Boswellia papyrifera

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Typical habitat (Giba River gorge in Ethiopia) with, at left, a flowering Boswellia papyrifera tree

Boswellia papyrifera
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Burseraceae
Genus: Boswellia
B. papyrifera
Binomial name
Boswellia papyrifera
(Delile ex Caill.) Hochst., 1843
  • Amyris papyrifera Delile ex Caill.
  • Boswellia occidentalis Engl.

Boswellia papyrifera, also known as the Sudanese frankincense,[2] is a species of flowering plant and frankincense that is native to Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan. The tree is cultivated in Ethiopia because of its valuable resin. The incense smoke is characterized by a fresh lemon-pine scent,[3] and is therefore highly esteemed. In Ethiopia where it is called itan zaf,[4] it comes in semi-translucent yellow tears. The gum resin of Boswellia papyrifera coming from Ethiopia, Sudan and E. Africa is believed to be the main source of frankincense of antiquity.[5]

Chemical constituents[edit]

In studies conducted on the chemical properties of the oleo-gum resin of B. papyrifera, it was shown to contain a high concentration of octyl acetate (57.1–65.7%) and N-octanol (3.4–8.8%), the former accounting for its citric note. The species also contain diterpenes and nortriterpenes; the methanol extracts specifically consisting of the following diterpenes: incensole, incensyl acetate and verticilla-4(20),7,11-triene). It also contained the following triterpenes: β-amyrin, α-amyrin, β-amyrenone, and α-amyrenone. The oleogum resin also contained nortriterpenes (24-noroleana-3,12-diene and 24-norursa-3,12-diene) and α-boswellic acid.[6]


  1. ^ "Boswellia papyrifera". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. ^ Äthiopischer Weihrauch (Ethiopian incense)
  3. ^ "Ethiopian Oils and Resins". Archived from the original on 2017-02-16. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  4. ^ Agroforestry in Ethiopia Archived 2017-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, bottom of p. 3.
  5. ^ Tucker, Arthur O. (October 1986). "Frankincense and myrrh". Economic Botany. 40 (4): 425–433. doi:10.1007/BF02859654. S2CID 12460227.
  6. ^ Bekana, D.; Kebede, T.; Assefa, M.; Kassa, H. (2014). "Comparative Phytochemical Analyses of Resins of Boswellia Species (B. papyrifera (Del.) Hochst., B. neglecta S. Moore, and B. rivae Engl.) from Northwestern, Southern, and Southeastern Ethiopia". ISRN Analytical Chemistry. 2014: 1–9. doi:10.1155/2014/374678.