According to the Talmud, the purpose of flowers, like spices,
was to offset the odor of a decaying body. The practice of sending flowers
to funerals was common among non-Jews, who kept their dead for longer periods
before burial. Jewish law demands immediate burial, at most within three
days. To encourage a distinction between the Jewish practice, and the
non-Jewish practice, flowers are not encouraged at funerals, but they are NOT
forbidden by Jewish law. In Israel today, placing flowers on graves,
particularly in military cemeteries, is considered acceptable.