John was thoughtful to bring me a pot of very pretty Paperwhites and I didn't have the heart to tell him I didn't like them, not because of their appearance but because of their strong fragrance.
So, while sitting and chatting with Jamie this past Sunday, I knew right away what she was referring to when she said,
"Mom, your living rooms stinks!"
I showed her the culprit and then quickly relocated the plant to a distant part of the house.
~*~"Paperwhites" refers to a type of narcissus, usually of the Tazetta group, native to the Mediterranean. They are hardy only in warm winter climates, but are popular for indoor culture. The distinctive odor, which some find unpleasant, is due to a biochemical called indole.
The scent of indole has been characterized as "musky," though some say its concentrated odor in paperwhite flowers smells like dirty socks or even cat urine. Indole is also present in the fragrance of jasmine, orange flowers and gardenias, plants renowned for their pleasant fragrances.