Fruit Scented Conifers - Learn About Fruity Smelling Conifer Trees

fruity conifer
fruity conifer
(Image credit: unclegene)

Many of us love conifers, both the appearance and the fragrance. Often, we relate the piney smell of some conifers with holidays, such as Christmas, when decorations of their branches and fragrant needles abound. Your favorite fir may have another scent too. Not everyone is aware that there are some specimens of conifer trees that smell like fruit. You may have noticed this smell, but it didn’t register. Thinking back though, you might just remember the fragrance.

Information About Fragrant Conifers

While it is not always obvious, there are several conifers with a fruity fragrance. Not the same fragrance, but some as varied as pineapple and sassafras. Mostly it’s the needles that contain the secondary smell and must be crushed to get to the fruity fragrance.

Others retain scent in their wood and you may not recognize it until you’re near one being sawed up. Sometimes, bark is the source of the smell. You’ll find that the fragrance from fruit scented conifers rarely, if ever, emits from their fruit.

Fruity Smelling Conifer Trees

See if you notice a fruity scent when you’re around these fruity smelling, fragrant conifers. Crush some needles and take a wiff. These are a few of the more attractive specimens, and most are suitable for planting in your residential or commercial landscape.

  • Green Sport western red cedar (Thuja plicata) – Smells like fresh apples. Conical, narrow growth habit and grows in USDA zones 5 to 9. Good for erosion control or in tree border. Reaches 70 feet (21 m.) in maturity.
  • Moonglow juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) – Fragrance of apples and lemons, with attractive silvery blue foliage. Dense, pyramidal and compact growth, great for featuring in a windbreak or ornamental tree line. Reaches 12 to 15 feet (4-4.5 m.). Zones 4 to 8.
  • Donard Gold Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) – Also has a ripened lemony scent, as do some other fragrant conifers. Hardy in zones 7 to 10. Use as a backdrop for smaller conifers or as part of a hedge. Two-tone yellow foliage against reddish brown bark, perfect for a large focal point specimen.
  • Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) – Also has a citrusy scent, but this one smells of intense grapefruit. Create a dense hedge or privacy screen using this conifer. A Christmas tree favorite, the Douglas fir may reach 70 feet (21 m.) tall or larger. USDA hardiness 4 to 6.
  • Malonyana arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) – This is the one with a pineapple fragrance. Reaches up to 30 feet (9 m.) tall and 4 feet (1.5 m.) wide with a pyramidal growth habit. Hardiness zones 4 to 8.
  • Candicans white fir (Abies concolor) – Tangerine and lemon scented needles of this white fir are thought to be the bluest of all conifers. Reaching 50 feet (15 m.) in height and 20 feet (6 m.) in width at maturity, grow in a spot where it has plenty of room. Hardiness zone 4a.
Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.