Fragrant Flowers: Imagine wandering through the forest on a crisp spring morning. You can smell the sap oozing out of the bark and feel the dew on your feet. Then, suddenly, you notice the unmistakable scent of roses in full bloom beside you.
Love the smell of roses? If so, you’re not alone. The fragrance of flowers can be addictive to humans, drawing us closer and closer to the source with each inhale. The origin of this effect is still up for debate, but what we do know is that it may just be one more way in which flowers are absolutely essential for our everyday lives.
Most fragrant flowers release their scents via Methyl benzoate and Benzaldehyde. These chemical aromatic volatile compounds give off a sweet odor.
Methyl benzoate is evaporated from petals and leaves to create a scent after hours of contact with sunlight, while benzaldehyde forms once flowers release their fragrance.
The chemical compound Eugenol can be found in flowering plants such as basil or thyme, which is responsible for the scent of each flower. Eugenol is also found in cloves extracted from the flower and used as a perfume base.
Smelling flowers also release these chemicals when crushed in one’s hand, when it rains on them or when an insect pollinates them. These natural scents vary slightly depending on the flower’s geographic region and age.
Why Do Flowers Give Fragrance?
The flower fragrance is a vital part of pollination. Its purpose is to attract insects and birds to the flower so that the plant can reproduce.
Many best-smelling flowers release a scent in the evening or night, such as star Jasmine, Gardenia, and Moonflower. This helps attract nocturnal insects such as moths to pollinate the flowers at night.
Flowers that smell good release a scent during the daytime attract bees and butterflies more often. For example, Hibiscus plants attract bees with their sweet odor, and sunflowers attract bees with strong colors.
Bees use their sense of smell and color recognition skills (bee color vision, for example) to find where nectar is. Pollen also has a smell that attracts insects like flies, who spread pollen from one flower’s anthers to another flower’s stigma.
In addition to its role in attracting insects that help reproduction, the scent also serves a vital role in avoiding predators and diseases.
Compared to animals that use vision, olfaction is a less-sensitive sense. However, the scent is helpful for flowering plants because they cannot move; they must rely on attracting pollinators with their fragrance so the insects can help them reproduce.
Thus, the aroma is a signal that directs pollinators to scented flowers whose nectar and pollens are their rewards.
What Parts of the Flowers Produce Fragrance?
The strongest fragrance comes from the petals, followed by the leaves, then the root.
The fragrance released results from the essential oils found in the plant. The amount of fragrance release depends on several factors such as temperature, humidity, and plant growth stage.
If a flower has no scent whatsoever, it may be because it has been damaged during harvesting or no essential oils present yet.
The aroma of a flower can vary greatly depending on what type of plant it is and how long it has been in bloom.
Do all flowers have a fragrance?
No, some flowers do not produce scent. Yes, some flowers produce nectar. Some flowers have both scent and nectar. It varies from flowers.
Some Exceptions: White Dahlia, Scarlet Trumpet, Sunflower in full bloom, Coral Dahlia, Red Hibiscus, Petunia, Salvia, and Asters are some non-fragrant flowers.
Acacia flowers are one of the most incredible treats of Australia, eye-opening and sensual as they bathe the savannah in color. Commonly known as embers, Wattles, Wattleseed, and Pigface, the tree and flower have spread widely.
Almond Blossoms are closely linked to peaches and are also known for the oil obtained from the fruits. Almond's benefit didn't start today. Humans have widely used almonds for a time that even dates back to Biblical times.
For many nature lovers, apple blossoms (Malus coronaria) are the highlight of the year. This wild beauty with a captivating scent is found in Arkansas and Michigan. Apple blossoms have white and cherry-pink petals. The apple tree flowers are large; they grow with the leaves and are borne in sub-bellied umbels.
The beach rose is a deciduous Japanese shrub with a multi-stem. It is native to Japan and is widely used as an ornamental plant. The beautiful beach rose is pollinated by insects and birds. Rosa rugosa is a strong symbol of Love and adoration.
Bee Balm is the ideal plant for pollinators. It is sometimes grown in medicinal and edible gardens for its ability to attract butterflies and bees. Native to North and South America, the Bee Balm played a vital role in indigenous ceremonies before the arrival of European settlers. Now it's a pretty cosmopolitan plant.
Bouvardia is a genus of plants in the Rubiaceae family. It includes around 50 species of evergreen shrubs and herbs that are native to Central America and Mexico. The color ranges of the flowers vary depending on the species, and can be red, pink, yellow, or white.
Commonly referred to as a butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii is a deciduous shrub native to forest clearings, limestone outcrops, mountain slopes, and Rocky River banks in America, Africa, and Asia. Buddleia (orth. Var. Buddleja) is a genus with over 140 flowering plant species in the Scrophulariaceae (figwort) family. Many named varieties have been introduced over the years, expanding the flower range colors to include pink, yellow, white, and red.
The Bulbophyllum genus consists of mainly lithophytic and epiphytic orchids in the Orchidaceae family. Bulbophyllum orchids are found in various habitats in most of the world's warmer regions, including Latin America, South Asia, Africa, the West Indies, and several islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The flowers are scented with small green, brown, or yellow petals.
Butterfly orchid is a common name for numerous species of orchid, including the genera Platanthera and Psychopsis. Some are grown as ornamental plants because of their attractive flowers. Well-known species are the small white-flowered orchid (Platanthera bifolia) and the large butterfly orchid (Platanthera chlorantha) with larger greenish-white blooms.
Candytuft, also known as Iberis, is a genus of around 50 species in the Brassicaceae family native to Europe and Asia. Candytuft has dark green foliages and small but showy flowers. The plant can reach heights between 15 cm and 30 cm.
Casa Blanca flowers are predominantly whiteto pinkto purple-red, and some are golden yellow in color. Their medium texture blends in with the garden. Casa Blanca belongs to a genus of approximately 100 species of herbaceous and bulbous perennials native to South America, North America, and Europe.
Caspia (Limonium sinuatum) is a perennial or annual herbaceous plant that originates from Central Asia and the Mediterranean meadows. Its flowers have white petals and calyces that come in shades of purple, yellow, pink, white, or lavender, the latter being known to hold their color very well.
Cattleya orchids display a fantastic look that several plant lovers could not resist. Cattleya belongs to a genus of Cattleya spp. in the family Orchidaceae. There are currently 35 natural hybrids and 46 recognized species of the genus Cattleya. These orchids are native to the tropics like South and Central America. The blooms can reach a diameter of 8 inches, with colors ranging from white to blue, yellow, red, purple, and orange.
Clary sage originates from the Mediterranean region (North Africa, Central Asia, and southern Europe). The genus Salvia contains around 960 different species of woody and herbaceous plants in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. The flower stalks appear in the second year and reach a height of 3-4", crowned with flower heads small, double-lipped, tubular, lilac to creamy white flowers.
Convallaria majalis (Lily of the valley) is a fragrant perennial herbaceous plant. The only species of the genus Convallaria from the Asparagaceae (asparagus) family. Convallaria majalis is a perennial rhizome herb that typically forms a ground cover that extends indefinitely up to 8-12 inches high.
Epigaea is a native forest shrub in the Ericaceae family that develops as an evergreen carpet in forests and peaty clearings. Epigaea is native to eastern North America and is the only member of the genus. The blooms of the Epigaea are dark pink, pale pink, or white.
Four O'clock will delight both your eyes and your nose, with fragrant tubular flowers that come in a variety of patterns and colors. Often, you even get different colored flowers on the same plant. the flowers are tubular, red, pink, or white, up to 6.5 cm long and 3.5 cm wide with 5 to 6 stamens.
Hedysarum coronarium, commonly known as sulla clover, sulla, or French honeysuckle, is a perennial or biennial herbaceous plant that generally grows up to 3 feet tall is equal in width. The bright red, extremely fragrant, pea-like flowers bloom from the end of spring to the beginning of summer in dense axillary clusters on upright flower stalks.
The hollowroot plant enchants with delicate carpets of leaves, on which fragrant blooms in white and deep purple-pink open. The plant belongs to the Fumarioideae (fumitory) family. Hollowroot opens its slightly fragrant white to purple or dark pink blooms from March to April.
Jamaica Plum (Spondias mombin), also known as hog plum or yellow mombin, is a tree and flowering plant in the Anacardiaceae family. It originates from tropical America, including the West Indies. The sweet-scented flowers usually bloom from January to May. They are in large, loose terminal panicles with small purple to yellow flowers.
While many flowering shrubs (Camellia japonica) peak in Summer, the Camellia flower is endemic to Japan and it is unique because it mainly blooms in early spring and late winter. There are nearly 300 species of Camellia, the color of which includes white, pink, and red.
Cherry blossom (Japanese national flower) is a medium-sized tree that can grow to 15-25 feet. The spread is 4-8 meters. The tree is short-lived (15-20 years). It is native to Korea, China, and Japan. Cherry blossom signifies good luck, Love, and femininity.
Chrysanthemum indicum is a perennial Japanese herb that can grow to 1-3 feet at maturity. Indian Chrysanthemum has over 10,000 varieties. The flowers are single and intensely fragrant. Chrysanthemum indicum is approved by NASA as a houseplant that can reduce air pollution.
Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) is sinuous and fragrant forest anesthesia. Flowering occurs from late spring to early summer, when conspicuous, tubular, fragrant, whitish-pink blooms develop in the leaf axils. As they age, the flowers turn creamy yellow.
Japanese Orange Osmanthus is an evergreen shrub or tree that produces clusters of flowers with a powerful apricot fragrance. The flowers of the Japanese Osmanthus are tiny in axillary clusters and signify truth and a noble person in Japan.
The Japanese Snowbell is a deciduous tree that can grow to 15-25 feet. The leaves of Styrax japonica are alternate and simple. They are broad-elliptic to elliptic-oblong. These leaves are medium to dark green with a measurement of 2.5-9 cm. long and 1.3 -4 cm wide.
Cattleya orchids have a fantastic appearance that many plant lovers could not resist. The blooms are showy, prominent, fragrant, and come in various color patterns and colors. There are currently 35 natural hybrids and 46 recognized species of the genus Cattleya. These orchids are native to the tropics such as South and Central America.
Native to the Southeastern United States, Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a large vine for the landscapes. Jessamine grows 20 ft or more when cultivated as a vine. The fragrant, golden yellow flowers cover the finely structured cascading foliage from February through April.
Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum), also known as the yellow bedstraw and cheese rennet, is a somewhat herbaceous rhizomatous perennial in the Rubiaceae family. In summer (July to September), four-petaled, bright yellow, fragrant flowers bloom in clustered, dense panicles.
Also known as the sweet pea flower, Lathyrus odoratus is an annual flowering plant cultivated for its attractive and fragrant flowers. You can sometimes see them nicely arranged in bouquets or adding a nice splash of color to home gardens. Plant species have purple flowers, but many varieties now offer a variety of additional flower colors, including white, lavender, blue, red, pink, and bicolor.
Laurustine (Viburnum tinus) is a vigorous evergreen shrub known for its showy clusters of flowers, brightly colored berries, and leathery leaves. The blossoms are small, light pink or white, and are formed in winter from reddish-pink florets in dense racemes with a diameter of 5 to 10 cm.
Lavandula angustifolia is undoubtedly amongst the most popular herbaceous plants. With its purple flowers, the fragrant plant adorns many window sills, gardens, and balconies. Lavandula typically blooms between late May and mid-September. There it forms purple flowers, rarely white, which are arranged in pseudo-whorls.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) is a classic culinary and medicinal herbaceous plant that shouldn't be missing in any balcony or garden. Lemon balm, or simply lemon balm, is part of the Lamiaceae family. Unfortunately, the Melissa genus has only a few representatives with just 4 species. The pale-white lipped flowers, approximately 1 cm in size, grow in the axils of the leaves.
Lemon (Citrus × limon) is a hybrid of the genus Citrus and the common name for the popular edible fruit of this small, sprawling tree or shrub. The slightly fragrant flowers can be single, or there can be two or more. The opened flowers have 4 or 5 petals, white on top and purple on the underside.
Known as "Queen of the Shrubs", lilac is one of the most challenging and most fragrant flowering shrubs in many gardens today. You may recognize them as a flower in your grandmother's garden. Its stem flowers are usually available in white, blue, purple, and pink colors, adding height and softness to any garden.
The beautiful flower of the lily plant makes it among the most well-known flowering plants in horticulture. But this eye-catching flower is more than it looks. The flowers are generally scented and come in various colors, including pink, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.
Magnolia is an eye-catching flowering plant that belongs to the Magnoliaceae (magnolia) family. There are about 210 species of magnolia, differing in shape, size, flower color, and habitat type. Magnolias are deciduous, evergreen, or spreading shrubs or trees characterized by large, fragrant flowers that can be cup- or star-shaped, in hues of yellow, green, purple, pink, or white.
Althaea officinalis, the marshmallow or marsh mallow, is a flowering species of plant native to North Africa, Western Asia, and Europe. True marshmallow flowers appear in clusters in the leaf axils from July to September. They are 1.2 to 2 in (3 to 5 cm) tall. The flowers are white to pale pink, with 6 to 9 outer sepals that are slightly scented.
Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) was well-known to druids and healers in ancient times. The ancient Teutons used this herb to flavor their famous mead (honey/met). The cream or white flowers are arranged in an umbel shape and usually comprise 5 to 6 petals. What is striking is the flowers' sweet and strong aroma, which becomes more intense on hot nights.
Mezereon (Daphne mezereum), commonly known as the February Daphne for its late winter flowering, is a small, semi-evergreen, deciduous shrub with an upright, bushy growth habit that usually grows 3 to 5 feet tall and wide. The fragrant pink to reddish-purple flowers (up to 1/2" wide each) bloom in stemless clusters (2 to 4 flowers per cluster).
Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris) might not have the most endearing name. Still, it's one of the stars of the early-fall summer show in Europe. The flowers are usually dark blue to light blue, but they can also be pink, purple, and white. The flowers have small petals surrounded by a pair of flat-top sepals that look like petals.
Ming fern (Asparagus retrofractus), also known as a zigzag shrub, pom-pom asparagus fern, and Ming asparagus fern, is an evergreen herbaceous perennial shrub that generally grows 6 to 8 feet tall. The small, scented white flowers with 6 petals in open axillary umbels bloom from spring to early summer.
One of the most beautiful but notably underused natives of early summer/late spring is the Mock Orange, Philadelphus lewisii. The flower gets its common name from the delicious orange scent that makes it alluring to humans and bees. Blooming for several weeks from late May/early June, the branches are covered in many snow-white flowers consisting mainly of four light yellow petals in the middle.
Nature is practical and alive throughout the day. Moonflowers (Ipomoea alba) are nocturnal flowers and are best enjoyed by night owls and nightwalkers. The leaves are whole or 3-lobed, 5 to 15 cm long, with a stem 5 to 20 cm long. The fragrant flowers are pink or white and large, 8 to 14 cm in diameter.
Myrtles belong to the flower family Myrtaceae and the genus Myrtus. Myrtus is the genus, but there are 3 different species, Myrtus Nivellei, Myrtus Phillyreifolia, and Myrtus Communis. The star-shaped flower has 5 petals and sepals as well as many stamens.
Nemesia is delicate subshrubs, annuals, and perennials primarily native to South Africa. This charming plant has been gaining popularity lately for a good reason. The flower colors include blue, brown, red, pink, cream, orange, yellow, and sometimes two-tone (different colored lower and upper lips).
Nicotiana is a genus of herbaceous shrubs and plants in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. The 67 species of Nicotiana are native to tropical South America, North America, and Australia. The Nicotiana flower is borne in clumps on multi-branched stems and grows in red, purple, white, and pink tones.
Night-flowering Catchfly (Silene noctiflora) is a species of plant in the Caryophyllaceae family, known by the common names clammy cockle and night flowering silene. With almost 900 species, it's the largest genus in the Caryophyllaceae family. The corolla is white, sometimes with pinkish tones, and has five narrow, spreading claw-shaped lobes that are deeply serrated with rounded and slightly serrated ends.
When we think of oranges, we often think of their refreshing citrus flavor, vitamin C, and juice. However, we seldom think of them coming from trees that produce orange blossoms with an equally attractive fragrance. The flowers are star-shaped, white, and of course, have a strong scent of citrus notes and sweet, sweet, soapy undertones.
Ornithogalum, often known as Star of Bethlehem or Wonder Flowers, are beautiful spring flowers that are easy to love and even easier to please. Species typically have linear basal leaves, and a thin stem up to 30 cm tall with white star-shaped flowers often streaked with green.
As a harbinger of spring, the pasque flowers (Pulsatilla vulgaris) begin to appear before the plant's fern-like, feathery foliage has fully developed. The flowers are usually purple, but some cultivars also have red, pink, or white flowers.
The common peach blossom (Prunus persica) is the genus Prunus fruit plant, which belongs to the Rosaceae family. The Prunus genus includes 430 different tree and shrub species. The peach blossom originates from northern and central China.
Peony is a Japanese easy-care flowering plant in the genus Paeonia of the Paeoniaceae family. The genus consists of approximately 32 species of wild peonies primarily native to Europe, Asia, and western North America. The flowers range in color from pink and purple to red, yellow, or white. The flowers bloom from late spring to early summer.
Peppermint (Mentha × piperita, also called Mentha balsamea) is a hybrid mint, a cross of spearmint and watermint. Native to the Middle East and Europe, the plant is now widespread and grown in many parts of the world. The axis of the stem is usually hairy and usually highly branched. Peppermint flowers can be purple, pink, and sometimes white.
Commonly known as Persian candytuft or Persian watercress, Aethionema is a genus of around 60 Brassicaceae (mustard) family species. Persian candytuft is magnificent Old-World watercress cultivated for its fragrant pink flowers.
As the mainstay of the cottage garden, Phlox owes its continued popularity to its puffy flower clouds and simple nature. Phlox is a genus of about 67 species of annual and perennial plants in the Polemoniaceae family. The lightly scented flowers can be white, bright red, light blue, pink, or purple.
Malva moschata, the pink musk mallow, is a plant species in the Malvaceae family native to Southwest Asia and Europe. This pink wildflower is grown for its fragrant flowers that thrive during the summer months. The pink-musk flowers are in clusters in the axils of the leaves, each flower 3.2 to 5 cm in diameter, with 5 bright pink petals at the notched to truncated end.
Pittosporum is one of many evergreen trees or shrubs primarily native to New Zealand and Australia, making up the Pittosporaceae family's Pittosporum genus. Also known as Australian laurel, Pittosporum is mainly planted as ornamental plants in temperate regions
Plum blossom is a deciduous, rounded tree from Japan with great ornamental value. It can grow from 4 to 10 meters in height. The ume flower in pale pink or white blossoms signifies faithfulness, purity of heart, and classiness.
Jacob's ladder (Polemonium caeruleum) is a perennial species of the Polemoniaceae family. It is native to the temperate regions of Asia and Europe, where it grows mainly in meadows, grasslands, and damp forests. They are available in yellow, blue, white, or pink, depending on the variety.
Polianthes tuberosa, commonly known as tuberose, is possibly native to Mexico. It's considered iconic and has a long cultural history dating back to pre-Columbian times. The Agave genus (Agavaceae) includes about 200 species.
With over 400 species to select from, these cheerful spring plants are available in a rainbow of colors. As you can imagine, the flowers' shapes, sizes, and colors vary. The common primrose (Primula vulgaris) is a species in the Primulaceae family native to northwestern Africa, southern and western Europe, and parts of southwestern Asia.
Privet (Ligustrum vulgare), with its glossy dark green foliage, forms a dense living fence or privacy hedge. These plants can be deciduous, semi-evergreen, or evergreen, depending on the variety you choose and where you live. The genus includes around 50 species of upright, evergreen, or deciduous shrubs, which often form medium-sized to small trees and are native to Asia, North Africa, and Europe.
Restharrow (Ononis repens) is a perennial woody plant in the family Fabaceae. It is commonly known as Creeping Restharrow and Common Restharrow. Restharrow has hairy stalks and small, ovate leaves with serrated edges. The leaflets are less than three times as long as they are wide.
Rhododendron is the genus and common name for a diverse and large group of small trees and woody shrubs in the flowering Ericaceae family. There are over 1000 rhododendrons native to Australia, North America, Asia, and Europe. The trees can be evergreen or deciduous
Loved by many, the rose (Rosa spp.) is a popular garden flower. Its features, including its precious fragrance and shape, make it easy to recognize. Roses have been grown for millennia and have a long history that goes back thousands of years.
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) is an evergreen perennial aromatic shrub in the Lamiaceae (mint) family native to the Mediterranean, northwestern Spain, and Portugal. There it grows into a 4- to 6-foot-tall shrub. The genus Rosmarinus includes 3 different species (Rosmarinus tomentosus, Rosmarinus eryocalix, and Rosmarinus officinalis).
From culinary to medicinal uses, sage has long been an herb garden staple. Sage is most commonly cultivated for its flavor, but it's also a relatively perennial and hardy plant in the garden. Garden sage is a medium-sized perennial shrub typically grows to between 15 to 24 inches (40 and 60 cm) in height.
Camellia sasanqua is a shrub that can grow to 60 cm-3.6 m. It is a beautiful Japanese plant with a pleasing fragrance. The flowers of the sasanqua are primarily single or semi-double. Therefore, their bloom is not as large as those of Camellia japonica.
Native to Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caucasus, Scabiosa includes around 70 species of small annual and perennial herbaceous plants that belong to the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family. These plants are mainly recognized by their unique appearance and genus name.
Silver Lace Vine (Polygonum aubertii) is a popular but controversial climbing plant because of its vigorous growth habit. This drought-tolerant vine wraps around porch pillars, fences, or pergolas. Polygonum is a genus of around 130 species of flowering plants in the Polygonaceae (knotweed and buckwheat) family
Hymenocallis littoralis or spider lily is a species of the Hymenocallis genus native to the temperate coastal areas of Latin America. Hymenocallis includes over 60 species of perennial plants. The flower is closely related to the amaryllis plant and, like its relatives, has a showy flower.
Stephanotis is a genus of the Apocynaceae (dogbane milkweed) that contains around 15 species of climbing plants native to Madagascar and Southeast Asia. Stephanotis plants are cultivated for fragrant, waxy, tubular, generally white flowers. The leaves are opposite, oval to elliptical, and leathery.
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) is a species of flowering plant in the family Caryophyllaceae native to parts of Asia and southern Europe. The flowers come in vibrant reds, pinks, whites, and two-tone hues, often with contrasting eyes and bearded petals lined on the inside.
Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) is a great statement plant in the shade garden. In spring, the plants are covered with white flowers, and the foliage gives off a sweet smell of hay. Sweet woodruff is a carpet-forming perennial most commonly cultivated as a groundcover in shady areas. There are over 600 species of flowering plants in the Galium genus.
Datura stramonium, commonly known as thornapple, Jimson weed, devil's trumpet, or devil's snare, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. About 10 species of thorn apple are common in tropical and temperate climates around the world.
Intricate and delicate, Throatwort (Trachelium caeruleum) dazzles with its thick cushions of blue-violet flowers and gives any garden or flower arrangement an elegant, lace-like charm. The flowers come in shades of white, green, pink, purple, and blue, but the flowers of the white varieties age more quickly.
Tiger Lily is a perennial Japanese bulb plant that can grow 60 cm to 150 cm. in height. It is a prolific flower that gives the appearance of the tiger's skin. This is an excellent border plant. The Tiger Lily flower is associated with wealth and pride,
The Viburnum (aka snowball) is an old-fashioned shrub known for its many beautiful clusters of white snowball-shaped flowers. You can easily accommodate your desires as 7 different viburnum shrubs are called snowball bushes including Japanese viburnum.