A Tree That Smells Like … Well … Um …

Susannah Breslin | April 12, 2010 - 2:40 pm

Spring has sprung, and so, here I am again, haunted by the tree that smells like semen. Yes, you heard what I said. A tree that smells like semen. I didn’t make that up, it’s not my imagination, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, well, I’m about to tell you …I don’t remember the first time I smelled it, but when you smell it for the first time, it will hit you like a ton of bricks. Or, perhaps, it will not. At first, there may just be a faint whiff. You think you smell something. Something sort of foreign. Yet, at the same time, hauntingly familiar. Maybe you’re out for a walk, so you stop in your tracks. You sniff around in the air like a hound dog searching for a fallen mallard. It gets stronger. You can’t quite place it. Then, BAM, it hits you. OMG, it’s a tree, and it smells like sperm.

And, I’m not alone. Others have smelled the sperm tree, too. See: Yahoo! Answers:

I live in Harford County, Maryland and driving along back roads I constantly get wiffs of this smell and it bugged me forever. I finally was driving with someone and they commented that it smells like semen and, well, they were right. It is just driving my crazy to try and figure out what the heck this smell is coming from! Only mature answers please, I just want to know if anyone knows if this is a certain plant or tree.

So, what is this tree that smells like the proverbial baby-batter? After I did some groundbreaking research by way of Google, it sounds like the semen tree is a Pyrus calleryana Chanticleer or ornamental pear tree, otherwise known as a Callery or Bradford pear tree. It hails from China, produces small, inedible fruits, and has greenish-white blossoms. In 2005, it was voted Urban Tree of the year. Um, congratulations, semen tree?

It’s sort of amusing how most of the formal web entries on the tree don’t mention the stank, although it’s earned its own definition in the urban dictionary: “semen tree.” If you’re still befuddled, here’s how one urban dictionary user suggests you can use it in a sentence: “Oh, great. The google parking lot is encircled with semen trees.”

Have you ever smelled it?