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Picked Flowers Are Dead

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"Listen, let me tell you, do not get her flowers. Okay? Because you know, [Phoebe] cries when they die, and there's the whole funeral..."
Monica to Gary, Friends, "The One with the Ball"

When you give someone flowers, you expect her to talk about how beautiful they are or how good they smell, not about how the poor flowers are dead or dying because you severed them from their roots. Yet, that's what's happening here. Maybe the recipient is some kind of Magical Native American, another Noble Savage or just very much Closer to Earth. Whatever the reason, they're feeling sorry for the poor flowers or even see them as something bad in a necromantic sort of way. If the complainer is a third party, they may criticize the receiver for enjoying the gift.


Comic Books

  • Poison Ivy of Batman is known to react this way. One notable example has her reacting to Harley being given a bouquet with panic as she rushes the flowers to be replanted like she's performing triage.
  • The EC Comics story "Gee, Dad... It's a Daisy!" (Shock SuspenStories #2): "Flowers and plants are alive! Just because they don't cry out doesn't mean they don't feel pain!" This leads to a Space Whale Aesop with Plant Aliens picking apart a human, heard playing "Loves me...loves me not" over their universal translator as it does so.
  • Rogue Trooper. In the "Remembrance Day" retelling of the Quartz Zone Massacre, Rogue finds a single flower that has somehow managed to bloom on Nu Earth. In picking it, he realises that he's killed it too. On cutting to Tor Cyan watching the history logs, we find that after the war finally ended, the blue flowers have flourished on Nu Earth.
  • The ghost Talia from Brody's Ghost has a conversation with Brody about a vase of flowers she saw in her actually her father's hospital room when she was still alive. She tearfully compares the flowers in a vase of water to human beings on life support, and wonders why anyone thinks that it will stop the flowers/person from dying.
  • In Runaways, Klara's Green Thumb powers only work on plants that are still connected to their roots. She gets particularly upset when people cut roses, as she can hear the roses speaking to her.


  • Ellen at the start of Nosferatu mourns the flowers which she receives from Hutter at the beginning.
  • In Alien Nation: Dark Horizon, one of the aliens is sick. Her human boyfriend brings a bouquet of flowers as he visits her in the hospital, but is not allowed to deliver them to her. His alien rival is allowed to deliver the potted plant, however. In the alien culture, dying flowers are seen as a bad omen when it comes to recovering health.


  • Roald Dahl:
    • In The BFG, the Big Friendly Giant comments that since he can hear the voices of plants, anytime somebody picks a flower he can hear the plant screaming as though somebody was having their arm twisted off. Sophie wonders whether she'll ever be able to pick flowers again.
    • In one of Dahl's short stories for adults, "The Sound Machine", the titular machine reveals to its inventor that plants make some kind of noise when they're cut, plucked, etc. Whether it's an expression of pain or not is unknown, but it's enough to severely unnerve the inventor.
  • In The Naked Sun, Gladia picks a flower and Elijah remarks that she killed it. Being a murder suspect, she angrily asks whether that's supposed to mean she can kill a human just as easily.In hindsight, this is rather prophetic.
  • In She Lover of Death, Columbina feeds the flowers that Fandorin gives her on their first Not-Date to a horse, saying that she has no need for "flower corpses".
  • In one of the Tales of the City books, Anna mentions that prostitutes consider cut flowers unlucky, as they are beauty cut down in their prime. This is foreshadowing of the revelation that Anna's mother was a madam, and she was raised in a brothel.

Live-Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "Out Of My Mind".
    Harmony: You know what it means that he can't hurt any living thing? It means he can't even pick flowers.
    Spike: What? Yes I can!
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Odo includes this in some early-season grumbling to Quark about how absurd the rituals of humanoid romance are, saying that writing bad poetry and "sacrificing plant life" are silly ways to entice a mate, which he doesn't see the point of in the first place.
  • In Stefan's second appearance in Family Matters, by Laura's request, Steve made him more sensitive and caring since in his first appearance, he was too self-centered and shallow. In one scene, Stefan ends up giving Laura a potted plant, explaining he couldn't bear to harm a flower by plucking it.
  • Friends:
    • "The One Where Rachel Quits": Free-spirited Phoebe gets sad when she realizes Joey sells Christmas trees. Joey tries to convince her it's their life purpose to make people happy at Christmas. She sort of accepts that but is horrified when she sees the older trees getting destroyed even before they're sold. Monica and Rachel's apartment then gets filled with all of the old Christmas trees from Joey's work. Phoebe is excited the trees are saved. Chandler snarks it's like Night of the Living Dead Christmas Trees.
      Joey: And I gotta go sell some Christmas trees.
      Phoebe: Have fun. Oh, wait, no, don’t! I forgot I am totally against that now.
      Joey: What? Me having a job?
      Phoebe: No, no, I am against innocent trees being cut down in their prime, and their, their corpses grotesquely dressed in like tinsel and twinkly lights. Hey, how do you sleep at night?
    • "The One with the Ball": Phoebe's boyfriend Gary wants to ask Phoebe to move in with him. The friends think it might be too soon, but he thinks it's the right step. Monica gets excited but advises him not to bring her flowers because Phoebe cries when they die.


  • Infinity's Row: Ren is always seeing the negative side of things, never trying to see the good in the world.

Video Games

  • In Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance during a Flashback Killia recalls when he picked a flower for Lieze. Lieze yelled at him saying that the flower was dead now, and not even Killia freezing the flower using Alma Ice Sculpture could help her mood in the slightest. The flower does serve a different narrative purpose after that; it reminds Killia of his biggest failure in Lieze's death.
  • In Quest for Glory V, you can give flowers to various ladies and eventually marry one of the four most prominent ones. One of them will feel sorry for the flowers, but giving them to her earns you romantic points anyway. She will use their seeds to make more living flowers.
  • Return to Zork features this with the appropriately-titled "bonding plant." If you pull the plant straight out of the ground, it instantly dies. The correct solution is to dig it up by the roots so that it likes you.

Visual Novels

  • Little Busters!: In Kurugaya's route, she describes an event from her childhood when she picked some beautiful flowers from the side of the road just because they looked pretty and was horrified and distressed later on when she realised that in doing so she had killed them.


  • This comic from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal explains the human ritual of flower-giving, as understood by aliens. Supposedly human males mutilate the hated plant-life to show off their prowess... and it goes downhill from there.
    What are "hippies"?
    The most violent humans in history.

Western Animation

  • A sympathetic Plant Person Aladdin: The Series villain of the week mentioned picking flowers and condemning them to a slow death in a vase as one of humanity's crimes against nature.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Buster and Babs Go Hawaii", when their plane lands, they're greeted by Shirley who puts flower necklaces on them and says, "Like, welcome to Hawaii. Enjoy these ultra-rare flowers that, like, died for you, you murderers!"