I was excited about having another BPotD “exclusive” to share with you today, i.e., a species that doesn't appear on search engine image results. Unfortunately, I was scooped on this one: “growin”, a member of one of the web's largest gardening sites, posted a few photographs of this particular plant a week ago (though I'll note that he did have to walk in the bed to get these photographs, something not encouraged for garden visitors). Small consolation, perhaps, but today's BPotD pics at least seem to be the first few photographs of this plant in flower on the web.
Taking the time to smell the flowers elicited an “oooooo” from me. I thought it smelled of a sweet vanilla; Douglas thought it had elements of banana. We both agreed, though, that the fragrance was fleeting – you could only smell it for a brief time before becoming desensitized to it.
A native to the Yunnan province in China as well as Tibet, Schima sericans was published as a species in 1997. The draft treatment of the Theaceae in the Flora of China agrees with the assessment of this as a separate species segregated from the (slightly) more common Schima wallichii. Despite some reservations about the assertion that this is one of a number of closely-related species (instead of much morphological variation within a single broad species), we're treating it as distinct for the time being at UBC.