Information submited: 2014-09-17 Modified: 2018-06-04 By: 1
Boswellia Sacra (Frankincense) is a tree in the Burseraceae family. It is the primary tree in the genus Boswellia from which Frankincense, a resinous dried sap, is harvested. It is native to the Arabian Peninsula (Oman, Yemen), and northeastern Africa (Somalia).

Individual trees growing on steep slopes tend to develop some buttressing that extends from the roots up into the base of the stem. This forms a sort of cushion that adheres to the rock and ensures a certain stability. The trees start producing resin when they are about 8 to 10 years old.

The resin is extracted by making a small, shallow incision on the trunk or branches of the tree or by removing a portion of the crust of it. The resin is drained as a milky substance that coagulates in contact with air and is collected by hand.

Trees in the narrow fog-laden zone where the desert meets Dhofar mountain range, a region known as the Nejd, grow extremely slowly and produce very high quality resin in large, white clumps. Not surprisingly, Omanis and other Gulf State Arabs consider this to be superior to all other resins produced in North and Northeast Africa, India, and Asia, and it is priced accordingly.

Standard Frankincense resins produce beautiful bright citrus aroma with slight underlying woody and balsamic tones. Of the Frankincense resins from Oman, Hojary is the most sought after of all.

Frankincense is mentioned in the Bible as one of the three types of gifts the wise men gave to the young child Jesus. Historical and archaeological evidence strongly suggest that the Frankincense given to the Christ child was either the prized Boswellia carteri species, of African origin, or the more highly prized Boswellia Sacra, of Arabian origin.

The lost city of Ubar, sometimes identified with Irem in what is now the town of Shisr in Oman, is believed to have been a center of the Frankincense trade along the recently rediscovered "Incense Road". Ubar was rediscovered in the early 1990s and is now under archaeological excavation.

For nearly 5,000 years, the resin from the Boswellia tree was considered Arabia’s most precious commodity. The allure of Frankincense enticed adventurers from afar who sought the irresistible resin, and the FrankincenseTrail in Oman’s Dhofar region was purportedly visited by the notable explorers Marco Polo and Lawrence of Arabia.
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