Why do flowers smell?
From the unsavoury stink of the skunk cabbage to the seductive fragrance of sweet peas, some flowers discharge a cornucopia of scent molecules into the air. But while many of these fragrant compounds may be pleasing to the human nose, they’re not actually for the benefit of humans.
Floral scent signals have predominantly evolved to attract pollinating animals, and the type of pollinator relates to the type of fragrance emitted.
Plants that amplify their fragrance output during the day are primarily pollinated by bees or butterflies. Those that release their scent at night are pollinated by moths and bats.