En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
6 ratings

Saturday - July 14, 2007

From: boston, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Percentage of worlds flowers of each color
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

What percentage of the world's flowers are blue? red? white? yellow?

ANSWER:

Your question was thought-provoking. The simple answer is that there is no simple answer to your question. The reason why your question cannot be answered precisely is that there are too many variables involved that are undefined by the question itself. For example, there are actually few flowers that bear truly blue flowers. Most flowers considered to be blue are actually some shade of purple or lavender. Likewise, many pink, purple or maroon flowers are often said to be red -- not by everyone, mind you, but by some. So red for me may not be red for you. Some flowers may be blue to some and red to others. There are yellowish shades of white and whitish shades of yellow; all are open to interpretation. Many flowers are multi-colored. Some species feature flowers that change in color as they age. Other plants bear flowers of different colors on the same plant.

There is a more practical reason your question can't be answered, though. No one has surveyed all of the world's flowers. All of the world's plant species haven't even been discovered and named yet. Further, flower color statistics have not compiled anywhere for the majority of the earth's plant species. We know of no central repository of flower color information. Even our own database, which focuses solely on the plant species native to North America, is a work in progress and lacks flower color data for many of our own species.

You didn't ask, but there are other very common flower colors in nature. Green may actually be the most common flower color. There are many plants, including most trees, that bear flowers mostly green in color. Likewise, brown and shades of brown are not uncommon colors. Pink and various shades of pink are very common.

If we had to rank the four colors you asked about in order from most common to least, we would guess -- and we emphasize guess, here -- that they would line up like this: 1. white, 2. yellow, 3. blue, 4. red.

 

More General Botany Questions

Smarty Plants on Wildflowerology
July 08, 2005 - I know there is a word for everything, but I can't find the offical word for the study of wildflowers. Wildflowerology just doesn't sound right. Can you help?
view the full question and answer

Student research on fire-resistance plant labels from Garden Ridge TX
November 13, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I'm a 4th grader at Garden Ridge Elementary in Comal County. I am researching fire resistant plants. Can you please tell me if most plants' tags say whether they are fire r...
view the full question and answer

Variation in leaves for Vitis mustangensis
May 17, 2012 - Hi, I am doing a sculpture of a mustang grape vine in limestone. In seeking a good leaf image I notice that there are both roundish shaped leaves and highly divided or "fingered" shapes on your sit...
view the full question and answer

Weak stems on asters and ironweed from Woodbridge ON
June 06, 2012 - My question is in regards to plants flopping over. My smooth asters and ironweeds never seem to have strong stems. Is because the soil is too fertile or maybe too shallow?
view the full question and answer

Water-saving strategies of drought-tolerant plants
April 04, 2014 - Although "drought tolerant" plants are fairly well documented, it's clear that many different strategies are responsible, such as a huge root system (like Mesquite). I'm interested in learning the...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center