There are various kinds of plants in the wild, with their distinct appearance, color, and smell. Many have a sweet, fragrant aroma out of such a plethora of plants, which sets them apart from the rest.
Among such plants, there are quite a few whose smell resembles quite closely that of almonds. The scent of bitter almonds isn’t as much found in plants, but a sweet lingering fragrance of almonds is often found in various plants across North America and some in Europe.
If you want to put it into perspective, the almond smell found from plants is somewhat similar to a vanilla-like fragrance, but there are a few subtle differences between them.
So what causes an almond-like smell? Sweet almonds mostly smell like that due to benzaldehyde, a colorless liquid and the main component of almond-like smell.
Hydrogen cyanide is also a chemical with an almond-like odor present in bitter almonds. Both are byproducts of the chemical process inside plants to produce an almond-like fragrance to their surroundings.
It is relatively hard to find cyanide smell from plants since plants like both the quantity and the exposure of cyanides.
In contrast, benzaldehyde is found in some resins and released by many leaves when crushed, thus giving them an almond-like smell.
Various plants belong to the almond species throughout the world, but not all emit an almond-like smell.
Due to similar chemical compositions, different non-almond plants and shrubs emit the same smell as sweet and bitter almonds. To know more about plants with almond-like fragrances:
Plants that smell like almonds:
1. Hollyleaf Cherry
(Prunus ilicifolia), also known as Evergreen Cherry, is a plant found dominantly across California in the USA. It belongs to the Rose family, is an evergreen shrub, and can grow up to heights of small trees.
What’s most fascinating about this plant is that it smells like almonds when crushed. Natives of that area originally used the plant to create intoxicating drinks from its berries by fermenting them.
The plant itself looks like any other shrub, with dark green, pointed, and spiny leaves. The plant is still grown as a source of food since its berries are edible.
Its main propagation mode is through the fruits that it bears and the seeds in that fruit that help continue its progeny.
This plant has continued to flourish throughout the coastal regions of California through this method of propagation.
It can be used to extract a sweet smell similar to almond and used for indoor fragrance purposes.
2. Sweet Almond Verbena
(Aloysia virgata), sometimes even referred to as just Almond Verbena, is a large shrub or small tree found natively in Argentina. As you can guess from its name, this plant exudes a sweet almond-like smell, making it a good choice for gardens.
Not only aroma, this shrub is visibly soothing as well, since it has scalloped leaves and bears white colored flowers, which are very pleasing to look at, thus making it look very attractive and complimenting its sweet fragrance as well.
Even though this plant lacks fruits, it propagates through pollination and can be found in abundance in various patches of land throughout South America.
One of the most identical smelling plants with almonds, and is usable for multiple purposes and can have commercial uses at times to extract the sweet almond-like smell that it emits.
3. Prunus cerasifera
Also known as Cherry plum and is found in abundance throughout Southeast Europe and Western Asia. It is also another large shrub that bears edible berries and has a distinct smell, similar to that of vanilla, at times almonds, and even pineapple.
It is at times considered to be a weed and is not grown commercially. It is developed and cultivated mostly for gardening and landscaping due to its soothing fragrance and good appearance, fit for gardens.
The fruits that it bears are edible and contain a seed that helps the plant pollinate.
These pretty-looking plants are eve used for making fragrances, and the almond-like smell that it emits makes them more useful for commercial usage.
4. Jeffrey Pine
(Pinus jeffreyi), also known as yellow pine or black pine, is a pine tree most prominently in North America, mainly in California. Named after its botanist documenter John Jeffrey, this pine tree exudes through its barks, reminiscent of vanilla and almond smell.
These trees are normally very large and can grow up to heights of 25 to 40m. They are coniferous and evergreen and have needle-like leaves to combat harsh weather conditions.
As you may have thought, since these are pine trees, they grow at high altitudes, nearly 1500-2100m above sea level. Its different scent comes from its resin and can be found on the bark of its trees.
Even though this tree is used for wood and resin extraction, its distinct almond-like smell made it even more popular as a scented wood, making it a premium construction product as well.
or mead wort (Filipendula ulmaria) is a plant, which also belongs to the Rose family. Found in Europe and West Asia and a few North America areas, this plant has a very strong sweet smell, similar to almonds.
It tends to grow in damp meadows and is a perennial plant by nature. It bears clustered white flowers and has dark green leaves with a distinct white color underneath the leaves.
This plant is used in various kinds of stuff, such as herbs for room fragrance, even in beers, wines, and vinegar for adding a sweet aroma.
Even its roots are used for making black dye, and all in all, it is a very useful plant, complimented by its attractive appearance and great fragrance, which is similar to sweet almonds.
These are some of the most common plants in the wild, which exude almond-like smell, even though most of them fall under the sweet almond smell category due to the rarity of the bitter-smelling almond plant in the wild.
Even though most of the plants mentioned in the list are from North America, around the western coast, or Europe along with Western Asia, many other similar plants with different features might emit the same almond-like smell.
The plants mentioned in the above list are commonly available. They do not require any special acquisition method since they are found in abundance in their respective native regions.
Why should we prefer Sweet almond-smelling plants over bitter ones?
Well, that’s because the plants that smell like bitter almonds have cyanide in them, which is highly poisonous to humans even in low quantities, would be enough for a lethal dose.
On the other hand, sweet-smelling ones are much better for various tasks, be it gardening, indoor fragrance, or even garden fragrance.
Even the roots and berries of sweet-smelling plants make multiple products such as drinks, jams, and even dyes.
We can conclude from the above information that the five mentioned above are the best choice among the almond-like-smelling plants.
It would guide you to get the best fragrance match with almond, and even though there might be other similar smelling plants, these are the only ones that are easily accessible to everyone and used for commercial purposes.