamens and carpels, thus having both male and female reproductive organs. Any plant missing any of these four parts is said to be incomplete.

Complete flowers include sweet peas, roses, hibiscus and lilies. With both male and female reproduction organs in the same flower, it means the pollination process is much easier.

19. Are orchids flowers?

Yes orchids are flowers, in fact with almost 30,000 species they are the second largest group of flowers worldwide. They do however have one distinguishing characteristic that sets them apart from all other flowering plants. The male part of the orchid (the stamen) and the female part of the orchid (the pistil) are fused into one structure called the column.

What also makes orchids unusual is that they are monosymmetrical, so both halves of the flower mirror each other. They grow in almost environment on earth too, with the exception of the hottest deserts and Antarctica.

20. Are there black roses?

No there are no naturally black roses. There are a number of roses labeled as black, but when they are inspected closely they have deep purple or burgundy hues, rather than being truly black. Perhaps the closest you will find is a small number of very dark roses that only grow in the tiny village of Halfeti in Turkey.

The village has unique soil conditions, it is highly dense and contains water-soluble pigments called anthocyanins. This has resulted in a small number of roses that appear perfectly black to the naked eye, but are in fact a deep, crimson red color when inspected closely.

21. Are rainbow roses real?

Yes rainbow roses are real, but they haven’t grown that way naturally. They have required a helping hand to gain their eye-catching colors and have been created rather than grown. It is something that anyone can do though.

What has happened is that the stem of a normal rose has been split, usually into three or four sections. Each part of the stem has then been put into a separate narrow container, each containing different colored water (usually achieved by simply mixing food coloring into water). The water is drawn up the individually split stems and into the petals and the result is a rainbow rose.

22. What is a hermaphroditic flower?

Close-up of white Magnolia tree blossoms

A hermaphroditic flower is simply any flower that has both male and female reproductive organs on the same flower. That means these flowers can self-pollinate, so they are not dependent upon insects doing it for them. You can spot hermaphroditic flowers as a pistil is present in the center of the flower and around the pistil stamens can be found.

Hermaphroditic flowers are quite common and include roses, magnolia, lilies, petunia, daffodil and sunflower.

23. What plant blooms once every 100 years?

The Madagascar Palm Tree was discovered in 2008 and blooms once every 100 years. Unfortunately such is the effect of this rare bloom, the tree dies shortly afterward. There are estimated to be only 100 Madagascar Palm Trees in the world.

Additionally, the Puya Raimondii, also known as the Queen of the Andes, blooms when it reaches around 80 to 100 years old. It usually grows around 12,000 feet above sea level in South America.

24. What flower starts with Z?

Surprisingly there is more than one flower that starts with the letter Z. Probably the most well-known is the Zinnia. This annual flower is easy to grow and has daisy-like flowerheads on a single stem. The Zinnia is named after the German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn and there are 20 species and more than 100 cultivars of the plant.

Other ‘Z’ plants include zantedeschia, zephyranthesm, zygopetalum, zamia, zauschneria, zingiber officinale, zexmenia hispida, zabel laurel and the Zebra plant.

25. How many flowers are there in the world?

Scientists estimate there are nearly 400,000 flowers in the world. But to add to that they admit there are 2,000 new species discovered every year. However, that is counterbalanced by a report by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew which revealed that around 20% of plants are at risk of extinction to due climate change, habitat loss and disease.

The same report admitted around 370,000 of the 400,000 plants were flowering, with Professor Kathy Willis, Director of Science at Kew Gardens saying: “This is just scratching the surface. There are thousands out there that we don’t know about.”

26. What kind of flower has two lips?

The tulip, boom boom!!!

27. What is the flower for strength?

There are a number of flowers that symbolize strength but perhaps the most closely associated with this virtue is the gladiolus. Its name comes from the latin word ‘Gladius’ which means sword, and its leaves are indeed shaped like swords. It is characterized by tall, strong stems that represent strength and vibrant long-lasting blooms. The word gladius is also where the word gladiator originated. Other flowers associated with strength include echinacea, nasturtium and iris. 

If you are looking for a particular color that encapsulates strength, then the most closely associated hue is red. A bouquet of bright red flowers is seen to encourage strength of character in a difficult situation.

28. What is the flower for love?

The most iconic flower associated with the theme of love is undoubtedly the red rose. It was estimated a total of 152million roses were sold on Valentine’s Day 2021, with the vast majority of these being red roses. 

There are a number of flowers that are popular on Valentine’s Day and associated with love. These include the red carnation, which is also traditionally the gift of the first wedding anniversary, the chrysanthemum which encapsulates joy, optimism and fidelity, the sunflower with its bright cheery faces and vibrant blooms and tulips which ooze happiness and joy.

29. Who is the king of flowers?

There is no specific ‘king of flowers’ as such, but instead is a term used to refer to any flower considered to be perfect and beautiful. However, two flowers put forward particularly strong cases to be known by the term.

The rose has been known as the king or queen of flowers due to its beauty and popularity throughout the world and is a symbol of many qualities including love, elegance and life. Also sometimes dubbed the king of flowers is the peony, particularly in China where it has been associated with royalty for over 1,500 years.

30. What do red, white and yellow roses mean?

Rose bouquet

Different color roses have different meanings. Red roses mean passion and romance and are the time-honored way of expressing love on Valentine’s Day. Darker red is said to be a way of saying you are ready for commitment. White roses stand for purity, loyalty and innocence, alongside hope for the future. For these reasons you will often see them at weddings. Yellow roses represent joy and caring and are the color of friendship. Their meaning has changed dramatically over the years, as in Victorian times they were said to represent jealousy!

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