Friday, September 30, 2005

Beautiful flowers losing their scent

"It seems that the breeding behind the huge variety of roses and other ornamental flowers now available has also inadvertently diminished the flowers' scents. In an excellent Science News article, Ivan Amato examines why today's ornamentals don't smell as good as they once did. He also discusses how flower scientists are looking at ways to resurrect lost scents and even engineer new ones. From the article:
"Pigment compounds are derived from the same biochemical precursors [as scent compounds are], so it makes sense that if you make more of one you get less of the other," notes floral-scent biochemist and geneticist Eran Pichersky of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Floral scent may be dwindling because breeders for the $30 billion ornamental-flower industry pay scant attention to this most emblematic attribute of flowers. "In order of [commercial] priority, color is number 1 through 10," says Alan Blowers, head of flower biotechnology for Ball Helix, a biotech company in West Chicago, Ill., devoted to the ornamental-plant industry. Beyond color, breeders have been targeting improvements in flower longevity, shape, size, disease resistance, and other traits likely to improve the growers' bottom lines.

Fragrance is different. It's invisible, and its sensory impression is as subjective as taste."

Link to Complete Article

"George Harrison: Surely isn't it like flowers? If somebody may prefer roses and somebody may like carnations better... Isn't it really a matter for the devotee, that one person may find Hare Krsna is more beneficial to his spiritual progress, and yet somebody else, some other mantra may be more beneficial? Isn't it like just a matter of taste? Like judging a flower. They're all flowers, but some people may like one better than the other.
Prabhupada: But still, there is distinction. The rose flower is considered better than simply a flower without any flavor.
Yoko Ono: In that case I can't...
Prabhupada: Just try to understand this flower example.
Yoko Ono: Yes.
Prabhupada: It is all right. You are attracted by some flower, I am attracted by some flower, but amongst the flowers there are distinctions. There are many flowers which has no flavor and many flower has flavor.
Yoko Ono: Is that flower that has flavor better than...
Prabhupada: So therefore attraction for any flower is not the solution of the question. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham [Bg. 4.11]. Krsna is Supreme Absolute. Anyone wants Him in any way, He also presents Himself in that way. Just like the same example. If you want a yellow flower, never mind whether there is any scent or any flavor or not, so that flower is there. It is for you. That's all. But if anyone wants rose flower, Krsna gives him rose flower. But when you make a comparative study which one is better, then rose will be considered better. (chuckling)"

Room Conversation With John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison -- September 11, 1969, London, At Tittenhurst

(I will be gone a couple of days so no use checking back in until Monday.)


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