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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - April 14, 2013

From: Sedona, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Identification of fragrant, white-flowered bush in Arizona
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'd like to identify a flowering bush which has white sweet-smelling flowers. It is growing in the Coconino National Forest in the area near the Airport vortex/Airport mesa in Sedona, Arizona. It is flowering now, end of March, beginning of April. I've lived in Sedona for 12 years and this is the first time I have noticed this plant, mostly because of the sweet smell and abundant flowers this year. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers and the Plants of the Sonoran Desert has a section on Fragrant Flowers and Plants.  I used that database plus our Native Plant Database to produce the following list of possibilities for your fragrant white bush.

Ageratina wrightii (White mistflower)  Here is more information from TAMU Aggie Horticulture.

Aloysia gratissima (Whitebrush)  Here is more information from TAMU Aggie Horticulture.

Baccharis salicifolia (Mule's fat)  Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Bursera microphylla (Elephant tree)  Here are photos and more information from Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and CalPhotos Berkeley.

Ceanothus greggii (Desert ceanothus)  Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush)  Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Cercocarpus montanus (Alderleaf mountain mahogany)  Here is more information from Southwest Colorado Wildflowers.

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)   Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Crossosoma bigelovii (Crossosoma)    Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Fendlera rupicola (Cliff fendlerbush)  Here is more information from TAMU Aggie Horticulture.

Jamesia americana (Cliffbush)  Here is more information from Water-Wise Plants for Utah Landscapes.

Mimosa aculeaticarpa (Catclaw mimosa)  Here is more information from Delange's Arizona Wildflowers.

Philadelphus microphyllus (Littleleaf mock orange)  Here is more information from Southwest Colorado Wildflowers.

Purshia stansburiana (Cliff-rose)  Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.  There is even a rare double-flowered variety.

Rhus trilobata (Skunkbush sumac)  Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Sambucus nigra ssp. caerulea (Blue elder)  Here are more photos from CalPhotos Berkeley.

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry)  Here is more information from Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

 

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