flower scoop: flowers are loosing their scent

save the american honey bee by brittany burton

Welcome to flower scoop, a new blog segment where I dish out interesting facts, studies and tips about, well... flowers :)

first up: flowers scents, bees and pollution

A study done by University of Virginia indicates that the natural scent of flowers is diminishing due to air pollution from sources such as power plants and cars. What a shame! Not only is the pollution affecting the scent of flowers, but it is also affecting wild bee populations, particularly the honey bee. Bees follow flower scent trails to pollinate. They are having a difficult time following flower trails as pollution scents are mixing with floral aromas and causing potent floral scents to dissipate.

The study appears online in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

"The scent molecules produced by flowers in a less polluted environment, such as in the 1800s, could travel for roughly 1,000 to 1,200 meters; but in today's polluted environment downwind of major cites, they may travel only 200 to 300 meters," said Jose D. Fuentes, a professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and a co-author of the study. "This makes it increasingly difficult for pollinators to locate the flowers."

Other studies have shown that the population of bees and butterflies have diminished greatly in recent years around the world and in places like California and the Netherlands. "Fuentes and his team of U.Va. researchers believe that air pollution, especially during the peak period of summer, may be a factor."

"It quickly became apparent that air pollution destroys the aroma of flowers, by as much as 90 percent from periods before automobiles and heavy industry," Fuentes said. "And the more air pollution there is in a region, the greater the destruction of the flower scents."

Looks like we may need to get a little closer when stopping to smell the roses.

uv article


  1. Interesting article!

    It really shows the harm that we've done to our Earth by polluting it and littering it. Just thinking about it makes me sad. :(

    Now I'll really stop and smell the roses...

  2. i know, it makes me sad also. we are destroying it!!


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