Paeone post script

Robin Bell
Thu, 15 May 2008 17:32:30 PDT
	I was interested in Ian's comments as I like to garden at 
least partly for fragrance. However, I have come to the conclusion 
that this is such a subjective thing, that it is almost beyond 
comprehension: even for two people standing in front of the same 
plant. For example there isn't a fragrance that I can recall (in 
plants) that I think of as too sweet or sickly, yet many people do 
express this for some of my favorites. Not only that but we know that 
in the biosphere our sense of smell is close to nonexistent, compared 
to many mammals, birds, or even insects, & very individualistic. 
Certainly we are at, or close to, the bottom of the pack. That is why 
I am very suspicious of this as a criterion for plant I.D. unless 
it's based on machines such as gas chromatography. I find tree 
peonies to be more fragrant than herbaceous, which I mostly think of 
as having a vaguely unpleasant smell. I don't know whether a plants 
fragrance is modified by cultural conditions, but, considering how 
many other aspects are, it would be hard for me to believe that it is 
not. Surely, at least as likely to compound the issue is individual 
(human) variation. This is both the delight & the problem.
	Robin Bell, Ithaca, NY .

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