Lonestar Memories: Colombina on Perfumesmellingthings. (...)Lonestar Memories makes me want to escape the mundane confines of my everyday world(...)

Lonestar Memories: Katie on Scentzilla. (...) Lonestar Memories smells of the examined life. Inside there is joy, and there is tiny heartbreak, e xisting only in reverie. The scent unravels into the consideration of past experiences, and pinings for future joys and heartbreaks(...)

Lonestar Memories: Marlen Harrison's review on PerfumeCritic.com (...) If you're a lover of leather or richer wood fragrances, this is gonna be a holy grail scent and in that case, better get two bottles.(...)

Lonestar Memories: Cait Shortell's review on Legerdenez. (...) Do you appreciate scent because you identify with the scent and its image? Does a scent have the ability to create a memory outside one’s own experience?(...)

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Here’s a post for the biologists among you. Many, many years ago, when earth was still young and its surface was covered with rocks and mud and oceans full of single cellular life, when life was still primitive and consisted of bacteria only, back then life was very innocent. Happy organisms lived and just split themselves in half and multiplied without the joy and hassles of sex.
Well, we all know what happened since then. Earth has seen the rise of multi-cellular organisms, and concomitantly the advent of sexual reproduction, aiming at efficiently mix two individual gene pools to produce offspring with statistical 50% genes of each parent. Once invented, this new way of reproducing a part of oneself proofed highly efficient in evolutionary terms and resulted in greater variety and faster adaptation to changing ecosystems. As always in life, there was a price tag for this advantage to pay: Mortality.

As individuals we die in a sense because we gained the ability to produce children; bacteria on the other hand just multiply and produce copies that are undistinguishable from the original (in a first approximation at least, things get complicated once you look into the details…).
Now, with this price to pay it becomes quite obvious that sex is a serious business. As individual you must really make sure that you get a good chance to pass on your genes, otherwise your 50% genes will be provided by someone else….in humans, it is a multi billion dollar business, covering all aspects from the beautiful to the ugly.

In plants, it is the fight by all means to attract the right gene carriers, like bees and other helpful folks. Plants have chosen not to walk around, which safes a lot of energy and enabled them to live from solar energy alone, but consequently they face the challenge to meet each other in order to joyfully exchange genetic material. Some species have chosen an anonymous approach; others rely on helpful flying servants, transporting their genes from one place to the other. And again, nothing is for free in life, therefore our static plants have to produce nice calorie packages to go with their genes and invest heavily in marketing for themselves. Artful constructions, gleaming in all bandwidths of the light spectrum, are spreading scented messages, telling innocent bees and other folks that there’s an individual ready to pass on genes and face its own mortality.
Thus, in a sense, all these flower perfume messages are also messages of imminent death.


Blogger marlen said...

Hence, Flowerbomb, Poison, and Contradiction?

3:09 PM  
Blogger Anya said...

Eek. Andy. Wrong, well, more like incomplete information. The botanist in me is having palpatations right now, maybe the same way you would react if I tackled chemistry ;-)

Some comments:
Plants do move
Scent is one factor for pollination attraction
Pollination has nothing to do with senescense
Asexual plants can have aroma
Bacteria mutate (genetic selection)
Many fragrant flowers are self-pollinating

Ok, I'll stop there. Your theory of sex/death is but a tiny slice of the botanical pie.

6:30 AM  
Blogger andy said...

Dear Anya
Of course, this post of mine is not entirely correct. With my studies in molecular biology I am well aware of the fact that statistically no bacterium is identical to the other. Mutations happen at a high rate in bacteria (especially under stress conditions), higher than in eucaryotes, therefore the chances for bacteria acquiring mutations are also high.
Look at the post from a different perspective, if you like, making a point with the freedom to bend reality, to bring out a point that is clearer to see that way.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Anya said...

Hi Andy
Guess I had my literal hat on this morning! LOL

8:27 AM  
Anonymous Flora said...

Wow, I could see where you were going with that fairly early, a very intriguing line of thought! It's amazing what survival strategies plants have. Lucky for us that part of their arsenal is fragrance!

I remember once being present when a moonflower opened in the evening - it trembled and vibrated as the bud unfurled, fast enough to see, even almost too fast, it's easy to miss it when it happens. I realized then that plants are far more complex than most people think - they have their own way of experiencing the world.

10:51 PM  
Blogger andy said...

Dear Flora
thank you for your lovely comments... the moonflower opening that sounds wonderful.almost a little bit spooky. I guess you are very right; we tend to over-estimate ourselves and therefore underestimate the (sometimes just hidden or slow)the way of life of our beloved plants.

12:20 AM  

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