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Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

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 Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata
Family: Burseraceae
Frankincense, Olibanum Tree
Origin: Northeastern Africa
CaudexSmall tree 10-20 ftFull sunModerate waterDry conditionsYellow/orange flowersEthnomedical plant.
Plants marked as ethnomedical and/or described as medicinal, are not offered as medicine but rather as ornamentals or plant collectibles.
Ethnomedical statements / products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We urge all customers to consult a physician before using any supplements, herbals or medicines advertised here or elsewhere.Deciduous

Boswellia sacra is the primary tree in the genus Boswellia from which frankincense, a resinous dried sap, is harvested.

Boswellia sacra is a tree with papery, peeling bark and leaves clustered at the ends of tangled branches. It has compound leaves and an odd number of leaflets, which grow opposite to one another along its branches. Its tiny flowers, a yellowish white, are gathered in axillary clusters composed of five petals, ten stamens and a cup with five teeth. Boswellia Sacra trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that they sometimes grow out of solid rock. The initial means of attachment to the rock is unknown but is accomplished by a bulbous disk-like swelling of the trunk.


Similar plants:

 Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

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Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

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Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

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Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

Click to see full-size image
Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

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Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

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Boswellia sacra, Boswellia carteri, Boswellia undulato crenata, Frankincense, Olibanum Tree

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Bob Flowers
Queen Creek, AZ
USDA Zone:8-1
28 Jan 2015
Boswellia sacra is difficult to grow from seed, but is foolishly easy to grow from cuttings. The problem is overthinking it. Just as you would cut off a geranium and poke it 3 inches into moist soil, (or Hibiscus rosa sinensis, for that matter) Cut off a shoot about the thickness of a pencil, about 8 inches long, clip off all the leaflets on the lower half entirely, cut off all but the innermost 3/8 inch of remaining leaflets on the rest of the plant, up to the apex bud (do not cut the bud). Poke it several inches into a pot with moist soil & Keep the soil moist but not soggy, just like you would for a Hibiscus cutting. In 5 weeks, it will either be dead, or showing evidence of new growth. Best time of year to pot cuttings is late May thru September in a climate like Mesa, Arizona. Grow in shade, such as an overhanging porch with protection from direct sun for the first year. Bring them indoors thru the winter frost, but occasionally water. (Indoors, they may keep their leaves thru the winter.) After 2 years in a pot, the roots will have changed from hairlike filiments to fattened tuberlike structures branching to smaller roots. They may be repotted and grown until the trunk is at least the diameter of your little finger to the diameter of your thumb, then planted in full sun. Again, keep well watered for the first full year in the ground. It will probably bloom after the first year even as a cutting in a pot (from seeds this takes about 7 years to first bloom). Frost will cause die-back and the bark is sucullent, so covering plants with Christmas lights and a blanket until danger of frost is past will help. Seeds are usually about 3 to 8 percent viable, but keep for a few years. Use cuttings when possible and knock 7 years of waiting out of the picture. A 14 year old yard specimen grew to 8 ft tall before a hard winter freeze reduced it to a stump. Nevertheless, it recovered enough after 2 years to cut off the dead wood and even take new cuttings to pot for rooting. New bark regrowth occurred between the dead bark and the outer sapwood, so don't cut off winter killed branches too soon! Boswellias do not like frost: the bark is like prickley pear cactus flesh wrapped around a hardwood trunk, the papery bark does offer a bit of cold protection to mature plants. Do not consider tapping any plant younger than 10 years old, but if a cat claws the bark, the dry resin is fair game afterwards.


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