Flowers are in essence a plant's reproductive system. Mother Nature designed flowers to lure birds and insects to assist in pollination, using both color and scent. While nature's use for flowers may be specific, humans have found many other ways to use flowers. A specific flower's physical and chemical attributes helps determine the best way to use that flower type.
Flowers bring color and interest to a garden, making them ideal as ornamental landscape plants. Indoors, flowers make for classic centerpieces and room accents, displayed in vases and baskets. Flowers, both inside and out, help decorate our environment.
Just like jewelry, flowers are fashion accessories. Corsages, hairpieces and leis made from flowers accent bridal fashions and other festive outfits. Flowers accessorize events as well as those attending, such as weddings, funerals and parties.
Flowers are a suitable gift for all ages, genders and occasions. Given as tokens, condolences and in celebration, they also convey messages. In Victorian times, the Language of Flowers specified what message the sender intended in the flower selection. A dozen long-stem red roses, for example, conveyed romantic love.
Some flowers find their way into culinary dishes and as garnishes. In Hawaii, resorts typically garnish tropical drinks with miniature orchids. Edible flowers add color and texture to salads. While edible flowers appear exotic, the chef needs to proceed with caution, as there are many poisonous flower varieties, such as the azalea, lily and oleander.
Dried flowers, a craft supply staple, attractively embellishes countless craft projects. The flower preserved three-dimensionally suitably decorates hats, boxes or other projects. If flatten, dried flowers ideally decorate greeting cards, bookmarks or similar projects. Many flowers can be simply dried by hanging them upside down in a dry area, while other craft enthusiasts cover cut blossoms in a desiccant, such as silica gel, for drying.
The sweet scent of the rose, gardenia, lavender and other fragrant flowers helps make some perfumes, as well as adding scent to other products. A collection of loose, dry flower petals in a bowl, make a fragrant potpourri or filling for a sachet, providing the appropriate flowers are used, for not all flowers have a pleasant scent.
Throughout the centuries folk medicine used different flowers, such as the linden, brewed as tea to treat anxiety and indigestion ailments. According to the University of Maryland, medicinal use of flowers continues. Flowers used today in some medicines include the linden, lavender, dandelion and many others.