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What plants do you ID by scent?

 
gardener
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Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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I walked the dog the other night on a local ATV trail and paused. Apple! I thought, as the smell hit me. Sure enough, looked up, and I was standing under a wild apple tree.

Labrador tea is the other one that gets me now and then. I will be walking or bushwhacking - smell labrador tea, and sure enough, be in a thicket of it. Sometimes raspberries, too.

I could probably be blindfolded in a forest of poplar and know it instantly. Birch too, sometimes maple.

Do you have any plants you identify by scent long before sight?
 
pollinator
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Ramsons of course, can't miss them. but also crow garlic, tansey, heather, bog myrtle. Most others have to be crushed to you're already on them before smelling them I find.
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Most of the herbs (mint/thyme family, garlic/onion family, celery/carrot family).
PawPaw leaves have a very memorable odor to it.
Ripe Grape have a wonder smell to it.
I love the smell of hardy kiwi blossom.
I can identify the smell of quite a few ripe fruits, but I am not good at identifying trees like maple/birch/etc.
 
pollinator
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Creosote bush. Especially after a rain.

Sagebrush.

Canyon ragweed.

Aspen (and cottonwood, and poplars in general, but aspen most of all).

Arizona Cypress.

Ponderosa pine.

Rosemary.

Any citrus when it's flowering.

Tomato plants.

 
pollinator
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Location: Chicago
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I would say I know the scent of most of my garden plants, and the common wild plants.

One that really stands out is alianthus the "tree of heaven."  It had a unique stink.  I can't say what it smells like except itself,  but it smells BAD.  There odor is very strong if you break through the skin at all when pulling up the seedlings, or if you step on one.
 
pollinator
Posts: 361
Location: Monticello Florida zone 8a
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Beautyberry and sweetgum.
 
pollinator
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Walnut leaves have a very distinct odor if you crush one.  To me they smell citrus-y.
 
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Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
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What an awesome question, Catie! You must have some keen senses!
I can't think of many myself yet, other than ground ivy, especially if someone has mowed recently. Maybe walnut too.
But I love this question and the inspiration to focus more on my sense of smell when relating to plants!
I often sense the presence of certain plants before I can see them. I can just feel that they are around. I don't know how, it seems like an energetic thing, but this makes me wonder if smell is part of the equation. I shall have to pay more attention to that. Yay for exploration and using all our senses to connect with the world around us!
 
gardener
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Pine trees, tulip poplar,  and persimmon all seem eager to announce themselves.  Running cedar moss.   Laurel bushes.

You made me think about tulip poplars which I haven't in years.  Good memories!
 
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Valerian. I can be on a hike & smell its funk from the next draw. Yarrow is another I can smell as I approach. Osha root, though I can't smell it before I dig it. I always use my nose to make sure it isn't one of its identical & poisonous cousins. Same with wild onions to distinguish from other lilies.
 
gardener
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Honeysuckles, Royal Pawlonia, paw-paw...
 
Catie George
gardener
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Rob Lineberger wrote:Pine trees, tulip poplar,  and persimmon all seem eager to announce themselves.  Running cedar moss.   Laurel bushes.

You made me think about tulip poplars which I haven't in years.  Good memories!



Funny you should mention memories. I have noticed that when I identify by smell, rather than sight, there are far more
memories attached. Place memories, usually.  An apple tree brings me back to my childhood yard, labrador tea ro a particular camp site I went to as a teen, etc. I dont have those same connotations when I identify by sight.

I am really enjoying seeing the wide variety of plants recognizable by smell here!!!
 
Mk Neal
pollinator
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Catie George wrote:

Funny you should mention memories. I have noticed that when I identify by smell, rather than sight, there are far more
memories attached. Place memories, usually.  An apple tree brings me back to my childhood yard, labrador tea ro a particular camp site I went to as a teen, etc. I dont have those same connotations when I identify by sight.



I heard a segment on radio about our sense of smell, they said smell was the earliest sense animals evolved, and that the part of our brain that processes smells is very near to our memory centers, but far from language centers, so that may be why smells evoke memories yet we have a hard time putting them into words.

NPR Science Friday July 17 2020
 
pollinator
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Male gingko trees.  Yukyukyuk.

I can take or leave black currants, but standing inside a bush picking them is like breathing in heaven.

I can smell lemon balm and lemon verbena from a distance, and even which one.
 
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Location: King William, VA
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Mk Neal wrote:I would say I know the scent of most of my garden plants, and the common wild plants.

One that really stands out is alianthus the "tree of heaven."  It had a unique stink.  I can't say what it smells like except itself,  but it smells BAD.  There odor is very strong if you break through the skin at all when pulling up the seedlings, or if you step on one.



When I saw the forum topic, I immediately thought of the many tree of heaven trees on my property that I am trying to eliminate!
 
Heather Olivia
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Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
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Sweetgrass.

Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense). These smell amazing, like super resinous hops with a hint of citrus. Too bad it seems like they've got invasive potential.
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