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What is it that creates that wonderful smell after a fresh rain?


I've heard that the wonderful smell of a fresh rain is actually chemicals released from the trees and grass and other plants.

  • What is the process that allows these chemicals to be released?
  • What are the chemicals that create that smell?
  • How is it advantageous for the plant to release the chemicals rather than hold onto them?

That molecule is called Geosmin. It is mainly produced 1 by Actinomycetes such as Streptomyces which are filamentous bacteria that live in soil. Other organisms also produce geosmin:

  • Cyanobacteria
  • Certain fungi
  • An amoeba called Vanella
  • A liverwort

It is an intracellular metabolite and cell damage is the primary reason attributed to its release. However oxidant exposure and transmembrane pressure also causes geosmin release in cyanobacteria. It seems that the release is triggered by some kind of stress.

I am not quite sure about their advantage to the host species.


1 or perhaps the most well-studied in


Aroma Compounds and Their Odors

An odor or odour is a volatile chemical compound that humans and other animals perceive via the sense of smell or olfaction. Odors are also known as aromas or fragrances and (if they are unpleasant) as reeks, stenches, and stinks. The type of molecule that produces an odor is called an aroma compound or an odorant. These compounds are small, with molecular weights less than 300 Daltons, and are readily dispersed in the air due to their high vapor pressure. The sense of smell can detect odors are extremely low concentrations.


It&rsquos Petrichor!

The earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil is technically called petrichor. The term &ldquopetrichor&rdquo was coined by Australian scientists who were researching the nature of argillaceous odor in 1964. They investigated the aroma coming from moist clay, sediment and rock. There were numerous other studies conducted later to figure out what causes petrichor and if we can artificially mimic it.

The petrichor scent is generally caused due to the secretion of oils by some plants, the generation of geosmin by Actinomycetes bacteria, the presence of ozone, and also our higher nasal sensitivity to the scent of petrichor. Let&rsquos look into these reasons one by one in a more detailed manner.


What Gives the Beach That Smell? Sulfur-Making Algae

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Close your eyes and conjure up your paradise vacation: umbrellaed drink in hand, trashy detective novel perched on your knee, the rhythmic swell of waves in your ears, and of course---the fresh, briny smell of the sea.

That poetic smell comes, in part, from a not-so-poetically-named sulfur compound called dimethyl sulfide, or DMS, a key player in ocean ecosystems and weather patterns. Now, scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have figured out how a particular ocean algae---one that dwells in the upper sunlit part of the sea---makes the aromatic chemical.

Scientists have long known that this type of algae, a single-celled phytoplankton by the name of Emiliania huxleyi, produces the odorous compound, but they didn’t know how. In a paper published last Thursday in Science, though, researchers identified the enzyme the algae uses to make the compound, and the genes that encode that enzyme, called Alma1. They also found similar genes in other ocean organisms---which suggests that many more organisms than they previously knew produce this sulfur compound.

The group confirmed their enzyme identification by putting the protein's gene in E. coli, which doesn’t naturally create the aromatic sulfur compound. They got the confirmation they wanted---the E. coli made the stinky DMS. "It’s a gold standard of proof that it catalyzes this reaction," says Tom Hanson, a professor of marine bioscience at the University of Delaware unaffiliated with the research. "So they really nailed it," he says. "It’s an example of how to couple next generation sequencing and biochemistry, to pin reactions on enzymes in a really elegant way."

The Alma1 enzyme, aside from building the molecule that gives the beach its special stink, turns out to be crucial to the ocean's health. The global ecosystem relies on a delicate balance of sulfur-containing chemical reactions, converting one compound to the other, collectively called the sulfur cycle. Similar to the carbon cycle, in which plants process the carbon dioxide that animals produce, different organisms consume and produce sulfur compounds that make life possible---over land *and *sea.

Aromatic DMS is made from another chemical that algae use as protection from the saltiness of its ocean home. Without this precursor chemical, water would rush out of the poor phytoplankton, leading to its salty death. The algae convert some of this protective chemical into the smelly stuff that reaches our noses, releasing it into the water when they die.

If the algae died thanks to a viral infection, other phytoplankton will pick up on that chemical release and interpret it as a warning, arming themselves against infection. “It’s like a signal for the algae to say to their buddies in the water column, better protect yourself from the virus,” says Hanson. The algae also are a basic food source for ocean organisms such as small fish, and the smell lets schools know their next meal is nearby. Even seabirds are attracted to the smell, which alert them to the small fish in the water. "When organisms learn that there’s DMS, it’s a signal for 'Oh, there’s food here,'" Hanson says.

After a while, the sulfurous algae emissions escape into the atmosphere, where beachgoers get the benefit of its lovely smell. That slow seep is actually the most abundant source of biological sulfur in the atmosphere---sulfur that helps with cloud formation. Scientists think that it plays a major role in controlling the planet’s temperature. “If these reactions didn’t exist, we would have a much different planet, and it wouldn’t be habitable," says Hanson. "We rely on these microorganisms catalyzing these particular reactions as part of their metabolism for us to be able to live."

So that characteristic smell of the sea breeze? It’s how the creatures of the ocean, from the tiny plankton to the seabirds, converse with each other, ultimately making your beach vacation possible.


Smelling Emotions

Another reason you might be able to identify a criminal, or at least someone feeling agitated, is that he or she may simply smell dangerous. In one of Freiherr’s experiments published in 2015 in the journal Chemical Senses , researchers obtained sweat from 16 men. The men took a timed math test and were falsely told they had performed below average. Disgruntled, they then participated in a workout where sweat was collected. As a control, the men took the math test again under no time constraint and were told they got an average score. Again, they followed up with a sweaty workout.

Volunteers sniffed the men’s sweat samples while taking a test that measures cognitive performance. When sniffing the sweat of the men told they scored below average, the volunteers were distracted and slower to respond during their own test. When sniffing the sweat from the men’s second workout, the volunteers scored in a manner indicating emotional neutrality.

A hefty pile of evidence suggests that emotions have a scent. What’s more, such smelled emotions may be contagious. Say you go out to meet a friend who had been watching funny videos on her mobile phone, making her feel happy. As you approach her, you catch a whiff of her scent and automatically smile. But had your friend just watched a scary movie, her body odor would have likely made you feel apprehensive.

Using electrodes, European researchers in 2015 measured the facial movements of volunteers who sniffed sweat samples of people who had watched either pleasant or scary videos — happy-go-lucky scenes from Disney’s The Jungle Book versus hair-raising clips from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining . After inhaling the scent of The Jungle Book watchers, participants “assumed a genuine happy facial expression,” says Jasper de Groot, a psychologist from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. “It was subtle, yet significant.”

Meanwhile, smelling the body odor of stressed-out people ups our vigilance, while the odor of people who had just watched something disgusting makes our faces twist in disgust. In fMRI scans, people sniffing the sweat from first-time parachute jumpers lit up the brain’s left amygdala, where basic emotions are processed, suggesting fear is contagious, too.

“These chemosignals ring an alarm bell in your brain to attract your attention,” Freiherr says. “Maybe you can smell a dangerous place because somebody was there five minutes ago feeling scared.”


Jane V. Adams – The Smells in Nature

Jane is a naturalist, photographer and nature writer living in Dorset. Her work has appeared in books, anthologies and blogs for charities such as The Wildlife Trusts and the International Bee Research Association. When she’s not exploring Dorset’s lanes and countryside she can be found lying on her stomach watching insects in her garden. Jane’s entry for this blog’s Lockdown Nature-writing challenge was shortlisted and can be found by clicking here. Jane is currently studying for an MA in Travel and Nature Writing at Bath Spa University and can be found: www.janevadams.com and on Twitter @WildlifeStuff

On the basis of Jane’s entry in the Lockdown Nature-writing Challenge, and a couple of guest blogs she has written for this site since (Weevils and Wool-carder Bee) I have persuaded Jane to write a monthly article to appear on the last Saturday of the month. June’s article was on Stag Beetles, July’s was about her unmown lawn and lockdown, August’s was about Devil’s-bit scabious, September’s about Ivy Bees andand here is October’s…

The smells in nature the good, the bad and the ugly

We often forget about our sense of smell when we are in nature but are we missing out on an exceptional sensory experience?

For as long as I can remember I’ve navigated the natural world with my nose. Some who know me may not be surprised by this, as I have quite a defined snout, but whereas many people describe their wildlife encounters in terms of how it looked, and possibly how it sounded, my overwhelming sense is how it smelt.

When I was seven, and living in London’s northern suburbs, my first semi-wild encounter was with an escaped ferret. As it flowed up the garden path on a winter’s afternoon, pushing its whiskered nose behind plant pots and into watering cans, I begged my mum for some meaty offcuts so that I could entice it nearer to the house.

After carefully removing the scraps of gristle with its razor sharp teeth it disappeared through a hole in the fence. Determined to get closer to this garden apparition I lay on the ground, my head close to the hole, before closing my eyes and taking a deep breath.

For me, musk, mingled with the smell of next door’s rotting compost, will forever be the smell of happiness, childhood and ferret.

The biology of smell

So what is it that makes the things we smell in nature so emotive and memorable? It seems the answer lies in our brain.

Psychologist, Rachel Herz, gives a fascinating explanation in her article Ah, sweet skunk! Why we like or dislike what we smell (1), of how we, as humans, process smell.

From odours alighting on the olfactory receptors in our nose and converting to electrical impulses, to these impulses then moving to the areas of our brain that process the ‘expression and experience of emotion’ (the amygdala) and ‘associative memory’ (the hippocampus), this process is unique, when compared to our other senses.

As Herz explains, this pathway is ‘more direct than the connections between these brain areas and any other sense’. This possibly accounts for why memory and emotion are so associated with smell, and also why we experience other senses, such as seeing and hearing, so differently.

How do we smell? Awful?

I’d always presumed humans had a pretty poor sense of smell when compared to other animals. However, this may not be true. In a review in Science (2), neuroscientist John McGann, argues that although a dog may be able to smell more scents than humans, and have double the number of smell receptors, both dogs and humans smell a banana as well as each other.

In fact he found that although humans may have fewer receptors we are actually better at detecting some odours than dogs and rodents.

Although our ability to smell obviously differs between species and people, some of us can smell the first hint of a gas leak. This was never highlighted more than when super-smeller, Joy Milne, hit the headlines a few years ago for smelling Parkinson’s.

Joy had noticed a distinctive scent on her husband six years before he was diagnosed with the disease, and research proved that she could pick out the smell in blind tests. This discovery has raised hopes for the development of a Parkinson’s diagnostic test (3).

Other human super-smellers have been able to detect Lyme Disease, breast cancer, even Alzheimer’s. Maybe research in the future will have us stepping out of the shadows when it comes to our ability to differentiate, and describe, smells.

Are smells of nature good for us?

A lot has been written about the benefits of nature to our wellbeing, especially over the last six months, and I think aromas in nature play an important part in this discussion.

With our sense of smell so closely linked to the emotional part of our brain, it’s believed that although the healing power of aromatherapy is likely to be a learned response, rather than a pharmacological(1) one, in the end does it matter? If the smell of lavender helps you sleep, and the smell of lemon peps you up – what a great natural remedy.

Even the NHS has cottoned on to its possibilities. A walk in a scented bluebell wood or park rarely did anyone any harm, so if it can help to reduce blood pressure, gives you some exercise you wouldn’t otherwise have had, and helps your mental health, it’s no wonder doctors are now starting to prescribe(4) spending time in the great outdoors. Smell, and an appreciation of smells in nature, can surely become an important part of this self-healing therapy.

The Good (smells)

There’s no doubt smell plays a significant role in our lives, but is the ability to distinguish good from bad smells, and possibly harmless from dangerous, something we are born with?

This is certainly true in other animals. Mice, who have never met a cat, still react fearfully to their smell, but humans seem to be different. As generalists and top predators, research(1) seems to suggest we haven’t needed an innate understanding of scents. With such an enormous range of foods to choose from we learn from experience what is good and what might poison us.

However, there is one scent that feels grounded in the past and possesses a strange innate quality. Petrichor.

The term petrichor, from petra (stone) and ichor (ethereal fluid) was coined in 1964 by two Australian scientists(5) studying the earthy aroma produced when rain falls after a hot, dry spell. The smell is a mixture of plant oils and soil bacteria released when moisture is present.

Although it’s most likely to be smelled when summer rain touches parched soil and foliage – or even on the wind before the rain reaches you – it can also be detected in warm damp woods and when you dig over a fresh patch of soil in the veg patch.

No surprise then that when I headed to Twitter to ask for people’s favourite smell in UK nature, “earthy damp woodlands”, “damp earth after rain”, “wet grass smell after heavy summer rains” and “the smell of earth… newly dug” were so popular.

Although not proven, some scientists now believe that the seemingly universal love of this smell could well be inherited from ancestors who depended on those summer rains. Surely it has to be number one in the top ten smells?

The Bad (in a good way…)

Twenty years ago, on a badger sett surveying course, our slightly eccentric but very knowledgeable tutor encouraged us to poke a stick into a badger latrine and smell the stick. Although this seemed a bit odd at the time I remember her saying, “You need to recognise the sweet smell of badger”.

Ever since I’ve loved the smell of the sweet musky deposits that badgers leave in my garden, every time I smell them it reminds me of that course, and how excited I was to see my first badger in the wild. Or maybe there’s a hint of ferret in the smell.

Whatever the reason for my love of the smell it does make me wonder how many other people love what might be termed ‘socially unacceptable’ or ‘bad’ scents?

Often it’s not something you have much control over. If you love the subject of the smell, or associate it with good memories, it’s likely your olfactory emotional response is riding roughshod over the acceptability of your sensory experience.

Anyone else out there with a penchant for the smell of badger, ferret (and otter) faeces?

The Ugly (or are they?)

Are there scents in nature that smell awful, to everyone? You would imagine that aromas such as vomit, excrement and dead, rotting carcasses would be universally disliked, but as you’ve already read above our sense of smell can be a fickle and individual thing.

For years scientists throughout the world have been trying to develop a stink bomb that could be used universally to disperse crowds. So far they seem to have failed (1).

It seems even the worst smells, whether due to culture or a learned acceptance, always find favour somewhere.

Wake up and smell the badger shit

Rachel Carson, the American marine biologist, conservationist and author of Silent Spring, wrote, ‘the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that we use it so little.’

I agree. Apparently the 24th of April is National Sense of Smell Day, something to look forward to in 2021… but maybe it’s time we paid more attention to ALL our senses, especially when we are in nature.

When was the last time you ran your fingers over the velvet moss on a fallen tree, tasted the menthol of mint or even stuck a stick into some badger shit and had a good old sniff?

Just think of the enduring memories of nature you could be missing out on.

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8 Replies to &ldquoJane V. Adams – The Smells in Nature&rdquo

My favourite source of smell in the garden is the bag of leaf mould in the greenhouse. I love roses and honeysuckle but I also enjoy the really foxy smell of crown imperials.

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I always think there is something special about the smell of greenhouses. Maybe it's my happy memories of them as a kid, but I can imagine the combination of leaf mould and the musty smell of the greenhouse is delicious! I'm not sure I've smelt a crown imperial, so that is now on my list for next year, but I totally agree with regards to roses and honeysuckle.

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Loving these blogs. My wife is chief poo smeller in this household, her favourite being Pine martin. She also loves the smell of damp dog and insists that dog’s paws smell like biscuits.
A summer walk locally was on paths full of pineapple weed, delightful. I love farm smells, though not the locally piggery! And woodsmoke.
Last one, (and also for Mark I guess) a well aged Rioja. Smells like gorse in full bloom.

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Ahhh, good to know I'm not alone. I haven't had the pleasure of sniffing pine marten poo - I wonder if it's similar to ferret and badger. Any particular biscuit for the dog's paws? I've lived next to a piggery - so I'm with you on that score. Woodsmoke - yes, every time! Does Rioja smell like coconut/vanilla? - I'd never noticed that, I obviously need to drink more of it - to test that theory out.

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Wow - this is fascinating stuff Jane! Thanks so much for opening my mind to consider this much neglected sense. I am lucky enough to live in the countryside (a country bumpkin through and through) but I have always been aware of trying to reduce how deeply I breathe if I am in an urban environment, desperately wanting to close down my nasal passages to the absolute minimum and then washing those horrible smells off my body and hair when I get back to my rural retreat.
The unpleasant smells that I recall from childhood are that of Cherry Laurel, that awful invasive non-native, and the rotting flesh of rabbits that had died of myxamatosis. The wonderful ones are wild primroses, sweet vernal grass, wild honeysuckle, bluebells and perhaps best of all cattle.

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What lovely smell related memories you have Hilly. Thank you for sharing them. I totally agree with regards to the smell of urban environments. I had to walk to school along the North Circular Road in London when I was a kid, and the smell of the fumes still haunts me. I only have to get a slight sniff of diesel and it turns my stomach.

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Smelling fungi is often an important aid to identification and many fungi do smell of all sorts of things from coconut to aniseed and from 'fresh meal' (whatever that smells like!) to coal tar and potatoes.

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That's really interesting Nick. Do any of the really poisonous fungi smell of things that we might associate with 'bad' smells? It's a shame our ancestors didn't have an innate ability to pick out the safe from the dangerous (or maybe they did, and we've lost the ability).

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Answer

Chris - I have been thinking about this and I think there are probably two aspects. On the one hand, you could say no. On the other hand, you could say, yes!

Let me explain why I'm hedging my bets here. First of all, what is a smell? A smell is a molecule of some kind which is in the air that travels into your nose. Its gets to the top of your nose where you have something called an olfactory epithelium.

There, there are nerve cells that have chemical docking stations called receptors that lock onto that molecule. These tell the nervous system, "I recognise this molecule," and therefore, signal to the brain that this smell is present.

Molecules in their own right are not going to harm you, unless they're a toxic molecule, like hydrogen sulphide for example. That smells of rotten eggs and it's also a bit toxic but a molecule on its own is not going to infect you with something. But it could, on the other hand, have come from a source of infection: if there's a corpse or something rotting nearby and it's pumping out these molecules, if you can smell them, the source of that smell - microorganisms - is going to be quite nearby. So, you should therefore possibly watch out.

At the same time, and this is where my "yes, it could be a threat" answer comes in - it may be possible also for your nose to detect the physical presence of microorganisms directly. Let me explain that and use an example that probably everyone is acquainted with.

The last time there was a sudden rain shower and you went out of your house and you sniffed the air, you must've noticed that wonderful aroma. It's a clean, fresh, earthy aroma in the air. This exists because when the raindrops come down, they hit the soil and liberate from the soil lots of little spores of an organism that lives in the soil. They're spores from a family of bacteria called Actinomycetes.

On the surfaces of these spores there are molecules which will dock with the receptors in your nose and trigger you to smell that smell. So, what you're smelling, which you think is beautiful fresh post-rain air, is actually loads of microbial spores. Therefore, if you can smell these bacteria by detecting parts of these bacteria, you could argue that it's possible that if you can smell a smell, there could be something potentially infectious in that air, and that could potentially hit you and infect you.

So I reckon the answer is that most of the time, a dodgy smell isn't going to be a risk, but it could signal that there's a risk nearby and so, you could walk into a risk if you weren't careful.

Dave - Are there any pathogenic, dangerous, bacteria which have this spore effect?

Chris - Yes, there are loads of them. The other thing is that Norovirus, which is a very tiny particle just 30 nanometres across - one 30,000th of a millimetre - causes diarrhea and vomiting, and winter vomiting disease. In anyone who's infected with Norovirus, every millilitre of what comes out of their body (at either end) contains about 100 million of these virus particles. They are smaller than the particles of smoke that come off a cigarette. So the chances are, if you smell the smell of "the product of someone having a Norovirus episode", some of the particles from that are drifting around in the air and they're certainly on surfaces in the environment. If you breathe them in, the infectious dose is one or two particles, so you're probably going to get it.


Terrariums: The Water Cycle

Terrariums are wonderful projects: they’re easy to plant, easy to care for and they look wonderful. They also recycle their moisture, so they rarely need to be watered, requiring almost no attention. Often, a closed terrarium can be left for a month or more between watering.

Discussing the water cycle is a great introduction for this project. What are clouds? What are they made of? What is rain? What does the sky look like when it rains? Why does it rain? Where does the rain go after it falls? What happens to puddles after it rains? These questions will start a discussion about evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. Discuss each of these things as you put your terrarium together. (You may want to check out the animated diagram of the water cycle from the US Environmental Protection Agency.)

Any clear container can be made into a terrarium just make sure that your container is watertight. Choose something large enough to accommodate the plants, and has a cover, lid, or door to keep the moisture from escaping. Jars, bottles, and aquariums are commonly used and each works great. Whatever the container, you can now easily bring nature into the classroom.

Many plants do well in terrariums, and it is best to choose the ones that will fit the size of the container. Slower growing plants require less trimming, and are less likely to take over. If you are willing to pay more attention to them, you can experiment with more aggressive plants. They require more frequent trimming, but will allow you to have more variety in your terrarium.

Some plants suitable for terrariums are:
Pilea (Aluminum Plant )
Fittonia ( Nerve Plant )
Ardisia
Podocarpus ( Buddhist Pine )
Aeschynanthus ( Lipstick Plant )
Baby Tears ( Very aggressive grower! )
Very small ferns
Miniature African Violets
Coffee Plant
Creeping Charlie
Boxus (Boxwood)
Wandering Jew (Aggressive Grower)
Creeping Fig (Aggressive Grower)
Moss

Planting Instructions:

1. Place a 1/2 inch layer of small gravel in bottom.
2. You may choose to sprinkle activated charcoal on top of the gravel, but this is optional. It will help to filter the water as it drains through the layers.
3. Test your potting soil before using it by squeezing a handful. If it clumps easily, add some Perlite or Vermiculite to help with drainage. These can usually be found in garden shops. Add a 2-inch layer of potting soil, or possibly a little more depending on the size of your container and the size of the plants you intend to use.
4. Add your plants, again taking into account the size of the space you have to work with inside the terrarium. Be careful not to overplant – you need to leave plenty of room for your plants to grow. Push the soil aside, place a plant in the depression, and gently replace the soil around the roots of each plant. Water lightly.

Care:
Neglect It! Water lightly only when the soil is dry. You should only need to water, at the most, every couple of weeks, depending on conditions. Be very careful not to overwater! Place in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight. You should have enough light to read by. When plant gets as big as you want, pinch off the newest growth to encourage bushier growth.

Do not fertilize. As the nutrients found in the potting soil get used up, the plant’s growth will slow, helping to keep the plant from overgrowing the terrarium. Over time the soil can be “refreshed” by scraping off the top layer of soil, and adding some fresh potting soil. This will add a small amount of nutrient, and will spruce up the look of your terrarium as well.

Small rocks, moss and dried twigs make good decorations and add to the look of a micro-world of plant life. A terrarium can also be an ideal place to observe insects, but you will want to return them to the outside world after a few hours so they can survive in their natural habitat.

When your terrariums are finished, discuss the following: We only watered the soil in our terrariums once how did the water get on the lid? Take your lid off the terrarium and feel the soil. Why is the soil still wet? Do you think that any water has evaporated from the soil? Why? If water evaporated, where did the evaporated water go? Did it ever rain in your terrarium? How do you know? Where did the rain come from? Is there anything in your terrarium that reminds you of a cloud or cloud drops?”

You may want to make a connection between the water cycle in the terrarium and in the real world with a discussion using the following: “If the terrarium is a model of the real world, what do you see outside that reminds you of the plant in our terrarium? reminds you of the soil in our terrarium? reminds you of the small water droplets on the lid? The soil in our terrarium stays moist, the ground outside never dries out completely. Why? What keeps it moist? Water collects on the lid of the terrarium, water also collects in the sky as clouds, where does the water in the clouds come from?

Keep your terrarium after the lesson is over and enjoy it for many months to come!


The Naupaka Flower

The naupaka flower is known for its unique shape it looks like half of the flower is missing.

The Hawaiian legend claims that a princess named Naupaka fell in love with a common man that she was forbidden from marrying. An elderly wise woman told them of a distant temple where they should pray for guidance. They traveled for days but, when they arrived, the priest said that he could not help. A heartbroken Naupaka took the white flower from her hair and tore it in half. She gave one half of the flower to her lover and told him to return to the beach. She stayed in the mountain.

That’s why one type of naupaka plant grows in the mountains, and the other grows on the beach, while both look like only half a flower.


Best for Curly Hair: Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo

I find it nearly impossible to find shampoo that will give my curls a good lather without leaving it feeling stripped and dry afterward, but Tracee Ellis Ross found a way with this creamy shampoo from Pattern. I'm a fan of several formulas from the textured hair-care line, but this is hands down one of the best shampoos for curly hair I've ever used. The formula hydrates and cleanses my hair and scalp without the use of harsh sulfates, and instead incorporates moisture-rich ingredients like aloe vera, leaf juice, coconut oil, and honey—along with a subtle scent of jasmine, bergamot, and sandalwood. I love. —Erin Parker, commerce writer