Do Dogwood Trees Smell Bad? It’s Not What You Think



Dogwood trees are a popular ornamental tree native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Also called Majestic Ornamental, they produce attractive white or pink flowers with small red berries.

Many people claim that Dogwood trees smell bad. Beautiful white flowers that stink? Something smells fishy here… but good news: it’s not the Dogwood tree!

Introducing the Bradford Pear

Bradford pear trees produce beautiful, five-petaled white flowers similar to those found on Dogwood trees. But although Dogwood trees and Bradford pear trees share many common traits, they are, in fact, different species of plant.

Dogwood Tree

– Leaves: slightly fuzzy surface, hairy undersides. – Flower: white blossoms, occasionally pink petals. – Fruit: bright red. – Wood: sturdy, close-grained. – Scent: strong floral, similar to honeysuckle.

Bradford Pear

– Leaves: smooth & shiny on both sides. – Flower: white blossoms. – Fruit: light pink. – Wood: weak, cracks & splits easily. – Scent: Rotten fish, semen, “chlorine musk.”

Causes of Smell

Scientists suspect that the noxious smells produced by Bradford pears are caused by toxins such as volatile organic compounds (which are molecularly similar to ammonia), tannins, and phenols.

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