Smelliest bulbs - nominations

Jim McKenney
Fri, 27 Aug 2010 14:50:58 PDT
I’m about to spoil everyone’s fun: I don’t think the smelly aroids qualify
for the distinction of having smelly flowers. In fact, I’ll bet that very
few of you have ever even smelled an aroid flower. In the stinky ones I
grow, the smell is coming from the distal part of the spadix. You can easily
prove this by cutting off the distal part of the spadix and tossing it; then
what’s left of the inflorescence can be brought into the house with impunity
– even put on the dinner table. Of course the spoiled meat colors of the
spathe probably won’t improve anyone’s appetite. 


My nominee for a disgustingly smelly flower comes from the ranks of those
flowers which typically have a sweet, pleasant scent. These are particularly
offensive because one approaches them expecting goodness. A good example of
this is Paeonia ‘Coral Charm’ : its undeniable beauty lures the unsuspecting
supplicant in for a reward of reeking stale fish.   


At least with the aroids most people know what to expect. 


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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