On Mother’s Day, Find Out Where Those Flowers Came From

It may sound unappreciative to go Dutch when celebrating Mother’s Day. In reality, it’s hard to do otherwise. While picking up the check at brunch is compulsory, those flowers you bought have a good chance of coming from The Netherlands, also known as Holland (and whose people are Dutch—it’s confusing). No other country exports more flowers, with nearly half of the world’s cut floral goods originating in the small European country.

View World’s Flower Exporters in a full screen map

The 8 billion dollar industry is clearly centered in Holland’s 10,000 hectares of glasshouses. The country’s flower business is actually only one-third devoted to cut flowers, according to Holland.com. Other exports include seeds and bulbs.

Of the European flowers exported, The Netherlands is responsible for 90% of it. Other top European producers are Belgium-luxembourg and Italy.

After Europe, South America is the next-largest flower-exporting continent. In terms of countries, Colombia is a distant second to Holland, with about 16% of the world’s flower exports. Its neighbor, Ecuador comes in third, with just over 9%. Kenya and Ethiopia lead Africa, coming in at fourth and fifth respectively.

If you really want to get your mother something unique, try to find flowers from Guyana. Last on the list, the South American country exported just over $1,000 of flowers in 2012. It is one of 15 countries that export less than $5,000 worth annually.

The US is the largest importer of flowers, but not far behind are Germany and the United Kingdom. Surprisingly, The Netherlands comes in fourth, importing nearly 10% of the world’s flowers despite growing so many itself.

Perhaps Dutch mothers get tired of tulips, the official flower of The Netherlands.