Sweet smell of autumn comes early this year

Osmanthus is in early flower across the city.
Ti Gong

Sweet scented osmanthus is in full bloom at Shanghai Botanical Garden over the weekend. 

New England has its resplendent shimmer of autumnal golds and coppers. In Kyoto, Spring is a pastel blaze of pinks and whites.

Here in Shanghai, the intoxicating September air is heavy with the heady aroma of osmanthus.

In our Botanical Garden and Guilin Park the tiny pale yellow and white blooms have made their annual September debuts, somewhat earlier than usual, sensitive to temperature as osmanthus is.

“The flowering of osmanthus is closely related to the temperature drop after liqiu, or the start of autumn in the traditional Chinese calendar,” said Yao Bo of Shanghai Botanical Garden.

This year, liqiu fell on August 7 and the early drop in temperature has advanced the flowering time of the plant, said Yao.

The rainy weather after liqiu created the best conditions to accelerate the flowering, she said.

The first bloom for some early osmanthus varieties should last up to a week. The second bloom will probably be around the National Day holiday.

The Xingta Village in Jinshan District, home to an osmanthus forest of more than 6,000 trees, Zuibaichi Park in Songjiang District, and Guyi Garden in Jiading District are some of the best places in the city to get a nose full of this year’s bloom.

Special Reports