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Evernia prunastri



Description: One of about ten species of lichens in the genus, oakmoss is extremely difficult to cultivate but grows naturally in unpolluted atmospheres. It has a very complex ecology and reproductive biology which has proven to produce little success in propagation.


In ancient times it was imported from Greece and Cyprus to Egypt for packing embalmed mummies. Today it is one of the finest perfumery materials available and there are few high-class perfumes that do not contain at least a touch of oakmoss essential oil.


Oakmoss is found growing mostly on oak trees, hence the name, but is also found on sycamore, maple, willow and alder trees as well as on fences, walls, rocks and soil. The lichen is collected in the dry winter weather then dried and brought to market.

Family: Usneaceae

Synonyms: none known

Origin: Central and Southern Europe, particularly France and Italy, the Balkans, and Morocco

Parts Used: whole plant

Aroma Description: mossy forest notes, earthy, hint of sweetness

Emotional Attributes: grounding, relaxing

Cosmetic Uses: perfumery; has excellent fixative properties

Culinary Uses: used as a leavening agent for making bread, and as a hops substitute in beer

Medicinal Attributes: antibiotic properties; used by the pharmaceutical industry

Element Association: Earth

Magical Associations: luck, prosperity

Astrological Association: Capricorn

Planetary Association: Jupiter

Season: Autumn, Winter

Aromatic Note: Base note

Essential Oil: Yes, a highly valued perfumery ingredient with excellent fixative properties. Concretes, absolutes, resins, resinoids, etc. are all manufactured, though they usually include several related lichen species to improve odor quality.

Mixes Well With: basil, burgundy pitch, cedar, chamomile, galbanum, guggul, juniper, labdanum, lavender, mugwort, myrrh, nutmeg, opoponax, palo santo wood, pine needles, pine resin, rose, spikenard, tonka beans, valerian root, etc.

Medical Disclaimer: Information on this web site is for entertainment purposes only. This information is NOT intended as medical advice or for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.

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