We are beginning siman 4. The Chayei Adam writes that the bracha on cloves is borei minei besamim. Borei minei besamim is the most general bracha for smell, and is only recited when there is not a more specific bracha that can be recited. Cloves grow on a tree, and are the fruit of a tree, so one would have thought the correct bracha is asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros. However, the Chayei Adam explains that only edible fruits receive the bracha of asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros. Cloves, which are generally not even eaten in a mixture, receive borei minei besamim.
The question then becomes why cloves do not receive the bracha of borei atzei besamim, which is the bracha for inedible items which grow on trees or tree-like plants. The Mishnah Berurah does not explain clearly why this is so, but it seems that since cloves are edible in the sense that they are used as a spice, they can be eaten in a mixture (and being eaten in a mixture is sufficient to be considered an edible fruit), the argument can be made that the correct bracha is asher nosan reiach tov bapeiros. On the other hand, they are not generally eaten, so the argument could be made that they should be borei atzei besamim. Therefore, we say borei minei besamim due to the safeik.
In the brackets of siman 4, the Chayei Adam points out that items used only for smell are not considered fruits, as we see regarding tumah and maaser sheini. However, the Bartenura seems to indicate that they are considered fruits. Therefore, due to the safeik, one should recite borei minei besamim.
The Mishnah Berurah brings that many achronim concur with the Chayei Adam, but the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch writes that the correct bracha is borei atzei besamim. However, due to the safeik described above, one should make the bracha borei minei besamim.
In siman 4, the Chayei Adam discusses rosehips. (We will discuss rose water later, in siman 7.) The Chayei Adam writes that the correct bracha is borei atzei besamim. Although one could argue that roses can be classified as a fruit, as they grow as a fruit of a tree(bush), they are used only for smelling and not for eating. This is different from cloves, because cloves are used as a spice, and hence can be considered eaten in that sense.
- The correct bracha on cloves is borei minei besamim, out of safeik.
- The correct bracha on rosehip is borei atzei besamim.