Strange smelling tree

Have you ever noticed the poofy white trees that appear to shed cotton balls on streets and sidewalks throughout springtime?

Have you ever noticed that, at about the same time they shed, a strange smell seems to permeate the air?

Though the Bradford pear tree has all but stopped its stinking and shedding by now, it’s an interesting specimen, nonetheless.

Ridgefielder Jack Sanders’s blog, Nature Geezer, recently took aim at explaining the origin of these trees, and their rather pungent stench.

The Bradford pear was first brought to Europe from China by French missionary Joseph Callery.

It eventually made its way to the United States, as it is a pollution-surviving tree perfect for placement in parking lots and along roadways, Nature Geezer reports.

Though its smell might offend the average passerby, it’s actually a calling card for pollinating insects of all kinds.

Outside of its insect-enticing smell, Nature Geezer says the ornamental pears on the trees are perfect for birds.

“Birds love them, especially in the middle of winter when food is sparse. Even in January, it’s not unusual to see robins, cardinals, blue jays, even flocks of cedar waxwings, wandering its branches, snacking on the fruit, right in the middle of a town or city.”