Why do I smell phantom flowers?

Written by allison boyer
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Why do I smell phantom flowers?
If there are no live or dried flowers like these near you but you smell them, it could indicate medical problems. (Yagi Studio/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Certain flowers, like roses, have beautiful scents, but if you continuously smell flowers when there are none in the vicinity, it could be the sign of a more serious problem. Phantom flower smells can be explained in a number of ways, but always consult a doctor if you have unexplained symptoms to ensure that they aren't a sign of a more serious medical condition.

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If you smell items that aren't there, you could be experiencing olfactory hallucinations, called phantosmia. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of phantosmia are upper respiratory infections and head injuries. However, phantosmia also be caused by brain tumours, Parkinson's disease, sinus problems, strokes and migraine.


Parosmia is a medical condition in which something in your environment does have a scent, but that scent is warped. So, something that normally does not smell like flowers could take on that sweet smell. According to the Mayo Clinic, parosmia occurs when there is olfactory system damage, which could happen in the case of respiratory disease. Often, this medical condition leads to loss of your sense of smell, especially if not treated quickly.


Occasionally, phantom smells can be attributed to hyperosmia, which is a condition marked by an increased sensitivity to smell. If flowers are located in the vicinity or were previously found in the vicinity, someone with hyperosmia may be able to smell them even though others cannot. Hyperosmia can be temporary, such as being caused by drug use or pregnancy. It can also be psychosomatic and is associated with personality disorders.

Paranormal Smells

Although not scientifically proven, some people believe that phantom flower smells may be caused by ghosts, spirits or deities. This is especially common if there is an association between the flower smell and a deceased loved one.

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