Monday, December 3, 2007

Random plant event: Senecio rowleyanus flowers

This is a plant at work; the common name is "string of beads." This picture only tells part of the story: there were many, many more flowers than this one, for one thing, though that's not what I mean. What I mean by only part of the story is -- they do the most amazing cinnamon imitation. Better, even. It's like the smell of cinnamon chewing gum: slightly fake, slightly over-sweet, but still pleasant.

I hadn't previously given this plant much thought (and, given the way the succulents at work are arranged, I frequently forgot to notice it at all, until now), but it's earned my respect with this.

Smell is a terribly underrated sense, and especially so when it comes to plants. Very few plant references even attempt to describe the smell of a flower, and those that do often don't go beyond vague descriptors (sweet, floral, spicy) that don't do much to tell you what the experience is actually like.1 I've been thinking about this quite a bit, actually, since starting this blog, because there have been a number of occasions where the smell is an important part of whatever experience I'm talking about. It's particularly been on my mind since I started trying to write about Gardenia jasminoides, which will be posted Tuesday. Just something to think about.


Photo credit: me, duh.

1 To say that the smell of a hyacinth is "floral" is like saying that having a piano dropped on you is "being hit." It's not wrong, but it's also not useful. If this is the best you can do, you may as well not mention it at all.


Tracy said...

Thanks for introducing me to that plant. What a cool looking plant, and the flowers are just amazing too. Awesome Work!!

theysaywordscanbleed said...

It smells like cinnamon, man, I want that plant on my backyard too.

AmaryllisBulbs said...

I love the scent. I have a string of bananas and the flower pic is one of my favorites and the scent is great.

No Rain said...

That is a strange little flower! I've not seen this before.