Similar to the word 'petrichor' in its purpose. I'm looking for a word/phrase that can be used to describe the smell of grass/pollen/trees/wood/earth essentially the outdoors.

Similar to the smell of a garden or wooded area in the summer or perhaps freshly mowed grass?

  • 2
    fragrance is generally used for prevailing smell in flower gardens. Oct 8 '15 at 6:13
  • 2
    Before the winter ploughing, Beauce is covered in manure as far as the eye can see. Under the pale September skies, from dawn till dusk, carts brimming with steaming piles of old litter would make their way slowly along country roads as though delivering heat itself to the land...a sort of heaving, surging, sea of manure from cowshed and stable...the whole future growth of spring was borne along on this fermenting flood of [decomposition]... And from one end of the vast plain to the other, you could smell the stench of all this animal excrement, from which man's daily bread would come.
    – WS2
    Oct 8 '15 at 6:58
  • 2
    The above is taken from the novel La Terre by Emile Zola (translated by Douglas Parmée), and is one of my favourite passages about the countryside. It doesn't supply you with a word but I think it says that fragrance may not be the one you are seeking as @JonyAgarwal suggests.
    – WS2
    Oct 8 '15 at 7:01
  • Aw, what's wrong with the (coined) word petrichoric?
    – Exal
    Oct 8 '15 at 9:11
  • @WS2 But I used it for flower GARDENS. That passage refers to a countryside farm. Oct 8 '15 at 9:59

It's not specifically olfactory, but I'd use Bucolic:

of or characteristic of the countryside or country life; rustic (-- Collins)

from The Daily Telegraph wine review, May 2014:

But I also remember the imprint of bewilderment: what is this extraordinary wine with such a distinctively pale garnet colour; that comes at you with the spooling fluidity of pinot noir, but which, in place of pinot’s fragrant nosegay of berries and cherry blossom, has a calmer, bucolic smell, very outdoorsy?

  • I like this one. Upvote.
    – user140086
    Oct 8 '15 at 8:15
  • Ooo this is very nice! Oct 8 '15 at 13:39

The "outdoors" smells like a lot of things! I can think of a words referring to various specific scents that recall being out in nature:

earthy, woodsy / woody, mossy, mildewed, moldy, pine, loamy, flowery, fresh. And more of a stretch: crisp, musky, animalic, sweet, heady (like 'the thick smell of nectar')

I mean, there is that something where you breathe "some fresh air" and just feel good, and I find the most evocative descriptions of it have to be phrases, usually by a damn good writer. For your perusal, here is an article devoted to petrichor perfumes with a couple cool descriptions.


Woodsy fragrance is broadly used to refer to the smell of forest.

Woodsy is defined in Merriam-Wesber:

relating to or suggesting the forest


I'd suggest pastoral fragrance.


  1. having the simplicity, charm, serenity, or other characteristics generally attributed to rural areas.

  2. pertaining to the country or life in the country; rural, rustic.

(Random House)

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.