Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Flower Fragrance
Name: Lisa K.
Status: student
Age: 10
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001 


Question:
How do flowers get their smell?


Replies:
Two pages possibly helpful. Basically there are different chemicals produced by plants which make their fragrances.

http://www.icr.org/goodsci/bot-9709.htm

http://www.csa.com/crw/old/96perfumes2.html

Anthony R. Brach


Flowering plants produce volatile chemicals that evaporate into the air and produce their fragrance (pleasant or sometimes unpleasant -- at least to humans). Presumably, this is to attract pollenating insects, but this is not necessarily so, because we don't know that insects "smell" the same way humans, or even other animals, do.

You raise an interesting question that I don't have an answer for: "Why do humans find the fragrances of most flowers pleasing? What in our evolutionary process for both humans and for flowers makes this rather universal connection favorable to survival, assuming there is a connection." Hmmm--a very interesting subject for a research paper for you in your science class, or even a class project.

Vince Calder



Click here to return to the Botany Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory