A shrub, not a tree. Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'
As I was mowing the lawn this evening, I imagined all the phytoncides I was breathing in and I was... delighted.

Phytoncides are "antimicrobial volatile organic compounds derived from trees".   They are good for you.  They are supposed to help improve your immune system and reduce stress.

What could be better?

In my garden, I also imagine the tree fairies are hanging out in the trees bombarding me with phytoncides.  "Here she comes, blast her!"  "Good shot, Maple Phytonflinger, you hit her right on top of her head."

Yes, go right ahead, tree fairies, hit me with all you've got because phytoncides are good for me.

Seriously, for just a minute. I first read about phytoncides and studies related to their benefits in Your Brain on Nature: The Science of Nature's Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality
by Eva M. Selhub MD and Alan C. Logan ND (Wiley, 2012).

I think I do feel better when I am exposed to phytoncides, though I don't have the tests to prove why, as others have done. I just know that after spending time outside, I am more relaxed and  less stressed.

Of course, I could just be more relaxed because after mowing the lawn, my fear that my grass will grow too long for me to mow it is no longer a fear, at least for another week.

But that's just silly. I'm really more relaxed because the tree fairies fling all kinds of phytoncides at me every time I got close to one of the trees they like to hide in.


  1. Thanks for this scientific bit of information, Carol. All I know is that I HAVE to go outside everyday, no matter what, and the more time I spend out there, the healthier and happier I am. Good to know this is not just my imagination, no more so than the existence of faires.

  2. I will forever think of this when you say you're heading out to mow your lawn..."Here she comes, blast her!"

  3. I wonder how the fairies learned phytoncides were good for humans.

  4. Beautiful photo!
    Greetings, RW & SK

  5. Another new word to add to my vocabulary! The scientists may say these phytoncides are what cause people to feel better after being outside, but I think it's the fairies. Scientists just can't see them.


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