Flowers bloom in myriad colors, shapes and sizes. These differences aren't only cosmetic. Flowers are plants' reproductive organs. Nature comes up with inventive ways ensuring the flower matures, bears seeds and further the species. One of these methods is a thin waxy covering, or cuticle, on leaves and flowers. Cuticle is a fatty acid that produced by the plant. These flowers have a waxy feel when touched.
Flowers with a waxy feel are commonly from extreme climates, such as tropical or desert locations. In the desert where water is scarce, the waxy coating helps flowers, such as the Saguaro cactus blossom (Carnegiea gigantea) or the datil yucca (Yucca baccata), retain water to withstand the high desert temperatures. These flowers tend to have a short lifespan.
Flowers found in tropical locations have no shortage of water, both in the ground and as humidity in the air. The waxy covering on these flowers such as anthuriums (Anthurium) or Heliconia collinsiana (Heliconiaceae) helps insulate them from absorbing too much water but maintains the passages of airflow. This offers the flower better resistance to fungus and rot, according to New Mexico State University.
Flowers with a waxy feel appear tropical or exotic. These flowers are typically highly fragrant, such as Erica denticulate, a flowering shrub that grows near the Western Cape in Africa, or the Saguaro cactus flower, Arizona's state flower. These flowers are also long-lived and are commonly used in bouquets. Plumeria (Plumeria rubra) flowers, native to the tropics, are used in leis, as they retain their shape and fragrance without water for long periods.
Even if you don't live in the tropics or the desert, you can enjoy these unique flowers. Anthuriums are commonly grown as houseplants. Although its spathelike flower is not fragrant, the deep-green leaves and waxy flower makes an attractive addition to the home. Plumeria is also grown as a houseplant, filling your home with its exquisite fragrance. Anthuriums prefer indirect, bright light and well-drained soil. Plumeria needs at least five hours of sunlight per day
- New Mexico State University; Waxy Covering on Leaves?; Oct. 12, 2002
- Oregon State University; Remove Spent Blossoms for More Flowers; Judy Scott
- 50 States.com: Arizona State Flower
- Plantzafrica: Erica denticulata
- Guide to Houseplants: Growing Plumeria: Care Tips for Fragipania Tree
- HawaiiTropicals.com: Anthurium Plant Care Instructions
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