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Publisher's Summary

A fascinating exploration of the natural history of scent and human perceptions of fragrance from the viewpoint of plant and pollinator

Plants have long harnessed the chemical characteristics of aromatic compounds to shape the world around them. Frankincense resin from the genus Boswellia seals injured tissues and protects trees from invading pathogens. Jasmine produces a molecule called linalool that attracts pollinating moths with its flowery scent. Tobacco uses a similarly sweet-smelling compound called benzyl acetone to attract pollinators. Only recently in the evolutionary history of plants, however, have humans learned to co-opt their fragrances to seduce, heal, protect, and alter moods themselves.

In this wide-ranging and accessible new book, biologist-turned-perfumer Elise Vernon Pearlstine turns our human-centered perception of fragrance on its head and investigates plants' evolutionary reasons for creating aromatic molecules. Delving into themes of spirituality, wealth, power, addiction, royalty, fantasy, and more, Pearlstine uncovers the natural history of aromatic substances and their intersection with human culture and civilization.

©2022 Elise Vernon Pearlstine (P)2022 Tantor

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Enjoyable and easy listen

While most might find an audiobook on scents/natural fragrance dull, I found it very enjoyable. Perhaps it’s because I like to make my own skincare/hair care and am an avid hiker. No lack of smelling stuff! 😅 anyhow, I liked it and thought it was well narrated.