Is a flower biodegradable? (7 uses of flowers by humans).

This article shall answer the question of the biodegradability of flowers.

Other areas which shall be covered include:

  • Parts of a flower.
  • Applications of flowers.
  • Classification of flowers.
  • Flower pigments.
  • Eco-friendliness of flowers.

Is a flower biodegradable?

Yes, flowers are biodegradable because they are naturally occurring organic substances.

When a flower dies, its body structure begins to be worked on by the microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi.

The bacteria and fungi break down dead flowers to produce small biomass which is nontoxic to the environment.

What is biodegradation?

Biodegradation is the process by which naturally occurring organic materials are broken down by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi into small particles which are not harmful to the environment.

Biodegradation is carried out by different agents such as UV radiation, light, wind, and water but the most effective agents of biodegradation are bacteria and fungi.

Biodegradation occurs in three distinct stages: biodeterioration, bio-fragmentation, and assimilation.

The biodeterioration process loosens up the structure of the organic substance. For instance, the cell wall of plants is weakened by light, wind, water, and UV radiation.

Bio-fragmentation involves the breakdown of organic matter into smaller, nontoxic particles by bacteria and fungi, releasing water and carbon dioxide in the process.

Assimilation is the last stage of biodegradation and it involves the microorganisms taking up the products of bio-fragmentation into their biological machinery to be used to make energy.

Biodegradation can either involve the microorganisms using oxygen, aerobic biodegradation or it can involve the microorganisms which do not use oxygen, anaerobic biodegradation.

Aerobic biodegradation breaks down organic matter into small biomass, producing carbon dioxide and water.

Anaerobic biodegradation breaks down organic matter into small biomass and in the process carbon dioxide and methane gases are produced.

Aerobic biodegradation occurs at a faster rate than anaerobic biodegradation whereas anaerobic respiration is more efficient and produces more gases and other products.

What is a flower?

The flower is the reproductive structure of plants. The flower is also called a bloom or a blossom.

The classification of plants categorizes plants into 2 main classes depending on whether they are flowering or not:

  • Angiospermatophyta: Plants in the class angiospermatophyta produce flowers during the reproduction age. 

Plants in this class are referred to as angiosperms or simply as flowering plants.

Plants in this class produce seeds enclosed in a structure called fruit.

  • Gymnospermatophyta: Plants in this class do not produce flowers in their reproductive process. 

Plants in this category do not produce fruits, but instead, their seeds are produced in a naked structure.

A Flower is a very vital structure in the reproductive system of a plant. Fruit-producing plants must have a flower for fruit to develop.

A complete flower contains the following parts:

  • Anthers.
  • Stigma.
  • Filaments.
  • Styles.
  • Petal/Corolla.
  • Sepals/calyx.
  • Ovary.
  • Ovules.
  • Receptacle.
  • Pedicel

Anthers.

This is part of the flower that produces the male gametes called the pollen grains. It is to flower as testes are to mammals.

Stigma.

The stigma is part of the female reproductive system of the flower. The stigma is sticky and funnel-shaped to accommodate enough pollen grains from the anthers.

Style.

This is a tube-like structure that runs from the stigma to the ovary. It is the passageway for the pollen grains from the stigma to the ovary.

Filament.

A filament is a structure that supports the anthers. The filaments vary in height depending on the type of plant pollination.

Wind pollinated flowers have longer filaments as compared to self-pollinated flowers.

Petal.

The Petal is also called the Corolla. It is the vegetative part of the flower that contains conspicuous colors. It covers other parts of the flowers.

The petal contains colors that attract animals or insects that aid in pollination.

Sepals.

Sepals are also called the calyx. These are modified leaves that cover and protect the flower in its early stage of development; budding.

The sepals usually shed off after the flower has fully developed.

Ovary.

The ovary is a reproductive structure found at the bottom of the stigma. It is a round structure that harbors the ovules.

The pollen grains enter the ovary from the style of the stigma and fertilize the ovules within the ovary.

Upon fertilization of ovules, the ovary matures into a fruit and the ovules into seeds.

Ovules.

The ovules are structures within the ovary of a flower. When fertilization is over and the ovary develops into a fruit, the ovules develop into seeds.

Receptacle.

In the non-flowering plants, the ovules are found in an open structure; not in fruit.

Receptacle.

This is the thickened and swollen part of a stem that forms the flower organs.

It is also called the thalamus or torus.

Pedicel.

A pedicel is a stalk that holds the flower to the stem.

Flower parts can be subdivided into two main categories called the stamen and the pistil.

The stamen is the male part of the flower. It includes the pollen-producing parts such as the anthers and the filaments.

The pistil is the female part of a flower. It includes pollen accepting structures and the ovule producing structures such as the stigma, which accepts the pollen from anthers, the style that transports the pollen to the ovary, the ovary that produces the ovules, and the ovules that get fertilized by the pollen.

What are flower pigments?

Flower pigments are the different colors that are found in flowers.

The different pigments are formed by chemicals called flavonoids and carotenoids. The flavonoid used in flower pigmentation are anthocyanins

Anthocyanins are responsible for creating blue, red, pink, and purple colors in flowers.

The anthocyanins used in flower pigmentation include pelargonidin, cyanidin, and delphinidin.

Delphinidin pigments form violet and blue colors, pelargonidin forms the orange color, and cyanidin forms the red color.

Carotene is the class of carotenoids used to make red and yellow flowers.

Chlorophyll is another chemical that is used to make the green color in sepal, petals, and leaves. The chlorophyll pigment is also responsible for absorbing light used by plants for photosynthesis.

What are flower fertilization and pollination?

For the flower to fully develop and form seeds and fruits, pollination and fertilization processes have to occur.

The ovule is the most important part of the flower because they form seeds, which are a sign of continuation for that particular plant. If seeds are not formed, the plant will have no next generations.

The terms pollination and fertilization are usually interchanged in context since most people do not know the difference.

Pollination.

Pollination is the process through which pollen grains from the anthers are transferred to the stigma.

The pollination process can be within a single flower and this is called self-pollination. 

Pollination can also involve pollen grains moving from the anthers of one flower to the stigma of another flower in the same plant or another different plant. This is called cross-pollination.

Agents of pollination are wind and animals that help in transferring pollen from anthers to the stigma.

Fertilization.

Flower fertilization is the process by which a pollen grain fuses with the egg cells in the ovary to form a mature ovary and ovules.

So it’s clear that the pollination process is the first stage of fertilization. If pollination doesn’t happen, there will be no fertilization.

What are the uses of flowers by humans?

Apart from the function of fertilization in plants, flowers have also been exploited by humans in the following ways:

  • They are given to people as tokens of love.
  • They are worn at social functions or holidays.
  • They are given to newborns; for christenings.
  • Flowers are used at weddings for decorations.
  • Flowers are also used at home for decorations in the house or gardens and compounds.
  • Flowers are used in funerals as a sign of grieving.
  • Flowers are used in churches and temples for decorations and as a way of worship.
  • Flowers are used as a source of nectar for bees in bee-keeping farms; nectar is used by bees to make honey.

Are flowers eco-friendly?

Yes, flowers are eco-friendly because when they die, they degrade into non-toxic molecules and therefore do not pollute the environment.

According to a study, most of what we consume comes from flowers.

Their decomposition enriches the soils with nutrients and therefore plants become healthy.

Flowers make our environment attractive. A walk in a flower garden will brighten your day.

Conclusion.

This article has answered the question of the biodegradability of flowers.

It has also covered other areas such as:

  • Categories of plants.
  • Parts of a flower.
  • Pollination and fertilization.
  • Flower pigments.
  • Uses of flowers by humans.
  • Eco-friendliness of flowers.

For any questions or comments please use the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): is flower biodegradable?

Can flowers be used in compost?

Yes, flowers are biodegradable and can be used in compost. They degrade to release minerals that shall enrich the compost.

Are roses sustainable?

Yes, roses are sustainable when they are grown in warmer climates. Greenhouses can be used to plant roses in cold areas.

Do petals decompose?

Yes, flowers will completely decompose and produce nitrogen which is essential for plant growth.

Citations.

Stephanie Osmanski ( May 8, 2020). Are Flowers Sustainable?

Retrieved from:

https://www.greenmatters.com/p/are-flowers-sustainable#:~:text=They%20provide%20beauty%20as%20well,of%20their%20lives%2C%20biodegrading%20naturally.

Sattler, R. & Jeune, B. (1992). “Multivariate analysis confirms the continuum view of plant form”. Annals of Botany. 69 (3): 249–262. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.aob.a088338.

Eduardo Narbona, José Carlos del Valle, Montserrat Arista, María Luisa Buide, Pedro Luis Ortiz. (October 5, 2021). Major Flower Pigments Originate Different Colour Signals to Pollinators.

Retrieved from:

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2021.743850/full

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