Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

How to Find Your Way with Scents and Smell

Wild Marjoram, Origanum vulgare, leaning towards the sun and giving off lovely scents

Wildflowers help us to navigate in so many ways.

Look at the wild marjoram, Origanum vulgare, above.

You may have noticed that the stems are not vertical, the plants are leaning towards the left. This is south, they are orientated towards the brighter light of the southern sky. (Learn why the south is sunnier here.)

But there is a clue to direction that we can pick up with our eyes closed. Many wildflowers give off a strong scent and wild marjoram happens to be one of my favourite wild smells. I like to squeeze it between my fingers on walks in the South Downs from mid to late summer.

Wildflower scents usually come from oils. And oils of all kinds, from Texas to Tipperary, are energy-rich. Whenever we come across plants producing something energy-rich it is a clue to direction, because this energy only comes from one place: the sun.

Therefore, strong scents = oils, and oils = lots of energy, and lots of energy = most likely to be found in sunny, south-facing spots.

(It is very similar logic to sweetness in fruits. If a fruit is sweet, then there are lots of sugars and this energy has only come from the sun. So we can also remember, “Sweet is South”.)

You might also enjoy:

Wildflower Navigation Tips

A Wildflower Puzzle

Marsh Marigolds and Shallow Water

The Snowdrop Theory

Wild Marjoram close up, well worth a sniff.
Plants with strong scents are sun-seekers
More Wild Marjoram leaning towards the sun