My Favorite Scent: Petrichor

Written by  //  February 13, 2011  //  MY LIFE  //  2 Comments

desert rain

The smell of rain actually has a name: petrichor.

The name is derived from the Greek word petros, which means “stone,” and the Greek word ichor, or the fluid that flows through the veins of the gods.

Plants release oils and minerals into the surrounding soil, which are locked therein until rain loosens the soil and releases their scent. The smell is more strongly pronounced in arid climates, as more minerals and oils build up in the soil between individual downpours.

Although many attempts to replicate this scent have been made by perfume and cologne companies, petrichor is hard to reproduce synthetically because of its complex composition. However, the creosote bush, native to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, naturally stores petrichor in its leaves, which release the scent when crushed.

2 Comments on "My Favorite Scent: Petrichor"

  1. ckeng September 2, 2011 at 6:15 pm ·

    So happy to find another who loves the word, and the aroma. It is like the Earth’s aromatherapy! The smell of petrichor and the sound of thunder go perfectly together.

  2. ckeng September 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm ·

    Used it as my “word of the day” for my students.

    PS: I love your background – like an ocean of stars.

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