Introduction of Agarwood

Introduction of Agarwood

A Gem in the Rough — Agarwood

A Gem in the Rough — Agarwood

Aquilaria malaccensis is a species of plant in the Thymelaeceae family found primarily in South East Asia, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia, China and Malaysia. It is recognized in many names, namely Agarwood, Jinkoh, Aloeswood, Gaharu, Eaglewood, and OUD. The term Agarwood, although widely used to refer to the members of the Aquilaria genus, more specifically refers to the resinous heartwood from the Aquilaria trees.

Chronicle

Reputed to be nature’s alchemy taking form, Agarwood has been lauded since the dawn of time as a gem in the rough; for religious affair, fragrance and medical treatment.
For many centuries, it is the most sought-after aromatic wood, for the multidimensional uses of Agarwood range from traditional, cultural to religious offerings; it is central to Buddhist rituals, highly revered within traditional medicine for its holistic effects, and it’s lasting, musky scent considered a luxurious cultural touchstone, used widely in Western homes as body oils, fragrance and the likes.
At a glance, the “Wood of the Gods” has at least a 3,000-year history, recorded in many ancient literatures and some of the earliest civilizations in Egypt, Middle East and East Asia. In China, Agarwood was first dated in the Miscellaneous Records of Famous Physicians (502-566 A.D.) as a top-grade wood and herb, and saw rapid development across the Tang and Five dynasties.
Today, the old saying originating from the Ming Dynasty that goes - “an inch of Agarwood is worth an inch of gold” no longer holds true. Instead, for its rarity, luxury, opulence, and exclusivity, Agarwood is now priced up to thrice as costly as gold, rendering it one of world’s most coveted commodities.

Habitat

Agarwood, a Semi-Parasite

Agarwood trees can be classified as semi-parasitic plants, for they have thousands and millions of suction cups lined up principally at root tips. These suction cups would adhere to other plants for the uptake of water and nutrients from the soil; they mainly thrive from surrounding’s elements.

Growing Conditions

Agarwood trees are slow-growing plants with maturing process of up to several decades. The Growth rate and degree of success of its cultivation of the fragrant wood are immensely dependent of soil, topography, climate, and proper handling.

Climate

Agarwood trees are found naturally in tropical forests, and are very sensitive to climate. Temperatures below 10 °C may engender their growth to remain dormant, and at subzero temperatures young Aquilaria saplings begin to wither and eventually die-off. Hence Agarwood trees are preferably cultivated at regions with an all-year tropical climate and avoiding regions susceptible to natural disasters such as typhoon.

Soil

Fertile soil alone may not be sufficient to cater to growing demands of Agarwood. The ideal foundation for cultivating Agarwood trees are soil that is enriched with symmetry micronutrients; stimulating direct absorption by Agarwood trees, thereby accelerate the maturity process.

Topography

Sun-loving Agarwood tree requires an adequate amount of sunlight for photosynthesis, essential for facilitating growth rates. A deep body of water is fatal to Agarwood tree; roots submerging in water lead to decay, a gradual withering process.

Host Plants

Due to the semi-parasitic nature of Agarwood trees; it entails a constant necessity of host plants.

A Protected and Endangered Species

A Protected and Endangered Species

Since the year of 1995, Agarwood-producing species is listed as a potentially threatened species of flora by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), due to the heavy decline of its natural population.

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