hawthorn tree

Hi, We're considering several trees to put into our back yard. Among them is the hawthorn which seems to have several things going for it -- pretty flowers, nice color in the fall, fruit that is attractive to birds, and reasonable size.
We're in zone 5,by the way.
However, one site I found says that the flowers have an unpleasant odor. Can anyone confirm this?
Thanks Patricia Champaign, IL
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Their flowers (which don't last more than two weeks of May) have an indifferent odor but not unpleasant. The berries are much more long-lasting for color; could be turned into jelly, as substitute rowan berries or mixed with apple, though few people bother. I have several hawthorns that I inherited with the house. I would not have planted them myself as they do get in the way of paths & movement in the yard, are VERY thorny, one has to be careful discarding thorny trimmings, pruning barely keeps them out of the way as they grow back so swiftly, & they self-seed like sunzubitches.
-paghat the ratgirl
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The flowers are VERY stinky if you put your nose right into a blossom, but the smell does not usually travel far, thank God - and the blossom time is not long. The double pink is not nearly as bad as the species white flowers, so if you like the look of that variety, you can plant it if you want to avoid the smell. However, it does not berry nearly as profusely as the species.
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Besides being very thorny, they are quite susceptible to rust and then they make a real mess.

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We have one and it is not unattractive, but during bloom it gives off an odor akin to rotting flesh. I also have to keep it trimmed pretty high so the thorns don't hurt any children, but it still gets me once in a while when I forget to duck while mowing the lawn. I don't see a lot of birds feeding off it, but a lot of people around here put out feeders, so perhaps our birds are choosy. If it were not an established tree when we moved in, I would not plant one.
Pat wrote:

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Thanks to all who responded. There is a thornless variety that we've looked at. But the smell could be a problem and we don't want to upset our neighbors (or ourselves) so guess we'll keep looking..
Patricia

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