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Why Do Ginkgo Trees Smell Like…?

by Borderstan.com December 14, 2008 at 10:46 am 0

UPDATE: I was looking at the site stats and noticed that this post from December 14, 2008, had gotten a lot of hits today. I guess the ginkgo trees are smelling like dog poo lately… and the berries are certainly falling on the Corcoran Street sidewalks. So… here you go: here is why gingko tree berries smell like dog poo.

I have never been able to figure out two things:

  1. Why would anyone would plant Ginkgo trees in a city, especially in neighborhoods with a high volume of pedestrian sidewalk traffic? (Yes, I am thinking of the 1500-block of Corcoran Street NW.)
  2. What makes Ginkgo tree fruit smell like dog poop?

The second question has been answered. I would love to hear from readers as to the “why” in question 1.

From The Washington Post:

The bouquet of a ginkgo tree’s fruit has strong notes of unwashed feet and Diaper Genie, with noticeable hints of spoiled butter.

For the District government this winter, it is the smell of defeat.

This year, arborists working for the city tried a new solution for the stinky fruit, which has plagued residents for decades. They injected more than 1,000 ginkgo biloba trees with a chemical to stop them from producing the fruit.

Whoops.

The chemical didn’t work, for reasons that scientists still don’t understand. Now, instead of less ginkgo stink, Washington has its worst case in years — a bumper crop of nastiness that is studding sidewalks and sliming dress shoes from Capitol Hill to Kalorama.

Read entire Post story.

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