Anthomancy, floriography or floromancy is divination by flowers or plants, including their colors, petals, time of planting, and where planted.
From Greek anthos, flower and manteia, ‘prophecy’.
A modern word referring to the practice of plucking petals of a flower uttering alternately “She/he loves me” for one petal, and “She/he loves me not” for the next. Whichever statement the last petal coincides with gives the answer. However, most flowers have an odd number of petals so the outcome will result from the start of the sequence. Another omen that has survived to modern times is the gathering of flowers at Midsummer’s Eve ; and the “good luck” commonly attributed to the finding of a four-leafed clover.
According to practitioners of floromancy, flowers are said to respond to a sympathetic or hostile environment and are affected by electric shocks. Professor Jagadish Chandra Bose of Calcutta’s Presidency College experimented with the effects of electrical currents on plants around the turn of the century and was convinced that plants possess a life-force or soul.
The most recent proponent of floromancy is American lie-detector specialist Cleve Backster, who wired three philodendrons to galvanometers on different occasions to see how the plants respond to nearby trauma. Backster monitored the plants as he placed a brine shrimp in boiling water nearby, resulting in its instant death. Backster’s galvanometer reading showed significantly higher electrical resistance when the brine shrimps were being killed, than on other occasions – suggesting that the plants were responding “emotionally” to the traumas occurring nearby. Unfortunately, attempts to reduplicate Backster’s experimental results have so far proved unsuccessful.
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