Fresh cut flowers are usually one of life’s great pleasures. With their kaleidoscopic array of colours, varied sizes, dynamic shapes and generally pleasing odours, they delight the senses while lending a sense of beauty and freshness to any environment in which they are placed. Not all fresh cut flowers, however, smell pleasing to everyone. In fact, a few types of fresh cut flowers have reputations for smelling offensive to some people. Of course, smell is a subjective sense; while it is impossible to state that certain fresh cut flowers empirically smell bad, these three seem to be the ones most often declared stinky.
Marigolds are brightly coloured flowers featuring thin, leafy stems that generally measure about 12 inches or less, and small, spherical blooms in vibrant shades of orange, yellow, red and rust. They look attractive in fall and summer floral arrangements, and are the traditional flowers used to commemorate the traditional Mexican celebration Day of the Dead. Despite their visual appeal and cultural significance, however, marigolds have a smell that turns many people off, if it doesn’t inspire an attack of sneezing. It is not flowery, but herbaceous and earthy. In fact, their potent odour makes them a natural pest repellent; some gardeners plant marigolds around their vegetables to keep unwanted visitors, such as cabbage worms, away.
Chrysanthemums come in a virtually endless array of colours, shapes and sizes. There are spray chrysanthemums, which feature several blooms on each stem; the blooms may take the form of daisies or simple, ball-like spheres, and appear in colours ranging from pure white to deep purple. There are also larger varieties of chrysanthemums, which feature a single bloom on each stem; these include football chrysanthemums, which have big, globular blooms comprised of densely packed petals, and spider chrysanthemums, which have delicate, spidery blooms made of skinny petals. No matter what form they take, however, chrysanthemums have a distinctive odour that some people find repellent. Like the scent of marigolds, it is neither sweet nor flowery, but herbaceous and earthy. Like marigolds, chrysanthemums are sometimes used to repel unwanted insects.
Casablanca lilies are big, showy flowers that make an impression of extravagance and luxury wherever they are placed. They feature long, thin stems, sometimes measuring as many as 3 feet, with dark, glossy, green leaves. Each stem features two to five large blooms. The blooms of Casablanca lilies are pure white, and comprised of soft, gently curving petals. Casablanca lilies are notorious for their strong, heady odour. It is potent enough to fill a room. Some people find it enchanting; others find it cloying, and sickeningly sweet. Even those who enjoy it initially may find its persistent sweetness grows tiresome after a while.