Technically, flowers are the structures certain types of plants use to reproduce. Flowering plants of the angiosperm, or Magnoliophyta, division create what we generically refer to as "flowers," in fact. These blooms, or blossoms, give us some of the most colourful, beautiful plants in the world. Currently, about 270,000 different flower species exist, including roses, tulips and chrysanthemums as well as various types of carnivorous flowering plants.
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Possibly the single most popular flower species in the world, roses are estimated to date back nearly 200 million years. In recorded history, cultivation is thought to have first taken place in Asia about 5,000 years ago. It's a perennial plant, meaning it lives for more than two years. There are more than 100 separate species, including red, dark purple and pure white varieties. It's also used in perfumes and even in holistic medicinal supplements.
Like roses, tulips are perennial plants. They're bulbous, meaning they have short stems and fleshy, showy leaves as their flowers. The bulb serves as the base for a tulip's colourful leaves, though it's also where a tulip stores food reserves. This enables the plant to survive under adverse conditions for quite some time. At least 109 separate species exist. It first originated in ancient Persia and in times of famine has even served as a survival foodstuff.
Chrysanthemums were first exhibited in Great Britain back in 1795. Prior to that, they'd been cultivated for more than 2,500 years in China. The Japanese particularly appreciate chrysanthemums, to the point of naming the throne their emperor sits on after the flower. Perennials as well, 30 species have currently been identified. Two basic types are particularly favoured by gardeners: Garden Hardy and Exhibition. Hardy types are often able to bloom wildly with little outside assistance.
The pitcher plant produces rose pink to dark red flower petals. These petals sit solitary on a leafless stem, and serve to attract pollinating insects. When they alight, the nectar trails released by the plant leads them to a curved area which is filled with downward-pointing fine hairs. The insects are unable to crawl back out and are soon overwhelmed by digestive processes. Pitcher plants are found in many areas in North America.
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