This Is The Most Expensive Flower In The World

Flowers. Signs of spring. Signs of weddings. Signs of courting, too. Who among us hasn't tried to make a good impression by sending flowers as a thank-you to a business associate, or by bringing flowers to a first date, or to meeting that date's parents, or as an apology to that date ...

Flowers. Color and scent, a commonplace or an extreme rarity, depending on your geography. Cacti will bloom, but it's just not quite the same as a rose bush in full-on display. Portland, Oregon, styles itself The Rose City. Spokane, Washington, styles itself The Lilac City. There's an intentional community near Bloomington, Indiana, known as Dandelion Village.

So for whatever reason — to express profound sorrow, to incarnate contrition, to make that vital good first impression — maybe run-of-the-mill roses just won't do. "How lovely," the recipient might say. "These flowers must have cost a fortune!" And you, modestly, might admit, "You bet they did."

It takes a heap of crocus to fill a bowl like that

There are lots of nominees for "most expensive flower," and the ground shifts considerably in terms of when the petals are being estimated. Finances Online reminds us that tulip bulbs were absurdly over-valued in the 17th Century, with single bulbs going for as much as $5,700 during the frenzy. Today, the saffron crocus — $1,200-$1,500 per pound — ain't cheap. Saffron is used for seasoning and color in a number of cuisines, but it takes 80,000 flowers to produce just 500 grams of the spice. Orchids are well-known for being delicate in the extreme. Certainly toward the top of that particular group would be the Gold of Kinabalu Orchid — they're sold at around $6,000. Each. They're only found in one place on Earth: Malaysia's Kinabalu National Park.

Medium points out that roses are still highly valued, with a bouquet of Juliet Roses setting you back well over $100. On the other hand, the Shenzhen Nongke Orchid, which only blooms every five years, fell under the auction hammer a few years ago for nearly $200,000.

Everyone seems to agree that the most valuable flower doesn't have a price tag, because it can't be sold. As Tatler explains, the Kadupul of Sri Lanka is a rare cactus. How rare? It only blooms once per year, and only at night. It's dead by dawn — hence its nickname, "The Ghost Flower."

You just have to ask yourself: Do you want to make a good impression or not?