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Re: High Kicker

  • Subject: Re: High Kicker
  • From: "Bill Meyer" njhosta@hotmail.com
  • Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 11:56:37 -0500

Hi Everyone,
       None of the other hosta scents were very noticeable. It was more a
curiosity thing, than anything of real importance to anyone. It was only
under certain circumstances that they seemed to give off scent, or maybe
that was the only times it was concentrated enough to be detected. When I
was visiting a nursery, the owner called me into the hoophouse (where the
air was very still and smells get much more concentrated than they do
outdoors) and insisted I try to tell if I could smell the scent from some
longipes plant (don't remember which). They could smell it and so could I.
It wasn't pleasant, though. They were wondering why the "official" word was
that only plantagenia was fragrant.
        I did wonder if they were crossed with plantagenia a different scent
would be produced in the seedlings. Does anyone know if 'Otome-no-Ka' is
fragrant and, if so, what it's species background might be? I've seen it and
it doesn't look very much like a plantagenia hybrid. If you've ever smelled
bearded iris or lilac cultivars, you've probably noticed that they smell
very much different from each other and not all have pleasant scents. It's
just a curiosity, really, so I doubt even a marketing whiz like Chick could
turn it into big money. :-) It might be a good auction item for next year,
though -- the "Bill Says He Can Smell These - Can You?" collection!
        People do smell things differently. For example, I can't stand the
smell of paperwhite narcissus, but plenty of people love the smell. I saw
somewhere that the human sense of smell is so weak that dogs may have 10,000
times as powerful a sense as we do. Color vision works that way too. I was
talking to my eye doctor about that and he said everyone sees slightly
different colors, from those who are fully or partially color-blind to
little differences in shades.
                                        ..........Bill Meyer

> Hi Bill, John, Chick, All,
> I wanted to add a bit to the "smelling" controversy in hostas. On Bill's
> side, his evaluation of good-smelling hostas goes hand in hand with what
> Watanabe wrote in his little Japanese book on hostas (in Japanese). It
> like this:
> "One of the more important factors in evaluating hostas is fragrance. It
> used to be said that H. plantaginea and H. plantaginea japonica are the
> ones with fragrance. But there are fragrant forms of H. pycnophylla, H.
> pulchella and H. venusta! (Examples given are Shiho, Nioi no Mai, Hogyoku,
> Kunpu, Asuka and Otome no Ka)."
> So much for the Japanese olfactory sense. Mine is not so good, but
> Hildegarde's is and I let her be the judge of what is fragrant and what is
> not (my Honeybells draw her out into the garden every summer). And herein
> lies the problem. The olfactory nerves are part of the cranial nerve
> terminate in the olfactory bulb. They are numbered by medical folks. The
> sense of smell being Roman numeral I and Sight (optical nerve) is number
> Oh, well! The sense of smell is just as complicated as our sense of sight.
> We can correct the latter by wearing glasses but if your nose is out of
> kilter, there isn't much one can do. I am not saying that Watanabe's or
> Bill's noses are out. They just smell those molecules differently from
> others. Their olfactory bulb is hooked up "differently" and they smell
> something others don't. That is perfectly normal, my family doctor tells
> It's a miracle anyway how we can translate a few molecules reaching our
> noses into a pleasant or not so pleasant sensation in our brains, or maybe
> even nothing whatsoever.
> This is where Chick comes in. Don't count your money yet. Your Halcyon
> fragrance has not made it to mine nor most others olfactory bulbs yet so
> trying to sell one might be a little difficult unless you pretreat the
> blossoms with lilac perfume. Just kidding! It is true, the nectar in some
> blossoms may release a few molecules of fragrance that can be detected by
> those whose olefactory bulb is fine-tuned like Bill's. For the rest of us
> mortal beings (and I am saying this being well aware that I am considered
> "hosta god" according to a picture I saw recently) the molecules get
> somewhere between our noses and the olfactory bulb in our cranial system.
> maybe some of us have a permanently "stopped up" noses. As for rubber
> just like some folks have double vision or are red/green color blind,
> might well detect the smell of (burning?) rubber tires emanate from hosta
> blossoms. It's the different ways our brains are wired.
> The gist of this whole thing is that hostas should not be considered
> fragrant unless they waft this olfactory gift all over the garden. If you
> got to flop on your belly to detect the "fragrance" of H. venusta, we have
> an olfactory detection problem and for some of us a "how in the heck am I
> getting back up problem." And as for bringing hostas inside, be aware that
> the nectar will absorb molecules from the inside air movements. Burning
> rubber tires inside, Bill? Just kidding. W. George
> W. George Schmid
> Hosta Hill - Tucker Georgia USA
> Zone 7a - 1188 feet AMSL
> 84-12'-30" West_33-51' North
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <Jaspersail@aol.com>
> To: <hosta-open@hort.net>
> Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 2:13 AM
> Subject: Re: High Kicker
> > Thanks for the information, W. George and Bill.
> >
> > Bill, do you have any Chick memorabilia that smells like burnt rubber?
>   ; )
> > Wow, I've never noticed flowers from 'Halcyon', rupifraga, or longipes
> > seedlings having any fragrance -- I'll have to use my nose a little more
> next
> > year.  Very interesting.  I assume your yard doesn't have a privacy
> of
> > lilacs to hide the rubber tire factory next door...   ; )
> >
> > --John
> >
> >
> > <<I have noticed that several other hostas without plantagenia in their
> > backgrounds have faint flower fragrances that are clearly different. Not
> all
> > of these are pleasant smells, but they are not in any way similar to
> > plantagenia. One of the pleasant ones is 'Halcyon' which smells somewhat
> > like lilac. The smell is faint, and may be more noticeable on cool
> mornings.
> > At times I can't smell it, but other times I've smelled it from 2-3 feet
> > away. Another one with fragrance is one of the plants that was going
> around
> > as rupifraga. I had brought it indoors in cool fall weather to use it
> > hybridizing and found it had a fairly strong burnt-rubber sort of smell
> that
> > wasn't pleasant at all. I think I noticed a couple other faintly
> unpleasant
> > smells among longipes seedlings. None of these plants had anything more
> than
> > faint smells that only some people could smell at all even with the
> flowers
> > held up to their noses. >>
> >
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