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.