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In Episode #603 of Planet Money, it is claimed that giving roses is a recent phenomenon. They claim roses are popular due to their toughness (and the fact they bloom close to Valentine's Day)

Roses were the perfect choice' pretty much indestructible. We didn't just set up this global transportation chain in order to get this traditional flower, roses. We actually started to like roses because they were optimized for the global transportation chain. They were the flower that worked best with the planes and the boxes and the farms.

I tried to look for reasons why roses are popular, but none of them talk about the durability of roses at all.

tl;dr Is it true that roses' durability and toughness played in role in their modern popularity?

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    This seems like an unanswerable "motivations" question. I'm having trouble evidence that would conclusively prove or disprove the claim. In any case, the claim is in some sense trivially true: if roses were sufficiently fragile that it cost thousands of dollars to deliver a single intact flower, clearly they would be a lot less popular. Dec 31, 2015 at 2:30
  • @NateEldredge - easy. Find an expert who knows of (or themselves) tried to set up distribution for other flowers and found them worse than roses. I'm 100% sure a reference like that CAN be found.
    – user5341
    Dec 31, 2015 at 15:27
  • The same podcast also claim people used to give sweet violet (I'm guessing in America) before distribution really took off. Would it be easier find out why some flower are less popular?
    – user30467
    Dec 31, 2015 at 19:06
  • I am not sure that the claim can be boiled down to 'durability and toughness', especially when further specified as relating to transport - the cited claim sounds more like roses were the preferred flower (from the view of the producer, who undoubtedly would also have included some measure of aesthetics as they are interested in selling) wins on the weighted combination of all factors involved, , i.e. "the flower that worked best with the planes and the boxes and the farms"
    – bukwyrm
    Jul 7, 2023 at 13:21

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