Recently there was a visitor to my garden who just happened to focus on a pair of particularly fragrant plants, ones that smell like something you’d eat. First up, Melianthus major ‘Antonow’s Blue’. Touch its leaves and you’ll smell peanut butter, well that’s what I smell, some say honey.
Next, Cassia didymobotrya. When lightly bruised the foliage releases the scent of buttered popcorn.
These got me thinking about what other food-scented, but typically non-edible, (and in some cases poisonous) plants I have grown. Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus) was lovely while it lasted, the flowers released a light chocolate scent and were a deep burgundy-brown. I never did manage to get a good photo of that one.
With this garden I inherited a large patch of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) it smelled divine but seemed bent on world-domination, it’s been removed. In my previous garden I grew curry plant (Helichrysum italicum). I’d forgotten all about it until I overheard a conversation last spring between an adorable elderly couple. They were going over the list of items they needed to purchase at the nursery and she mentioned “that curry plant” as a must, he agreed. It just so happened I was standing near said plants and watched them swoop in and grab them all. Of course they couldn’t resist caressing the foliage, so I was able to enjoy the scent even though there wasn’t a plant left for me.
Finally this list wouldn’t be complete without mention of the dragon lily (Dracunculus vulgaris). If you’ve ever smelled the flower you won’t soon forget…rotten meat. Not something you’d necessarily eat but a food-smell none the less, and it’s terribly attractive to dogs, trust me I speak from experience.
What food-scented plants have you grown? I’m sure there are many more to add to the list.