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Telling Time with a Flower Clock

Yesterday someone pointed out to me a wonderful trait in a sunflower.

When the sun shines on it, over time the stem goes tall and the flower turns toward the sun.

Flowers can do amazing things.

Have you ever heard of the Flower Clock?

You know that certain flowers are dependable in their blooming at a certain time of the day.

Carl Linnaeus, the great botanist of the eighteenth century, gave the world the system of classification we use for plants, which is basically its name in the form of a particular genus and species .

That helps us make some sense of the plant world.

His son, also Carl Linnaeus, came up with idea of the Flower Clock.

Linnaeus even proposed a list of plants to use and gave the time of day for their opening. The list included dadelion, morning glory, and calendula.

With the clock we could tell time with flowers, which bloom at a particular time of the day.

According to Mary and John Gribbin in their book Flower Hunters, “The clock never materialized.”

It never worked the way Linnaeus had envisioned it, especially because the weather, latitude, and even season can throw off any specific and expected blooming time.

But that did not stop certain people from trying to create a flower clock.

Gibbin and Gibbin write, “Creating a flower clock is time consuming and difficult, but the idea became part of the Victorian vogue for creating more and more exotically creative floral displays.

“The idea of creating a flower clock became a cherished dream – one that they [gardeners during the Victorian era] were prepared to pay for and maintain.”

Brian G. Gardiner wrote an article called “Linneaus’ Floral Clock” in an anniversary edition of The Linnean (1987).

He said, “During the first half of the 19th century Botanic Gardens tried to construct floral clocks, but with no great success since many of the plants listed by Linnaeus do not flower at the same season.”

The dreams of flower lovers during the Victorian era had no boundaries. People were entralled with the idea of telling time with the blossom of a flower.

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