I have chased so many flowers while living in Japan. It’s been one of my favorite hobbies. The Kinmokusei is one last flower I must share with you. Visually, it isn’t showy like the Sakura, Hydrangeas, or Wisteria. In fact, it’s possible to walk past the flowering tree / shrub without even seeing it. However, you will definitely smell it. The fragrance of the Kinmokusei smells like a orange blossom. Or more like an orange blossom on steroids. I smelled it our first year by our house at the end of September / October and it wasn’t until last fall that I actually knew where the smell was coming from! Here is a large Kinmokusei tree near our house.
Do you see the tiny orange blossoms? Here’s where I admit how I’m a ding dong. The first year we were here, I thought the smell was coming from the trash can. I thought housing sprayed an air freshener into the trash can. I know. It sounds ridiculous. Every time we leave our house, we walked by both the tree and trash can. I never noticed the tree or the tiny flowers, only the trash can. (Shout out to Hooptie in the background. She’s still going strong (knock on wood)).
Last October, one of my English students brought a clipping to class to share. I was dumbfounded. That beautiful smell was coming from that tiny flower!! Look how small the blossoms are.
The blossoms haven’t quite opened. However, another typhoon is coming this weekend and I was worried the blossoms would be damaged. Plus, it’s such a beautiful day today. Perfect for appreciating flowers.
Now that I know the odor and the plant, I find myself looking for the tree or shrub whenever I smell it. I’ve noticed (smelled) them everywhere. On runs, walks, around the base, in Zushi, and in Tokyo!
Through my research I learned, the flower only blooms when the air quality is good. Also, it blooms from the end of September until the middle of October. The Japanese associate the scent with autumn. All of these facts, make me appreciate the flower even more. If only I could incorporate odor into my blog post! Happy Autumn!