Fragrant shrub?

organic_bassetlvr(6/7)March 15, 2010

Hopefully someone could help me with a shrub, blooming now, in East Tennessee. It's very fragrant, blooms before it leafs out, white or ivory with long yellow-tipped stamens. the buds are slightly pink, bud from leaf axils (I think)The top three petals are joined and the bottom two curve back-well the top three curve back as well. I wish I had a camera! The flowers are 1/2 inch & occur in clusters of 2-4.The shrub was rather non-descript, maybe 4 feet high & 6 feet around.(I know this is the Carolina forum but ya'll are more active)I'd love to have one of these instead of "borrowing" a stem from the yard next to my pharmacy every year! Thanks in advance,


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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Sounds like a Daphne or perhaps a deciduous azalea but it's too early for them here. Daphnes are blooming now.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 5:56PM
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Tammy Kennedy

I think it's edgeworthia b/c it blooms when the leaves are gone. Daphne has leaves year round. They are related, BTW. Lovely plant.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 7:44PM
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Tammy Kennedy

another possibility is winter blooming honeysuckle, but at least here it has some leaves all winter.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 7:45PM
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The folks on Name that Plant sugested winter honeysuckle & although it does not match pics I checked exactly, that could be it. I dismissed Daphne because the pics showed leaves at the same time as blooms and also showed 4 petals (or sepals) & this has 5. I will look up edgeworthia-Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 8:07AM
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After checking more pics, it seems to be L fragrantissma. Edgeworthia has tubular flowers so that's not it. The winter honeysuckle is on TN invasive plant list-boo! Thanks again

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 8:26AM
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_Lonicera fragrantissima_, or "sweet-breath-of-spring," is an heirloom shrub, prized by generations of Southern gardeners. It is a shame for the State of Tennessee to label it invasive in Zones 7 or 8; for invasive it is not. Its small white flowers produce a heavenly scent; and, in Zone 7b, "sweet-breath-of-spring" is evergreen, or semi-evergreen. _Lonicera fragrantissima_ and _Jasminum nudiflorum_, "winter jasmine," are among my favorite winter-flowering plants. _Lonicera purpusii_ is a similar close relative of "sweet-breath-of-spring" that may be a little more floriferous than its cousin.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 10:42AM
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Sounds like a shrub that I discovered on an empty lot in our development. This is the orginal site of the farmhouse and also has lots of daffodils and iris planted nearby. The large shrub has many offshoots; some as far as 10-12 feet away. I could see it being invasive unless you like to cut off runners!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 3:11PM
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It is a shame for the State of Tennessee to label it invasive in Zones 7 or 8; for invasive it is not.

There are plants that are, for some reason, more invasive in Tennessee than others. I don't know if it is the slightly cooler winters that allow for better germination of some seeds or the warm summers that support vigorous growth - perhaps a toxic combination of both. Bush honeysuckle (like L.tatarica and L. maackii and L. morrowii) has infested parks in Nashville to almost the exclusion of other understory plants. Yet, we rarely find these plants in North Georgia, for example.

"heirloom" plant or not, if the authorities in TN (and I assume these are knowledgeable plant folks) declare this shrub to be invasive there, you gotta respect that. Either the plant is "not as invasive" in other locations, or the authorities in those locations have not bothered to categorize it (and that happens).

This is the first year that I have found this plant in the wild and recognized it because of the bloom and the fragrance. Another fragrant invader is Elaeagnus (several species) but that retains leaves in the winter and blooms in the summer - not likely to be mistaken for this one.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 4:12PM
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I didn't realize there were more replies. The particular plant I "borrowed" a piece from is not spreading-I've been looking at it for 10 years or more & there are no off shoots or seedlings. I also have not seen this bush in wooded areas like the well known invasives such as japanese honeysuckle or privet. It may be invasive further west like the Nashville area, I don't know. Sweet-breath-of-spring is certainly a great name for it! I'm going to do a bit more research & if I find it is not invasive in East TN I may see if I can take a cutting from the owner. Thanks for the replies,

    Bookmark   March 31, 2010 at 2:24PM
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