In modern times, people have sought ways to cultivate, buy, wear, or otherwise be around flowers and blooming plants, partly because of their agreeable appearance and smell. Around the world, people use flowers for a wide range of events and functions that, cumulatively, encompass one’s lifetime.
For new births or Christenings As a corsage or boutonniere to be worn at social functions or for holidays As tokens of love or esteem For wedding flowers for the bridal party, and decorations for the hall As brightening decorations within the home as a gift of remembrance for bon voyage parties, welcome home parties, and “thinking of you” gifts For funeral flowers and expressions of sympathy for the grieving For worshiping goddesses. in Hindu culture it is very common to bring flowers as a gift to temples. People therefore grow flowers around their homes, dedicate entire parts of their living space to flower gardens, pick wildflowers, or buy flowers from florists who depend on an entire network of commercial growers and shippers to support their trade.
Flowers provide less food than other major plants parts (seeds, fruits, roots, stems and leaves) but they provide several important foods and spices. Flower vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower and artichoke. The most expensive spice, saffron, consists of dried stigmas of a crocus. Other flower spices are cloves and capers. Hops flowers are used to flavor beer. Marigold flowers are fed to chickens to give their egg yolks a golden yellow color, which consumers find more desirable. Dandelion flowers are often made into wine. Bee Pollen, pollen collected from bees, is considered a health food by some people. Honey consists of bee-processed flower nectar and is often named for the type of flower, e.g. orange blossom honey, clover honey and tupelo honey.
Hundreds of fresh flowers are edible but few are widely marketed as food. They are often used to add color and flavor to salads. Squash flowers are dipped in breadcrumbs and fried. Edible flowers include nasturtium, chrysanthemum, carnation, cattail, honeysuckle, chicory, cornflower, Canna, and sunflower. Some edible flowers are sometimes candied such as daisy and rose (you may also come across a candied pansy).
Flowers can also be made into tisanes or “herbal teas”. Dried flowers such as chrysanthemum, rose, jasmine, camomile are infused into tea both for their fragrance and medical properties. Sometimes, they are also mixed with tea leaves for the added fragrance.
Flowers have been used since as far back as 50,000 years in funeral rituals. Many cultures do draw a connection between flowers and life and death, and because of their seasonal return flowers also suggest rebirth, which is the why many people place flowers upon graves. In ancient times the Greeks would place a crown of flowers on the head of the deceased as well as cover the tomb with wreaths and flower petals, rich and powerful women in ancient Egypt would wear floral headdresses and necklaces upon their death as representations of renewal and a joyful afterlife, and the Mexicans to this day use flowers prominently in their Day of the Dead celebrations in the same way that their Aztec ancestors did.
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