Fragrant trees: discovering natural scents

Fragrant circuit: discover unexpected fragrances and woody scents! This activity is organised as part of the “Vive nos arbres” project, intended to promote the heritage of Geneva’s trees.

pots avec l'inscription "Tilleul", petit pot d'huiles essentielles, gousses de vanille et cacahuètes disposés sur un fond jaune

From vanilla through peanut to lemon grass, our trees smell good! (Actually, not all of them…). With this sensory discovery activity, discover what smells of what.

Lime, tree of heaven, sweet chestnut, poplar, larch, Douglas fir and elder: each boasts its own particular scent.
This activity can be enjoyed during a walk, for example along the Quai Wilson to the Botanical Garden. The best period is around the end of spring and beginning of summer.


variable (possibility of doing this activity in several stages)


  • grey pencil or pen
  • list of fragrant trees (to be downloaded at the bottom of this page)
  • a solid support if required (clipboard or cardboard)


Download the list of fragrant trees. Print or copy it. Follow the instructions given. Find the seven trees selected during a walk. For each part of the tree you smell (leaf, flower, resin), find the corresponding odour using the list provided.

Smell the different scents, either pleasant or unpleasant, given off by the trees: a surprising experience!

To prolong the experience

Most of the odours are complex and are produced by several fragrant molecules. As the seasons pass, the odours change, disappear or return. Follow the same circuit at different times of the year and discover different scents.

Did you know?

Plants secrete scents that can be fruity, flowery or woody. Some are produced by a single substance while others are the result of a cocktail of fragrant molecules. More than 1,700 different volatile compounds have been identified to date.


Conservatoire et jardin botaniques - Système d'information du patrimoine vert - Arbres

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Article modifié le 26.02.2020 à 17:17