Late spring and early summer is the time of sweet-smelling white-flowering shrubs and trees. Cherries, hagberries and lilacs are everywhere, including in our garden, and everyone loves them.

Today I noticed another white-flowering tree in the garden that rarely gets any attention: a whitebeam. I did know, in theory, that it also has white flowers but I’ve never actually noticed its flowering. I decided to take a closer look. It’s not as striking as a flowering cherry tree or a hagberry, because the blossoms are fewer and sparser, but still it has pretty sweet white flowers.

Or that’s what I thought until I got closer and smelled them. Up close they are anything but sweet. They actually smelled pretty disgusting. Cloying and sour, sort of rotten.

No wonder nobody writes poems about the Swedish whitebeam, or arranges festivals for its flowering.