(L.) W.T. Aiton, a distylous woody vine of the family Gelsemiaceae, produces sweetly fragrant flowers that are known for the toxic alkaloids they contain. The composition of this plant’s floral scent has not previously been determined. In this study, the scent profiles of 74 flowers obtained from six different wild and cultivated populations of G. sempervirens
were measured by solid phase microextraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS). There were 81 volatile organic compounds identified and characterized as benzenoids, terpenoids, fatty acid derivatives, and yeast associated compounds. The most abundant compound was benzaldehyde (23–80%) followed by ethanol (0.9–17%), benzyl benzoate (2–15%), 4-anisaldehyde (2–11%), (Z
)-α-ocimene (0–34%), and α-farnesene (0.1–16%). The impacts of geographic location, population type (wild or cultivated), and style morph (L = long, S = short) on scent profile were investigated. The results showed no relationship between geographic location or population type and volatile organic compounds (VOC) profile, but did show a significant scent profile difference between L and S morphs based on non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) using Bray-Curtis similarity indices. The L morphs contained higher amounts of benzenoids and the S morphs contained higher amounts of terpenoids in their scent profiles. The L morphs also produced a higher total abundance of scent compounds than the S morphs. This study represents the first floral scent determination of G. sempervirens
finding significant variation in scent abundance and composition between style morphs.
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