Monday, May 18, 2009
Lemon Verbena: Plant Profile
As some of you may know, I grow a lot of the plants which are used in perfumery. I do this to get a better appreciation of the living smell of the plant and because this helps me understand all facets of it; from the essential oil to the molecules used to create its note. I also do it because most of the time its a lot of fun and makes my house smell pretty :)
I'm sure a lot of novices to perfumery (as I once was) are a bit confused about the many different types of citrus notes - for instance, when I first started out I had no clue what a bergamot was! This confusion can be compounded by the fact that sometimes citrus notes do not come from the fruit itself but from the bark/wood of the tree and even from the flowers!
For this article I will be taking a look at a recent acquisition which is the Lemon Verbena, sometimes referred to as just "Verbena" or "Verveine" in French.
The plant is a shrub which is native to parts of South America, and the leaves are used up to this day as an herbal remedy. It is also used to add flavour to foods, jams, salads and beverages.
In perfumery we can see why it is used as a citrus note as the main constituents include Citral, Nerol and Geraniol. The essential oil is extracted via distillation of the plant matter; leaves and twigs.
As a garden plant it grows with a delightful citrus aura that can be detected anywhere within a few feet of a larger specimen :) It is inexpensive, easy to grow and neat to have around, take a look at a garden center near you - they are not hard to find!