Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - May 03, 2014

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: User Comments, Trees
Title: Retention of essential oils by Ashe Juniper wood from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for information on why local Austin Juniper/Cedar trees are so great at retaining essential oils for aromatherapy. I make pendants for necklaces out of our local fallen cedar trees and use them for diffusing essential oils. All I can find online is that they are naturally rot resistant. I'm looking to find some information about the composition of the cedar wood that explains why it is so good at retaining the smell of essential oils for days.

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants grow naturally; in your case, Travis County, TX. While Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) is, indeed, a native tree, you are concerned with qualities of wood from this tree that is no longer living and growing ("fallen" trees). This takes it somewhat out of our area of expertise, thank goodness, since we haven't a clue what the answer might be.

However, we were interested in the process, whatever it is and learned about "terpenes" and "terpenoids" as we looked into it. Here is an article from Wikipedia on Terpene, in which we found these relevant sentences:

"Terpenes (/ˈtɜrpn/ TUR-peen) are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers."

"Terpenes and terpenoids are the primary constituents of the essential oils of many types of plants and flowers. Essential oils are used widely as natural flavor additives for food, as fragrances in perfumery, and in traditional and alternative medicines such as aromatherapy."

 

From the Image Gallery


Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

More Trees Questions

Plants for under non-native fruitless mullberry trees from Ft. Worth TX
June 28, 2012 - I live in Tarrant county, where summer droughts are the norm. I have a 150x50 foot swathe of mature "fruitless mulberry" trees, which create a very shady atmosphere. The soil is clay dominated, ro...
view the full question and answer

Natural Privacy Planting for New Jersey
October 09, 2013 - I have a question about privacy plantings in New Jersey (Monmouth County). We have a wooden fence around the perimeter of backyard with some various older trees. We wanted to start anew and wanted to ...
view the full question and answer

Wanting to grow a Buckley Oak in Amarillo, TX
January 20, 2016 - I live in Amarillo Texas in the Texas Panhandle. I recently became interested in the Buckley Oak and was wondering if it might grow well here and if so, where I might find one that I could purchase a...
view the full question and answer

Native holly (ilex) for Austin area
May 28, 2006 - Hi--my brother and his family live in Austin, TX--their german shepard "Holly" just died (she was 13)--I was throwing around the idea of sending them a holly plant of some sort to have in honor of H...
view the full question and answer

Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs in the Dallas Area
February 13, 2015 - Is it OK to plant evergreen shrubs-trees in January or February in the Dallas, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.