Artificial flowers are imitations of natural flowering plants used for commercial or residential decoration. They are sometimes made for scientific purposes (the collection of glass flowers at Harvard University, for example, illustrates the flora of the United States). Materials used in their manufacture have included painted linen and shavings of stained horn in ancient Egypt, gold and silver in ancient Rome, rice-paper in China, silkworm cocoons in Italy, colored feathers in South America, and wax and tinted shells. Modern techniques involve carved or formed soap, nylon netting stretched over wire frames, ground clay, and mass-produced injection plastic mouldings. Polyester has been the main material for manufacturing artificial flowers since the 1970s. Most artificial flowers in the market nowadays are made of polyester fabric.
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