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Plants produce essential oils

August 6, 2017

Chemistry - Plants Produce Essential Oils

Mother Nature. She does the difficult work. Humans - we do the farming, gathering, and distilling.

This micrograph shows the very small cells that produce and store essential oils. They are called Trichomes (pronounced TRI-combs).

Simply touching a Trichome cell will release the essential oils. When you touch an aromatic plant (like lavender, spearmint, peppermint, oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc) some of the essential oil is released from the Trichomes. You can smell the oil on your hands. You can smell it in the air.

EXPERIMENT: Go to a store or greenhouse. Touch the growing herbs or aromatic plants. What do you experience?

Trichomes generally grow on the surface of the plant stem and leaf. Plants use essential oils for survival. Their goal is to produce seed and get their seeds dispersed in the environment. Essential oils help plants survive so they can disperse their seeds.

This is Dr. Cole Woolley. Make these explorations fun by exploring essential oils with your children and grandchildren. Let's take a closer look at how plants grow. 


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