23rd December 2021

Why do pine trees smell so good?

Pine, gingerbread, orange and cloves are all aromas that are synonymous with this time of the year. But did you know there are specific molecules that help to give these aromas?

pine tree with pine cones

Pine trees are a staple in homes around the world during this festive season and there’s nothing quite like being greeted by that fresh pine smell. That fresh pine scent comes mostly from chemical compounds called terpenes. These terpenes are plentiful in conifer resin and these include alpha pinene and beta-pinene, alongside limonene and bornyl acetate which all contribute to the smell of pine, spruce or fir trees.

The terpenes that help to give these distinctive aromas also provide protection for trees. When a tree’s bark is damaged, resin will flow from the tree, harden and protect from herbivores, such as bark beetles who could feed on the tree, and  as fungal growth deterrents.

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