White Fragrant Himalayan Champaca

No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)May 7, 2013

Hi all,

I normally frequent the Plumeria Forum but really should be here more since I'm all about fragrance! I recently added on some roses (mostly David Austins since they have the most scent) and gardenias. Anyway, I was looking for an Evergreen tree with a nice fragrance but since every other person on our street has a Magnolia tree, I decided to be different.

Went to our local Armstrong and as I was walking by this one section my nose picked up this amazing scent. It was so familiar I wanted to weep. This scent reminds me of my wonderful childhood and suddenly I was flooded with all kind of emotions. I continued sniffing and the sale person said "There are no flowers here, maybe you are smelling the gardenias on the next row". And I said no this is different... this is my childhood... I must find it. Then I reached 5 of these
Michelia champaca 'Alba' trees but all we saw were leaves and some buds. I kept on looking and sure enough one bud hiding behind some leaves was about to open. The scent was heavenly! I just knew they (Yep I bought TWO) had to come home with me.

I am planning to put one in the front yard which gets full sun from 12 noon to sunset. The back yard gets morning sun. So we shall see which location is best for this tree.

Anyway, I don't know what this tree is but this has to be the MOST fragrant tree/flowers I have ever smelled. As much as I love the roses, gardenias, jasmines and plumerias... nothing even come close this this! Just one little flower and my whole kitchen smells wonderful. I'm in love!!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Dang you, No-Clue! First you tempt me on the plumie forum and now on my stomping ground the fragrant forum! Laugh.

Welcome to my favorite forum!

So many people on this forum keep talking about Michelia alba. I guess one of these days I'll just have to break down and order one on eBay.

You said the scent reminds you of your childhood. Did you smell any growing up or does it just happen to remind you of scents you recall from your youth?

Ugh. Tempted to order one right now! I occasionally hit our local Asian market but never see any (I know some cities like Dallas you can find them in spring). :)


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 2:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

Oh, yea. Did you see the article about M. alba under the FAQ section? You might find some helpful info. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: M. alba info

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kemistry(8 - Oregon)

I remember around 3 years ago my friend brought home an michelia alba from california. It had 1 flower on it. That was my first time sniffing a michelia alba and I remember I kept going back to the flower to smell it.

Michelia alba sure has an awesome scent. I love how fragrance brings back memories, too. : )

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 5:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

LOL @ Robert! Fancy finding you here! I see that your obsession (I mean passion) for all fragrant plants are still going strong. ;)

Ok so check this out... that one tiny almost opened blossom I picked off the tree and left in my kitchen, well as I said before it filled the room with sweetness. When DH came home... he was like "I closed all the windows why then do I still smell your flowers?" LOL... this is a man who couldn't tell a rose from a plumeria before he met me and now he's noticing fragrances! So as the night progressed... every so often he would look at me and updated me on the fact that he still could smell the sweet fragrance permeated in the air. My reply... I'm going back to buy another tree today! Granted these are HUGE trees, can grow to 25-30 ft BUT they are slow grower so I'm hoping to enjoy them until they get too big. I'll deal with that day when it comes. :)

Now to answer your question... for the first 12 years of my life I grew up in Southeast Asia... before moving back to the East Coast in the States. So my childhood was filled w/ adventures, tropical plants and exotic fruits. You know how much I love my Plumeria babies... but I must say if I can only keep ONE plant, then without a doubt it will be my M. Alba.

Thank you for the link... I will study it carefully. Luckily for me it's not hard to find M. Alba where I am.

Now what else do you like that you can recommend to me? Let's hear it. :)

Kemistry - glad to hear you had a chance to smell M. Alba! For some strange reasons, great scent make me very happy!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

So glad you're visiting this forum! Laura drops by every now and again and it's always a pleasure to see my plumie friends on the forum I love most due to my obsession (yes, you nailed it on the head!). ;)

Just to let you know my M. alba is on its way. Got it off eBay and yea, it was expensive but the deed is done. Laugh.

So now I know why you know so much about fragrant plants from having lived in Southeast Asia!
I think you should be giving us suggestions but here is just a small sampling of some other fragrant plants you might consider:

Hedychium coronarium (White Butterfly Ginger)
Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang tree)
Artabotrys hexapetalus (Ylang Ylang vine)
Jasminum sambac âÂÂBelle of Indiaâ (my favorite sambac jasmine)
Jasminum molle (jasmine from Northern Australia with a powerfully strong scent which some friends have said smells like a grandma)
Aglaia odorata (Chinese Perfume Plant a delicate scent but definitely one of my favs)
Cymbidium ensifolium (Chinese orchid)
Philadelphus âÂÂSnow White Sensationâ (re-blooming Mock Orange)
Viburnum carlesii
Brugmansia âÂÂCharles Grimaldiâ (Angel Trumpet)
Brunfelsia gigantea
Brunfelsia jamaicensis (Kemistry's fav brunfelsia. He says it has a mango like scent?)
Telosma cordata (Chinese Violet)
Osmanthus fragrans âÂÂFudingzhuâ (Sweet Olive)
Mandevilla laxa (Chilean Jasmine)

I'm sure I could go on and on and hopefully others will chime in. :)


Oh, and Polianthes tuberosa (Single Mexican Tuberose)!

This post was edited by robert1971 on Wed, May 8, 13 at 16:21

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 2:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Robert i can not believe you have not got a Michelia Alba what is the world coming to :P

Hi No-Clue and welcome :) if you like Michelia alba i would also suggest Michelia Champaca and Michelia Figo there are so many Michelias but i think they are the best 3 :)
For sheer strength of fragrance i would get a cestrum nocturnum and of course there are many many wonderful orchids i could list them but i would be here all night :) and i would agree with Robert Osmanthus fragrans is a must

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)


Ha! I know...I know. I finally succumbed to peer pressure and ordered one.
Kemistry said it was about time. Laugh.

Totally agree that the list for must have fragrant plants would take years to complete. ;)


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Finally had a chance to take some photos of my M. Albas! We are almost done w/ the yard except for the mulching... I'm still undecided at this point in regard to what to use as a mulch. So please ignore the mess! :(

Here is M. Alba #1

Closer shot of the same tree. She got well over 50 buds and has been blooming since I got her two weeks ago.

She has some sunburnt leaves and the wind ripped off some of her leaves as well. But it has not stopped her from growing more buds and new leaves so I'm hoping in time she will get used to her new home.

Another shot of M. Alba #1. :)

M. Alba #2 is planted on the opposite of end of the corner yard.

Here's a closer shot of her.

Like her sister she also got a few burnt leaves. I'm hoping this will stop once she's used to being out in the morning sun. Otherwise we'll be in for a long summer!

More of M. Alba #2.

Last but not least M. Alba #3. I'm keeping her in the pot for now to compare how she will do the the two in the ground.

Here is another shot of her with a lot of buds!

Close up of the flowers. :)

Using my Plumeria Lei Vase. Just 8 flowers are enough to fill the room with this heavenly fragrance!!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 1:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)

So jealous of all your blooms!
Can't wait until my flowers.

Thank you for sharing photos with us!
Congrats on all your lovelies. :)


    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

so so lucky just to be able to grow them out side :) beautiful plants as well

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
No-Clue(So Cal Zone 9)

Thank you! We shall see how these beauties do this summer. I only have so much space in the back yard w/ morning sun. I had to give up over 30 plumerias to make room and still once the plumies wake up and fill in their leaves it will look like a jungle back there! LOL.

I forgot to shoot photos of the M. Champaca I planted in the front of the house. Ironically, she's looks really good considering she's in full sun from 11am until sunset! And our afternoon sun is brutal! Plus she got no house or wall to shield her from the sun... yet she looks pretty good in spite of these less than ideal conditions. However, she has not shown any signs of buds... so finger crossed that she will this summer. I need to compare the two Alba vs. Champaca. :)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:17PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Petunia 'Cottage Queen'
Has anyone ever sniffed this petunia? I noticed it...
Robert (zone 7a, Oklahoma)
Hamamelis mollis
I have a new spot under a huge cedar that has been...
Maggie (Vancouver, BC 8a)
Osmanthus fragrans 'Fudingzhu'
I bought three large plants because I read about their...
Blooming in February! We are late!!!
It is almost spring, why hasn't a thread on Blooming...
Blooming in January!
Happy New Year everyone! Narcissus tazetta - Chinese...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™