Many people associate the smell of freshly cut grass with carefree summer days. But why does freshly cut grass smell good to us, and where does the smell come from? Scientists have recently studied the phenomenon and discovered that the pleasing odor of freshly cut grass is actually the result of chemicals released by the grass to indicate distress.
When plants are damaged, whether by a hungry caterpillar or the blades of a lawnmower, they send out a distress signal by producing a type of defense protein called jasmonic acid. This not only makes the plant less appetizing to caterpillars, but it also attracts parasitic wasps that lay eggs inside the caterpillars. In this way, the plant ensures its eventual rescue from the caterpillars. Interestingly, the same reaction occurs when grass is cut. The scent of fresh cut grass is a result of the plant's defense mechanism.
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