Bradford pear trees sure are pretty. And sure are stinky.

Bradford pear trees sure are pretty. And sure are stinky.

Ranjani Groth/

Maybe you have one of those trees with pretty white fluffs in your yard. Perhaps your neighbor has some. Wherever they are, they smell gross, don't they?

Those are Bradford pear trees, and they're "the worst tree ever," Southern Living says. They smell like fish, they're rude to neighboring trees and their branches are weak and often land in your (or your neighbor's) yard. 

Springtime is stinky if you live near a Bradford pear tree.

Springtime is stinky if you live near a Bradford pear tree.

Barron Ludlum/Staff Photographer/Denton Record Chronicle 

Wait, maybe they don't smell like fish. The New York Times suggest they smell like "semen and rotting flesh." A friend thought it was more like diapers.

"To me, the smell is akin to a trash bin full of tuna fish cans and baby food jars," says horticulturalist Daniel Cunningham at Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

"Unfortunately, the short lived stinky blooms are the best part of the weak-wooded tree," Cunningham continues." They are more susceptible (than most any North Texas tree) at splitting during a spring storm, a breezy day or just because it's Thursday."

Interestingly, their white blossoms are looking prettier than they normally do because Dallas-Fort Worth residents saw "a winter followed by the record February rainfall," notes the Star-Telegram.

Pretty flowers, pretty awful smell. Ah, nature. ¯(ツ)

So what's a better option than Bradford pear, if you're planting?

Go with the Mexican Plum, Cunningham says. Or, if you're foodscaping, try a Moonglow or Kieffer pear. Those two "will give gardeners delicious fruit, sans the stink," he says.

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