Why Do Flowers Have Different Colors and Smells?
A flower’s color and scent attract insects and birds to aid in the flower’s pollination. Flowers that attract bees and butterflies have a sweet smell. For example, a bee that smells a fragrant flower flies straight to it, looking for nectar to make honey.
In doing so, it helps spread the pollen for new flowers. Most bee flowers are blue or yellow. Flowers that are pollinated by flies are usually dull-colored and smell like rotting meat.
Birds have a poor sense of smell, but they are attracted to bright colors; bird flowers are usually red or orange. Bats prefer flowers with musty odors and some beetles like ones with strong, fruity fragrances.
The chemicals responsible for floral scents are called essential oils, which are produced in the petals of flowers. Combinations of these oils are responsible for the distinctive smells of blooms.
Did You Know? Breeding of flowers to improve traits like color and size, as well as the effects of pollution, has lead to a reduction in the scent of flowers, reducing the ability of flowers to attract pollinators.