Jul 16, 2005

Oh, Beauty !!


Flowers.. beautiful.. in different colors.. in different combo of colors.. Why? How?

It is a truly intriguing question.. well.. the world is full of lot of mysteries when you look deep and deep at the molecular level.. But, the color and beauty of flowers always amaze me.. For the sake of argument, let us not say “God made.. blah blah..” This is post is for those who think otherwise…

Color.. an easy concept but quite complicated fundamentally.. The flowers get the color due to some ‘pigments’ or, in simple terms, ‘dyes’ which absorb certain portion of sunlight so the remaining color is what we get to see. Now, the question is, how the plants, which are way low the food chain and supposedly less intelligent, create those astonishing colors..

Suppose I am a plant.. I want to spread out, so I want bees, insects, etc. to come and take the pollens from my reproductive organ, i.e. flower, and take it to some other flower.. How do I make them come to me? Fragrance is one way (which is another complicated matter, so let us leave it aside or for some other discussion), and the color is the other.. How do I know what the insects like? By accident, I saw a nearby plant producing a colorful flower (trying something new, according to Darwin’s theory), to which insects went in bunch so I got sad and decided to make them myself? Or, do I have to die a slow death and the ‘accidentally clever’ nearby plant would survive as the smartest? Is it the only plant from its family which made the beautiful flowers or did all of them who are in ‘hearing distance’ decided in a conference and implemented it? Oh man, I donno the answer so I deserve to die..!!

Ok.. so the nearby plant had some intelligence, and used its scientists in the chemical factory to come to board, draw a few structures, discussed which one will absorb in which region of the light and hence which color it would look, did a few trial-and error experiments inside to create some dyes and then waited for the bees? How did they know what the bees like? Any color, that’s why different plans have different colors in the world? Then how come different combo of color? Who taught to mix different dyes in different amounts at different parts of the flower? Most of all, can the plants ‘see’ what beautiful flowers they have made? Or, am I missing something?

22 comments:

Nitin said...

wow, just saw scores from Sri vs.WI. Vaas really sweeped up WestINdies top batting order.

GP said...

Yeah.. I was surprised to see the West Indies fighting with a terrible team.. but Vaas and Murali were too good for them in the second innings.. Another 3-0 route is what most likely expected..

tt_giant said...

flower patthi sollitu ennappa cricket pechu?? lol!!

GP: did you ever wonder how a previously unknown color would look like? 6 digit hex code produces a couple of million colors. what if there are "other" colors which we have not "seen"...
And how do you see it?

murali back in form!!!!!!

GP said...

Deepak.. quite an interesting question.. your 'couple of million colors' are due to the various permutation-combinations of the visible region of light between 400-700 nm.. right?

I dont think you look at any color and say "I havent seen it..". we would surely have difficulty in a) naming each color and b) differentiating between a few of them.. but, IMHO Nature has thrown at us with a whole lot of them that even though you wouldnt have seen the exact 6-digit coded color, you would have seen something very very similar to it..

tt_giant said...

some birds have almost 4 times sharper vision and can see UV light. So, they may be able to see more colors than humans. Check this interesting link: http://www.bio.bris.ac.uk/research/vision/4d.htm

*sigh* if only these birds can talk and describe what they see..

Nature is cruel, sometimes..

GP said...

Yes, Deepak.. the 'visible region' I talked about is only for the humans.. In addition to the birds that you mentioned, cats can see in the Infra-red.. so, the 'colors' that get expanded are numerous..

I wonder what kinds of 'colors' bats 'see' (or hear)..

about nature's cruelty, why, you are not satisfied with the 300 nm space given to you.. too less, huh?

tt_giant said...

apideennu illa.. podhuva sonnen..
hee hee..
maybe we will evolve to see and do these things..

Ram.C said...

If at all the Plants had known about their beautiful outputs, they would be floating in the sky. Something beyond their control is happening somewhere.. as in our human life...

வெங்கி / Venki said...

பூவைத் தேடி வண்டு அமரப்
பூ அறியும்
தன் வண்ணமும் வாசனையும்

GP said...

Ram, I agree with you..

வெங்கி,

அனுமான் பூவுக்கு
ஜாம்பவான் வண்டோ?

வெங்கி / Venki said...

I didnt get it. Could you please explain.

GP said...

அனுமானுடைய பெருமையை ஜாம்பவான் சொல்லி உணர்த்தியது போல வண்டு வந்து அமரத்தான் பூவுக்கும் தன்னுடைய வண்ணமும் வாசனையும் தெரிந்தது... உங்களுடைய கவிதைக்கு என்னுடைய பதில் கவிதை..

tt_giant said...

GP: just letting you know that I am adding your site to my list. hope its ok...

no obligations necessary for vice versa..:-)

GP said...

Thanks Deepak... I need to update my list too.. Hope to do so later this week.. Good Day..

Nitin said...

wow, first day of ashes,mc.grath amazing man. did you check out the scores GP? is Australia a machine or what? I always think Australia is in trouble, but they put up a fight that always favors them in the end.

GP said...

Yeah Nitin.. I watched the game till just before lunch.. when 5 wickets were lost before lunch, I thought it was a mistake by Ponting to go first on the first day Lords' pitch.. but McGrath made the Aus score look like a monsterous one.. The game is still very open.. Let us see what happens

Narayanan Venkitu said...

Wow..Wow...Very nice post..and very interesting points.

I used to wonder about this.

Since I don't know why..and how...I think it is 'GOD'.

GP said...

Thanks so much, Narayanan.. I too think there is someone.

susubala said...

Raju...very nice post on flowers. Lots of points which I think / wonder about....

Ofcourse, no one could get answer for what we think....

Raju said...

Sumi, thanks.. Ya.. many qns. will most probably never get answered..

Anonymous said...

What a great site » » »

John said...

Thank for article