Lichens, mummies, wigs and chypre – the Story of Oakmoss

In the last blog, we explored the scents of the forests and how they can contribute to wellbeing. However, there are other ‘plants’ present in the woods that yield unique fragrances – oakmoss and tree moss. These are not true plants, and are thus unusual sources of aromatic materials, and the whole story of oakmoss as a fragrance spans centuries.

Oakmoss and tree moss are lichens that grow on the bark of trees, particularly oaks and conifers. Lichen is a symbiotic organism, an association of an alga and a fungus growing together as one – dependent on one another for survival – although the fungal partner is dominant. Lichen produces a flattened structure called a thallus – this can be seen draping and trailing over the lower branches and twigs, and covering the bark of deciduous trees, particularly oaks. It has a moss-like appearance, hence the misnomer. In perfumery, Evernia prunastri is the most common species that yields oakmoss. Tree moss, however is obtained from Continue reading

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