Recycled: Pretty. Stinky.

pear tree blossomsWhile out walking Otto today we noticed the pear trees -- with their white blossoms and, uh, distinctive odor -- are back in bloom. As Ryan wrote for AOA last year (almost a year to the day):

Which brings us finally to this: why does this tree smell so horrible? As far as I can tell, there isn't any research on why exactly the trees stink. However, I did come up with this: all of the approximately 30 species of pear contain the aroma compound pentyl butanoate. I will spare you the biochemistry -- this is the compound that makes pears and apricots smell as they do. One the precursors of pentyl butanoate is butyric acid, which is present in butter, parmesan cheese and... vomit.

Ryan's post also gets into the history of the trees and why they're everywhere (despite the stink).

Comments

I had this discussion on twitter the other day.

I can't smell them. I've stuck my nose way into them, hung out under the trees for quite a while, and nope, I can't smell a thing.

I have no idea what the rest of the world is talking about.

only a few hours late in taking the idea for this article from keep albany boring, right?

@av: Well, we did publish that original article 368 days ago. So if we were to have somehow "taken" this idea, it would have involved using a time machine.

@av: man, I hope AOA doesn't come up with, say, things to do this weekend, or local news roundups. Let me guess, you think KAB coined Brocial Media too...

I hate these trees. I hated them yesterday when i had to walk by a stinking great lot of them in the business park and I hated them 369 days ago when the article was first published. To me they smell like what I imagine fish vodka smells like. So... absolutely terrible.

av: Next thing you know, AOA will be doing Craigslist posts too.

I had a thought today...though I have pretty keen sense of smell, these don't really bother me...however, my son -- who has developed intense seasonal allergies is grossed out by them (same person who can't smell his own stinky feet)...is there a possibility between between the allergy and grasp of the putrid scent?? also, we have one right at our front door

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