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Traces of blossoms have been discovered in Neanderthal graves at Shanidar Cave in Iran. The Ancient Greeks planted narcissus and other flowers on graves. From this time onwards, the placing of freshly gathered flowers continues to figure prominently in cemetery landscapes. Chicago mobster funerals, for example, were notorious for their gradiose floral displays, the most prominent being those given by the rival gang leader responsible for the kill. Several cars were required to transport the offerings from church to graveside.

Expanding cities obliterated the fields where fresh flowers grew. An industry, which harvested nearby country meadows and brought the products to the market for sale to townspeople developed consequently. Communications advances such as the telephone, the teletype, and email led to the creation of local, national, and international networks of shops, each of which could deliver arrangements to the grave on behalf of distant relations, friends, and admirers.

As people sought to explain what they were doing and as marketers sought larger sales figures, a "language of flowers" was developed.