Plants that smell like citrus blossoms

Ventura_Coach(Z 11 CA)April 29, 2005

It's so hard to continue driving through an area that has citrus trees in blossom! Besides the dwarf varities of citrus fruit trees, what other plants and/or smaller trees give off a citrus blossom smell?



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risingpower1(Essex, UK)

Philadelphus, choisya ternata is supposed to, I don't think it smells of orange blossom.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 3:29AM
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Murreya paniculata or exotica would be perfect for your zone, blooms all year round, and smells very close to orange blossoms -- one common name is orange jessamine.

Pittosporum tobira, another mock orange, has a couple of dwarf cultivars and blooms in spring.

Finally, it's more apricot than orange, but you really should try an osmanthus fragrans or other osmanthus species.

All of these should do fine in you climate.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 8:26AM
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Aglaia odorata is similar too. Jasminum sambac also.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 11:10AM
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Telosoma cordata does.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 10:17PM
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Purgrass blossoms smell incredibility like lemon blossom scent. Let's
step outdoors and breathe in.........

Ankrara's Hobby Corner

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 11:09PM
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There is a plant in my mothers yard that when I was wrapping base support around and the next day my skin is "burned" and I had difficulty breathing, it has a definate citrus smell, small light purple flowers on the stalk my mother thought the name of the plant was a "gaslight" something..but I have not been able to find out to what extent the damage to my skin is.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:39PM
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Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)


Sounds like you rubbed up against a gas plant - Dictamnus albus var. purpureus. Some people do have allergic reactions to the leaves.
I've often wanted to grow it for its lemony scent however it takes a long time to establish and I'm always digging things up and moving them around (they resent root disturbance). :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Gas Plant

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:27PM
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Dear Coach,

I don't agree with all those reccomendations, but I do with some. Firstly, how about try a dwarf meyer lemon at home? These I find are the best citrus for fragrance.

Secondly, try Orange Jasmine (Murraya Panniculata) and Murraya exotica, Night blooming Jasmine(Cestrum diurnum) and Willow-leaved Jessamine (Cestrum Parquii). These all in descending order smell like orange blossom to me.

Choisya (Mexican Orange) Pittosporum tobira (Japanese mock orange) and Philadelphus hybrids (Mock Orange) have something, a note, of the scent of orange blossom, in descending order. The "orange blossoms" once worn in bride's hair were typically the large open flowers of choisya, or wax representations of choisya, not the small blossoms of true orange. They smell something like orange blossoms though, and so does Pittosporum. Philadelphus flowers merely look like Choysia. You could call them, mock-mock orange. You should know that some Philadelphus shrubs are scentless, including a 15 foot cascading bush thriving behind my house which I grew from seed - much to my shagrin. None smell particularly like orange _blossom_ to me. Many hybrids have a light refeshing floral scent. Philadelphus coronarius does smell like orange _fruit_, to an extent, but not lik orange blossom. It is very fragrant, and fruity. Philadelphus microphllus - which will do well where you live - smells like rich tropical fruit.

Other Jasmines do not smell like Orange blossom, but rather like Jasmine. Sambac, Grandiflorum, etc. smell just like Jasmine. They epitomize the scent. Jasminum tortosum smells like Jasmine, but like gardenia as well. Jasmine, Gardenia, Orange blossom, and cestrum are all what you could call "heavy" fragrances however, and in this way, they are similar. If you like one, you may very well like them all.

Matt Di Clemente

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 5:01PM
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Dear Ankraras,

Puregrass is a kind of astroturf, and you are an idiot.
Please keep your garbage off of here.

Dear Jim,

Thank-you for bringing up some of my favorite plants!
How do you grow all this in Brooklyn? You are just one of those amazing New York gardeners. Watch out for those female Chinese Alianthus trees your neighbors probably specialize in!

I agree with you. Osmanthus (Tea Olive) is pure apricot-plum. Could there be a little orange blossom yeast in Holly Osmanthus - I will have to smell and record this Fall.

Dear Kevin,

Aglaia (Chinese Pefume plant) and Murraya Panniculata where among my earliest horticultural successes as a boy in Middle School!

They were both sold interchangeably as "Jasmine" with no other identification and reccomended for "Low Light" according to the plant tags, and for about $1 in Shopright, and H&L Green back in the day. "Low Light" was all that excited me in that phase of my development, because they could live in the interior spaces of my bedroom (already packed with spider plants and wandering jews demanding window space), whearas my favorite fragrant plant - the eastern red cedar - much to my dissapointment could not. And they did survive on my desk and on the bookshelf above my bed, along with ivy, creeping fig, sanseveria, and surprisingly aloe vera, the aglaia much more adaptable in these adverse conditions than the murraya. (It would be a few years before I discovered "true Jasmine fragrance", a Jasmine Sambac plant - again purchased as a foliage plant, without knowlege of the fragrance - and its amazing scent quite by accident. I've always thought of writing a tacky song in the style of Billy Joel's "Oh, What a Night" about the experience.) Alas, H&L Green is closed, and to see the prices on Aglaia and Murraya charged by retailers such as Loggees, considering what stalwart plants they have always proved to me, makes my head swim.

But to return to the topic, Aglaia and Murraya are often confused, and not just because of the general incompetence of supermarket plant tags. Their foilage is very similar.
When I would put my plants out for the summer, they did indeed bloom. Aglaia liked the shade and bloomed with little yellow balls, that smelled of lemon. Murraya on the other hand would not do a thing until it recieved some sun. Then it would bloom with little white flowers like orange blossom, and smelling like them too.

The point is, I don't think Aglaia smells like orange blossom at all, but rather like perfumy lemon(fruit).

Moringa Olifera (Miracle Plant) also looks like these two and is sometimes confused with them. Unlike Murraya and Aglaia, it stages a Victorian death scene the very moment you suggest to bring it anywhere near the interior of a house. It has foliage like the supermarket "Jasmines" above, requires full, full sun, and has white flowers that are fragrant in their own way.

Best wishes, and Enjoy!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:27PM
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Dear Diane,
I posted a reply a little earlier, but it did not go through for some reason.

I agree with Robert. It sounds like your mom is fortunate to have a gas plant in her garden, as well as a great daughter to help her out in it.

Gas plants can cause skin irritation in certain sensitive individuals, as can Rue (Ruta vulgaris) and Brugmansia.
The later is potently toxic if ingested but some people experience irritation simply from working it. Primroses - of all things- can also cause irritation, but you have to handle dozens of plants for this to happen. This is more a problem for commercial growers than for home gardeners.
A tip for all these plants, (as well as poison ivy) is after exposure and irritation, stay well out of the sun for a day or two. UV rays make the entire situation worse.

Back to the topic though, Gas plant has a citrus peel smell, not an orange blossom fragrant. These are different.
Since you live in zone 4 (Yikes!) and aren't likely to be driving through blooming citrus groves very often, here is something for you to try. Approach the essential oil display at a health food store, and from the sample bottles, compare the scents of "Neroli" "Orange" "Lemon" and any other citrus fragrances that you like or are available. Neroli is the essence of orange blossom, whil the other citrus oils are essences of the fruit, or more specifically, the "zest" or peel. You will find that you have commited the distinct scents to memory after a few wiffs.

Enjoy, and be careful of those gas plants!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 12:36AM
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