Intensely fragrant 'wild' tree (?) can't find it!

linnea2(z5 NY)May 21, 2005

Every mid-May, something flowers in a small strip of "wild" woodland

on my property. The wafts of intense, sweet, tropical, heady fragrance

follows me for several hundred feet of driveway. It lasts about a week-10 days.

It reminds me of my Burkwood Viburnum, but is much stronger and more pervasive.

Every year I wade into the brambles, honeysuckle shrubs

(non-fragrant) and

grape vines to find the elusive benefactor, finding nothing but Maples,

Sumac, Poke cherry and the afore-mentioned ubiquitous Honeysuckle shrubs.

I can't even see anything but the latter in flower!

What IS this? Some kind of Locust? Swamp lily (do we even get those?)

Any suggestions?

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nygardener(z6 New York)
    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 11:49PM
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linnea2(z5 NY)

Hi Bill, just got my laptop back from the clinic. Thanks for the link.
I looked up the Linden or Basswood, I want one! They appear to be
fairly rare.

I went in again today, scent still lingering, a bit more pungent.
It's only about 90' wide by 400' long with a wide swath cut out
for power lines. I can't find anything but the Maples, poke cherries and Sumac.

Black Locust and Basswood both have pretty distinctive bark, no helpful
cloud of bees, I'm about beat. I'm grateful it's there, I'd just
love to know what it is!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2005 at 10:34PM
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jayco(5b NY)

Russian olive?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 12:02PM
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linnea2(z5 NY)

No sign of a Russian olive in there, I think they flower in June.
My neighbor has now suggested that SOME parts of the rampant Honeysuckle
flower may be fragrant, but elusive up close, to me they have no smell
whatever. This is confusing. I'll go take a closer look.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 9:35PM
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jayco(5b NY)

Here in Ulster our rampant Russian olives have been in bloom for at least a week. Lucky if there's no sign of them!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2005 at 10:52PM
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linnea2(z5 NY)

I think I may have found the answer to this mystery.
Reading Beverley Nichols recently, he mentions the heady
fragrance of the flowering wild grapes!
An online search bears this out.
That may indeed be it, there are huge old grape vines in
the wild area whence the heavenly wafts come.

I can't wait til May to test the theory (or smell it again!)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 10:09PM
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Auntbebe(z5 NY)

I have a Halesia Carolina in my yard, and every year in late Spring I am drawn to the area where it's planted by an incredible scent. The flowers remain on the tree only for about a week and a half, so I can't be sure if it's the Halesia, or the wild honeysuckle. I can't find a reference on the net that says that the Halesia is a fragrant plant, but it's a real magnet for me in the spring. If you look around your area for the seed pods/drupes, and find them, we may have solved a mutual mystery. Please keep me informed. Thanks.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 10:41AM
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Maybe it's someone's clothes dryer fabric softener coming out the vent.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 3:26PM
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definately russian olive

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 12:26AM
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bunnycat(z6 NY)

Perhaps an old Honey Locust. Follow your nose to it when it is next in bloom. Years ago we lived near an open field with a large Honey Locust. The intense fragrance drifted 300 yards to our house. Spectacular!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 11:00AM
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lagrangeny(z6 NY)

Russian olive bushes.
Daphne (not wild - but has agreat fragrance)
ChokeCherry - licorice fragrance.
StarGazer lily (later in summer)

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 11:21PM
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corapegia(z5 NY)

Honey locust is beginning to bloom right now, I was happily weeding when a drift of the wonderful smell came over me yesterday. It was reminiscent of Daphne or spice bush viburnum.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 8:51AM
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