Plants That Smells Like Skunk

When you’re walking through a garden, chances are that you expect it to smell great. However, not all plants smell as sweet. Aside from the great smell of roses and daisies, there is more than one plant that smells like skunk.

Plant that smells like skunk

You may not be aware of these plants but to get an idea of what they are, these are a few of the more common ones.

Clown Imperial

Plant That Smells Like Skunk

If you’ve ever seen a photo of these flowers, you probably are amazed by their smell. Their bright hues make them a great choice for the garden but their fragrance could turn you away from them. Some people say that their scent is sulfurous but the first word that comes to mind is skunky. No matter your smell preference, you probably don’t want to be smelling this scent. If you love the flowers but can’t handle their smell, many people decide to plant them in a secluded spot where they can be enjoyed from a distance.

Plant that smells like skunk: Gingko Biloba

Plant That Smells Like Skunk

The good news is that not all of these trees smell bad but some of them do. The beauty of the tree is what makes it so attractive to some. However, if you accidentally plant a female ginkgo instead of a male, they’ll develop fruit that’s both messy and smelly. This is due to the butyric acid content of the fruit that gives it a smelly appearance that’s difficult to get rid of. If you do want to plant this tree on your property, purchase from a reputable gardener to ensure that you’re getting a male tree.

English Boxwood

Plant That Smells Like Skunk

The English boxwood has a fancy name, but probably is going to make you wish you’d chosen a less odorous plant! While the lovely nature of this plant can turn any yard into a chic attraction, you may want to choose a different option. English boxwood looks great but it shouldn’t be used to border your front door or any other area where you may be having guests. This plant smells like skunk and urine so the more you have planted, the worse the smell. When you want an alternate option, American or Japanese boxwood have a similar look without the smell.

Plant that smells like skunk: Flowering Pear

Plant That Smells Like Skunk

Spring brings a burst of color when it comes to many types of plants. .The flowering pear has lovely flowers but unfortunately, their smell isn’t so great. These trees are favorites in urban areas but they have a less pleasant fragrance. They smell like skunk and too many of them growing together can be overwhelming in the spring months. Chemically, the culprit for this scent is the butyric acid, a compound that’s found in many other bad-smelling plants.


This flowering plant is lovely and comes under a host of names. You may find it also listed as thorn apple or stinkweed. Unfortunately, the last of these names i probably the most appropriate. The flowers on the plant are lovely and release a heady perfume that’s not unattractive. However, the leaves will emit a strong odor when they’re jostled or crushed. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have them around, but you may want to be careful to plant them in an area where this is unlikely to happen.

Plant that smells like skunk: Paperwhite Narcissus

Beauty is the primary word that people use to describe this bulb bloomer. The paperwhite blossoms emit a horrible smell though, wondering if a skunk has made its home in the flower. Some people don’t mind the smell, but almost 25% of people find the smell to be offensive. The odor of this plant is due to a chemical indole that’s given off by E. coli as well. Paperwhites belong to a group of narcissus known as Tazettas. The ones with white cups have an offensive odor while the yellow ones aren’t quite as bad.

Plants that smells like skunk: Conclusion

Having plants that smell like skunks usually isn’t a great idea. If you want to have one of these plants, you can still enjoy them but may want to plant them further away from your area. When placed far enough away and in limited quantity, the smell may not even be noticeable. However, for the best results, you’ll want to stick with alternate options that don’t have this skunk odor.