Latin name Evernia prunastri – Family species Usneaceae
Oakmoss, also known as Pseudovernia prunastri, Mousse de Chêne and Treemoss, is primarily used as a fixative. There is an absolute, an absolute oil, a concrete, and resin. The solvent extracted absolute is the most important and it and the absolute oil are used in perfumery (the absolute oil being used more in high class perfumes). The other products are primarily used in soaps, hair products, and lower cost products. According to the below link, the synonyms Mousse de Chêne and Treemoss may really be associated with Evernia furfuracea, which shares many of the same properties and is sometimes used as a substitute for oakmoss.
“Oak moss was used in perfumery as early as the 16th century. Baskets filled with it have been found in the ancient royal tombs of Egypt, but whether it was intended for perfume or for food is not known. Oak moss contains a starchy edible substance. A mixture of acids extracted from it is used in drugs for treating external wounds and infections.”-Britannica.com
If you’ve been in the forests and mountainous areas of North America (or France, Spain, Portugal, and many parts of Central Europe), chances are you’ve seen the pale greenish-gray colored, net-like lichen. It especially seems to like to grow on oak trees.
Oil Selection Guide
Color – Dark green or brown (absolute), pale yellow to olive (absolute oil)
Viscosity – Viscous (both)
Scent – earthly, mossy, green (absolute oil is bark-like and dry)
Perfume Aroma – Top, middle, base note
Oil Source Information
Plant Type – Lichen
Countries of Origin – France, Hungary, Greece, Morocco, Algeria, Yugoslavia (former)
Extraction Method – Solvent extraction
Known Chemical Constituents
Evernic acid, d-usnic acid, atranorine, chloratronorine
Applications and Uses
Primarily used as a fixative.
Oakmoss blends well with
Most all oils.
Precautions / Contraindications
Use is recommended to be very well diluted.
May cause irritation to sensitive skin.
Watch out for adulterated oils.
See also Essential Oils Safety and Usage.
References and Resources
See Aromatherapy References and Resources page.
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