Geoffrey Grigson might have started it. In their Englishman’s Flora for the 1950s he told exactly how a French (who else?) placed branches of hawthorn beyond your windows of each girl that is young. “The stale, sweet fragrance through the triethylamine the plants have makes them suggestive of sex.”
Richard Mabey picks this up in the present Flora Britannica, where he describes that “the triethlyamine accountable for the stale aspect in hawthorn’s complicated scent is amongst the very very very first chemicals produced whenever living muscle begins to decay” and reminds nurses who possess worked in Africa associated with odor of gangrene.
“Yet triethylamine’s fishy scent,” he continues on, “is additionally the scent of sex – one thing seldom acknowledged in folklore, but implicit in a lot of the popular tradition for the hawthorn.”
Charles Nelson, later of y our nationwide Botanic Gardens, believes that botanists “never agree about perfumes”. The Burren’s fragrant orchid, Gymnadenia conopsea, as an example, has plants that, for him, are perfumed with vanilla. “Others assert that the fragrance resembles cloves or rubber, which reminds me personally regarding the equation of old socks or fine old hock for the perfume for the Ca tree poppy – an aroma can be as much into the head as beauty is within the attention regarding the beholder.”
But also he finds that hawthorn blossom “exudes that hefty musky scent with sexual undertones”. He could be, needless to say, another Englishman, now located in pastoral bliss in Tippitiwichet Cottage, someplace in East Anglia.
Therefore, using the hawthorn hedges of this acre weighed straight down with quite unforgettable swags of snowy plants, the Vineys went for the sniff – also a couple of breaths that are deep. We could not get the bit that is fishy but . . . […]