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Shallaki - Boswellia serrata

Sallaki, Salai guggul, Indian Olibanum, Indian Frankincense

Trees in this family (Burseraceae) are well known for their aromatic resins, which have been used as incense and traded for over 6000 years. The Frankincense mentioned in the Bible is also a species of Boswellia. Other plants in the family which give aromatic resin are Guggulu - Commiphora wightii and Kala dammar - Canarium strictum.

Plant description:

Boswellia serrata is a moderate sized to large deciduous tree that can easily be spotted in the forest because of its peeling papery bark. The bark peels off in large flakes that can be white to shades of brown and red. The leaves are pinnate - pairs of leaflets attached along a stalk which can be up to 25 cm long, crowded at the ends of branches. Tiny white bell shaped flowers appear at the tips of branches when the tree is leafless. The fruits are small capsules with three ridges. They split open on maturity to release tiny brown winged seeds. The crown of the tree is open and airy and has a pleasing appearance. The bark when injured exudes a fragrant resin, which has various uses and is heavily harvested by the locals.