Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stinky Viburnum

Viburnum tinus

One of our favorite walks is from Porta Romana to Piazza Ferruccia, walking through the Bobolino, taking Viale Galileo to Piazzale Michelangelo, and then Viale Michelangelo to Piazza Ferruccia. It takes about an hour walking moderately. For several weeks now I kept noticing a less than pleasant smell, like dog crap. Finally after trial and error sniffing around I tracked it down to a shrub that is commonly used along the sidewalk, Viburnum tinus. After some searching it seems that this shrub emits “… an offensive smell in wet weather.” Okay, didn’t think there were that many dogs in Florence.

Viburnum tinus is also commonly called “laurustinus” and is native to the Mediterranean and Macaronesia regions. Here in Florence it is used extensively in hedges along sidewalks (outside the city) and in gardens like the Boboli. It is often mixed with Laurus nobilis (bay laurel) – which doesn’t smell bad.

The other thing is that the Viburnum seems to be under serious attack by viburnum leaf beetle. I wonder if this contributes to the smell, that is, when the plant is under serious attack it releases a smell or the beetles themselves are releasing a smell?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marx: We miss you, when are you returning? Also, could you point me to photos of your apartment? Also a recent photo of the Marx would be swell. Great blog, look forward to your return and great stories and fabulous slide show! ...Liz Russell


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