Bradford Pear Trees, aka Semen Trees, Now Blooming, Will Be Banned in Ohio Next Year

Semen tree season is upon us - pulaw/FlickrCC
pulaw/FlickrCC
Semen tree season is upon us

It's about that time of year when the city smells like everyone just got laid.

Bradford pear trees are to blame, pushing out a pungent scent as they bloom each spring around the region. What your nose derives from the trees is like a carousel of terribleness. For some, they smell like rotting fish. For others, they're like vomit. And for the unfortunate majority of us, these things reek of semen.

While the Bradford pear's delicate white flowers are beautiful, they also harbor compounds that are derivatives of ammonia, which produces the familiar, post-coital scent. They actually do produce pears (don't eat them!) that birds love and spread throughout the area, encouraging more of these awful trees to grow.

The non-native tree (also known as the Callery pear tree) has been terrorizing us for more than 70 years, after someone had the bone-headed idea to bring one back to the United States from China. Americans loved them in the '50s when they were new here, as they grew in just about any type of soil and were attractive. But the damn trees began spreading wildly, crowding out native trees and plants and generally mucking up regional ecosystems because they're highly invasive.

The odiferous things soon will be banned in Ohio, though. Legislators have outlawed buying, selling or planting additional Callery pear trees beginning in January 2023. They'll be on the Buckeye State's list of invasive plants, but property owners are under no obligation to remove existing ones if every spring they like feeling like they're on a Brazzers' set.

Originally published by CityBeat, Scene's sister paper in Cincinnati.