Collecting bradford pear flowers

I love the smell of bradford pear flowers (even though everyone else seems to hate them) and want to collect enough this spring to extract some oils or make candles. I’m not sure where to find any that are good to collect though since I’ve only seen them as street trees, and I can’t grow them myself since they’re invasive. Does anyone know about collecting flowers from trees that I might be able to find growing wild, or would I have to talk to the town that has them as street trees about collecting?


I can’t imagine liking the smell of callery pears, but black walnut had always tasted like gasoline to me, so… :thinking:

This is going to be pretty location-specific. Some parks and preserves prohibit collecting any plant parts without a permit, even if they are non-native species. So you’ll probably have to check with your local landowners’ rules.

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I grow lots of ornamental pears, basically they smell like dead flesh in order to attract flies for pollination. they really do, I have often stood beside a flowering Callery pear wondering where the dead animal is. If you want to collect the flowers you should grow some yourself or find wild ones, I can’t imagine a local authority allowing it.

You could also try to go the synthetic route, see if you can find a paper which does GC/MS on the flowers and determined what the main chemical which is responsible for the smell, and try to order it.

It depends on where you’re at. If you’re in Oklahoma or Texas you can probably find invasive ones in any patch of accessible trees. Please go ahead and burn them down when you’re done collecting flowers :)


Up here in the northeastern US, they are fairly easy to find. Drive country roads in early spring; any flowering white small tree beside the road is probably either a serviceberry tree or a bradford pear. The main difficulty is finding a spot to pull off. It’s also a great excuse to get out into the country, and find new spots to explore. :-) You would need to get permission if they were not on the roadside, and I would avoid stopping right by a house, just out of courtesy.

wow, the diversity in people’s sensory perception is always so amazing. I don’t think i’d go in a house that smelled like this species. Yuck! I’ve also got the cilantro soap gene.

Yes, very strange. Most people would say that pear blossoms reek of urine. In fact some people don’t eat pears because they too taste of urine to them.

I would echo other comments that it depends on where the tree is. If on private land, you’d need permission from the land owner. On public land, it depends on the jurisdiction. My city has guidelines one what can and cannot be picked (harvested) on various sites. Different wildlife refuges have different guidelines.

The thing is, many places do allow for certain kinds of harvesting in certain areas. And some areas have strict prohibition on removing anything from the site. So you’d have to find a tree, then determine who owns the land, then investigate further. For public land, you can often find the guidelines online.

This would hold true for any kind of harvesting. When I’m in one of my state’s Scientific and Natural Areas, I can’t remove anything (legally). Not a twig or acorn or rock…

Within a State Forest, one can harvest some items for use in the park (eating berries found on a trail, for example) and other things might be possible with a permit. The same seems to be true of a National Wildlife Refuge in my area.

In a city park (in my city), picking from nut and fruit trees are allowed except in specified exclusion areas. We have a fairly progressive governance here and there’s even talk of converting a city owned golf course to a public orchard/garden that could be accessed by everyone. So other cities might not be so permissive.

But I will point out that these often specify types of items to be harvested such as ‘mushrooms, berries, and nuts’. Harvesting blossoms would reduce the crop of fruit and that might not be allowed even in areas where harvesting the fruit would be.

Your perception of callery pear smell is indeed unique…! I’d say your best bet for collecting flowers would be to visit any subdivision landscaped in the '90s–we once lived in such a place, where almost every house had a Bradford pear planted in the front yard. (We were blessed to have a crabapple instead.) It probably wouldn’t be difficult to get permission from a homeowner or two.

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I think this post was intended as a bit of a joke. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: As far as I can see, The username, chogbog, shows no obs and not much forum time. Perhaps it is a regular user who wants to hide or perhaps it is an outsider trolling. This is the second time recently I’ve seen such a hiding user post question here.

Best urban green spaces for iNatters started by MrMagoo was the other case I noticed where the user name appeared to have no history on iNat.

But, in both cases the posts lead to interesting discussions.

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