Essential-Oil Plants

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Essential-Oil Plants


plants raised for their volatile (essential) oil; a group of plants raised for industrial purposes. Essential-oil plants include annuals and perennials of various botanical families, for example, Umbelliferae (coriander, caraway, anise, fennel), Labiatae (mint, lavender, clary sage), Rosaceae (efirnomaslichnaia rose), Geraniaceae (rose geranium), Amaryllidaceae (tuberose), and Myrtaceae (eucalyptus). The group includes trees (eucalyptus), shrubs and subshrubs (rose, jasmine, lilac, lavender), and herbs (coriander, mint, geranium, tuberose).

Essential oil accumulates in the fruits (umbellifers), the green parts (mint, geranium, East Indian basil), the flowers and inflorescences (rose, lavender, tuberose, lilac), or the roots and rhizomes (iris, Vetiveria). Essential oil is also obtained from citrus fruits, dill, cultivated flowers (narcissus, hyacinth), wildflowers (dittany, rock-rose), and coniferous trees (pine, fir, cedar, larch).

Many essential-oil plants are grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Mint and several umbellifers, including coriander, are cultivated in temperate regions. The most important essential-oil plants are the rose, mint, lavender, and geranium. In 1977 essential-oil plants occupied more than 250,000 hectares in the USSR; plantings included coriander (more than 80 percent), mint, clary sage, rose, lavender, and rose geranium.

The essential oil content varies in different species. Coriander contains 0.2–1.4 percent essential oil, mint 1.3–3.5 percent, clary sage 0.17–0.25 percent, rose 0.12–0.15 percent, lavender 0.8–1.4 percent, and rose geranium 0.15–0.2 percent.


Efiromaslichnye kul’tury. Moscow, 1976.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.