Is that a tree or a vine?
I ask because I believe a neighbor down the street has wisteria growing up & over a garden archway in front of their house. Certainly looks vine-like. Though a bit gnarly & woody.
I've definitely walked & driven past it last year when it was blooming and I can't recall any specific scent... That's not to say there wasn't a scent, just not one I remember assigning to the blooms on that vine.
I do not necessarily remember smelling cat pee near there either.
But now I'm going to keep an eye on when they're blooming and go sniff. LOL
I did find this in searching:
https://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 28511.html
"they stunk up the whole house"
The part where she mentions it's a wisteria that blooms twice a year would make sense of why that smell could last 2 months... could be that it blooms twice, keeping the smell around for that long?
The thing is, if someone is not familiar with smelling male cat pee... like hasn't smelled it in a litter box for example, concentrated -- I guarantee they would not think the stuff I smell on the highway smelled like cat pee.
I say this because over the years, the people who agreed with me about it smelling like cat pee, were always people who either had male cats or had family or friends with male cats - particularly with cat boxes they've smelled at some point.
LOTS of other people I have known and mentioned it to, have said, "Well it smells bad but it doesn't smell like urine to me". And that's the rub. Male cat pee doesn't just smell like generic urine smell. It has something extra about the smell. And it's that extra part that the plant smell reminds me of.
Someone in that wisteria smell page thread I linked to above says something about "musky".
I'm assuming that extra something in male cat pee is the musky marking scent used for territorial reasons. You wouldn't necessarily get that in urine from animals that do not use pee for that purpose.
I'm afraid it won't necessarily help to ask the people working at a gas station nearby the smell, as it's pretty much a given if you spend a lot of time around a smell, you just don't smell it anymore, or you just don't notice it like other people would. One might also assume that working near gas pumps, they probably just smell the gas a lot to the exclusion of anything else nearby. :/
That said, there may be someone there who knows about the plants growing nearby.
I would skip mentioning the cat pee part though, as cat pee might tend to be a conversation stopper. LOL
Though if you suspect the gas station people might be hunters... mentioning you think it smells a bit like animal pee might be helpful. (Hunters (particularly archery hunters I think) sometimes use urine
as a kind of cologne
to mask their human scent.)
And yeah, the stuff on the highway... I'd thought about that with the colony of cats peeing. But decided the smell distance/area & potency, and being able to smell it in the wind going 55mph on the highway, would have to mean that about 500+ cats were peeing in a concentrated but somewhat aerated area. LOL The only other possibility would be that an entire township worth of cat owners were dumping dirty litter boxes somewhere near the highway.
Seemed very unlikely... at least I hope so!
Otherwise very frightening that the township was allowing either of those scenarios to continue unabated year after year for 20 years now.
And speaking of authorities allowing it to continue...
In my internet search just now for plants that smell like cat pee, I turned up on a cannabis growing tips forum. LOL
I'm assuming this is NOT a plant that would be responsible for the smell I've smelled on the highway in a residential area, as the amount of cannabis necessary to create that amount of smell would surely have been found out by law enforcement sometime in the past 20 years.
I also found a reference in my web search to something called "Menispermum canadense L." and referred to as "pisswort". LOL
But that was on a UK forum (non plant related forum).