Bulbs and Bouquets

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sat, 17 Jun 2006 10:27:11 PDT
The answer to the question of when flowers were first gathered by humans 
for ornament is archaeological, and as usual, we know only as far back as 
there are graphic depictions. These extend back into the early pharaonic 
period in Egypt, the Minoan culture of Crete, and at least 4000 years ago 
in China. Much earlier, the discovery of flower material in a Neandertal 
burial is often adduced as evidence that these early humans possessed what 
anthropologists call "mental culture," perhaps including death rituals and 
belief in an afterlife. In the Americas, flower ornament was common in the 
Mesoamerican culture area, especially among the Nahuatl (Aztecs), to whom 
we owe, for example, the cultivated dahlia.

Jane McGary
Northwestern Oregon, USA

At 10:14 AM 6/17/2006 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear Judy;
>         I agree with Kelly that the answers are more anthropological
>than horticultural. Even birds and lower primates are attracted to
>bright colors Maybe it is in the genome. I suspect some brightly
>colored flowers ended up in a pile in a cave or around a camp fire
>with the gathered bulbs and roots for dinner and set aside.

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