Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Home » Tongue-tied? Let the flowers do the talking!

Tongue-tied? Let the flowers do the talking!

Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Traditionally, 14th February – Saint Valentine’s Day – is the day when lovers bear their souls and declare their love for one another, often accompanied by gifts (‘inducements’, bribes…?) of flowers, chocolates, maybe even jewellery. However, such is the power of plants, oftentimes you can probably ‘get away’ with just flowers (after all, rose is an anagram of Eros…). Or so one might like to think (I suspect that the purveyors of cut flowers are probably keen to promote that idea at least…).

Nevertheless, such assumptions need to be tested to determine any veracity, which is what psychologist Nicolas Guéguen has done. In two experiments he showed that ‘women’s perception of male attractiveness and their potential mating behavior are positively affected by simple exposure to flowers’. So, would-be wooers, you can omit the chocolates, and you can forego the jewellery, but don’t forget the flowers. Otherwise your Valentine’s Day might be remembered for a rather different outcome (as one Mr Capone – allegedly(?) – can attest).

Nigel Chaffey

I am a Botanist and former Senior Lecturer in Botany at Bath Spa University (Bath, near Bristol, UK). As News Editor for the Annals of Botany I contributed the monthly Plant Cuttings column to that international plant science journal for almost 10 years. As a freelance plant science communicator I continue to share my Cuttingsesque items - and appraisals of books with a plant focus - with a plant-curious audience at Plant Cuttings [] (and formerly at Botany One []). In that guise my main goal is to inform (hopefully, in an educational, and entertaining way) others about plants and plant-people interactions, and thereby improve humankind's botanical literacy. I'm happy to be contacted to discuss potential writing - or talking - projects and opportunities.
[ORCID: 0000-0002-4231-9082]

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