Virtual Museum of Canada
Jardin botanique de Montréal 
Centre for Forest Research

Smells like fir!

Most conifers have resin ducts. They transport the resin (Viscous, sticky substance secreted by certain trees and shrubs.) that gives conifers their distinctive smell. When the tree is wounded, the resin seeps out of these ducts at the site of the wound, sealing it. This physical barrier prevents parasites from getting inside the tree. In Canada, fir gum (from Abies balsamea) is a good example.

Some broadleaf trees have also developed their own kinds of resin, much appreciated by humans. For instance, the resin of the incense tree, Boswellia sacra, is made into incense, and that of the myrrh tree, Commiphora myrrha, into myrrh.


Electron microscopy photo of an Eastern white pine's (Pinus strobus) resin duct
Pinus strobus
© Au CÅ“ur de l’arbre / Trees Inside Out (JBM-MVC)
Previous picture1  2  3  4  5