This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Thing To Do Today: bloom.

How are you?

Blooming, I hope!

bloom is a sort of lonely-hearts ad. A plant pays insects or birds or bats in nectar (which is stuff like runny honey) to introduce its pollen to other blooms.

Sometimes, even more cunningly, blooms lure insects in by dressing up as possible girlfriends. The bee orchid, for instance, looks, yes, rather like a bee. 

Sometimes a bloom will smell of something delicious to encourage visitors. Mind you, if you're a beetle this might well be rotting flesh.

Or sometimes a bloom will miss out the middle man and just eat the insect straight off.

Some blooms can be really bad news for people as well as insects. If algae bloom (algae don't have flowers, it just means there are so many of them they colour the water) then that's often a sign of pollution.

Oh, and while I'm here, Bloomsday is not a flower festival, but a celebration in Dublin on June 16th of the life and work of James Joyce. The hero of his book Ulysses was called Leopold Bloom.

Thing To Do Today But Not If You're An Alga - bloom.  This word is probably something to do with the Old Norse word blōm, which means flower. The Latin word flōs probably has something to do with it too.


  1. Recent studies indicate that some orchids not only look like the females of the species they are trying to attract, but smell like them too!
    This can attract males from quite a distance, who inadvertantly pick up pollen and transfer it to the next highly attractive orchid.

  2. See, there was I thinking 'bloom' was just a fancy word for flowers used only by florists and wedding planners! You live and learn!