Trunk of Commiphora wightii, photographed by Dinesh Valke.

Belongs within: Sapindales.

The Burseraceae are a pantropical family of trees and shrubs with light grey, flaky bark. They are commonly deciduous and produce fruit as drupes. Many species of Burseraceae produce scented resins, the most famous of which are frankincense (from Boswellia) and myrrh (from Commiphora myrrah).

Characters (from the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website): Trees or shrubs; oleoresins with mono- and bicyclic monoterpenes, triterpenes with ursane and oleanane components; bark often flaky, light grey; colorless to white resinous exudate common; ellagic acid present; nodes usually 5:5; sclereids in stem; indumentum very various; epidermis with mucilage cells; leaflets with margins often toothed, petiolules and petioles often pulvinate; dioecy common; calyx induplicate-valvate, more or less connate, corolla valvate; ventral carpel bundles fused bundles of adjacent placentae, style usually short; ovules 2/carpel, campylotropous, outer and inner integuments ca 4 cells across, nucellar cap quite massive, nucellus 6-12 cells across; fruit septifragal, drupe often angled, stone with valves, calyx deciduous; endotesta lignified, more or less tracheidal; embryo reserves hemicellulosic.

    |--Boswellia serrata H03, KJ05
    |--Dacryodes excelsa H03, SWK87
    |--Protium macgregorii H03, Cl78
    |--Santiria YY22
    |--Santiriopsis YY22
    |--Crepidospermum YY22
    |--Canariellum YY22
    |--Pachylobus YY22
    |--Scutinanthe YY22
    |--Tetragastris balsamifera YY22, SWK87
    |--Trattinickia YY22
    |--Aucoumea klaineana FGN07
    |--Bursericarpum angulatum Reid & Chandler 1933 CBH93
    |--Burserites fayettensis Berry 1924 CBH93
    |--Palaeobursera bognorensis Chandler 1961 CBH93
    |--Protocommiphora europaea Reid & Chandler 1933 CBH93
    |--Garuga Pau03
    |    |--C. floribunda Cl78
    |    `--C. pinnata Pau03
    |--Bursera MS06
    |    |--B. graveolens RJ11
    |    |--B. gummifera AP80
    |    |--B. hindsiana H93
    |    |--B. inaguensis MS06
    |    |--B. microphylla CG05
    |    |--B. serrata M72
    |    `--B. simaruba SWK87
    |--Canarium SR07
    |    |--C. australianum VT13
    |    |    |--C. a. var. australianum VT13
    |    |    |--C. a. var. glabrum VT13
    |    |    `--C. a. var. velutinum VT13
    |    |--C. hirsutum H03
    |    |--C. indicum Co78
    |    |--C. littorale J06
    |    `--C. strictum SR07
    `--Commiphora Par03 [incl. Neomangenotia T00]
         |--C. berryi Par03
         |--C. caudata Par03
         |--C. dinteri CV06
         |--C. giessii CV06
         |--C. kaokoensis CV06
         |--C. kraeuseliana CV06
         |--C. myrrah Par03
         |--C. saxicola CV06
         |--C. virgata CV06
         `--C. wightii (Arnott) Bhandari 1964 (see below for synonymy) Par03

Commiphora wightii (Arnott) Bhandari 1964 [=Balsamodendron wightii Arnott 1839; incl. B. mukul Hooker ex Stock 1849, Commiphora mukul (Hooker) Engl. in DC. 1883] Par03

*Type species of generic name indicated


[AP80] Andrews, K. L., & S. L. Poe. 1980. Spider mites of El Salvador, Central America (Acari: Tetranychidae). Florida Entomologist 63 (4): 502–505.

[Cl78] Clunie, N. M. U. 1978. The vegetation. In: Womersley, J. S. (ed.) Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea vol. 1 pp. 1–11. Melbourne University Press: Carlton South (Australia).

[Co78] Coode, M. J. E. 1978. Combretaceae. In: Womersley, J. S. (ed.) Handbooks of the Flora of Papua New Guinea vol. 1 pp. 43–110. Melbourne University Press: Carlton South (Australia).

[CG05] Cognato, A. I., N. E. Gillette, R. C. Bolaños & F. A. H. Sperling. 2005. Mitochondrial phylogeny of pine cone beetles (Scolytinae, Conophthorus) and their affiliation with geographic area and host. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 36: 494–508.

[CBH93] Collinson, M. E., M. C. Boulter & P. L. Holmes. 1993. Magnoliophyta (‘Angiospermae’). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 809–841. Chapman & Hall: London.

[CV06] Craven, P., & P. Vorster. 2006. Patterns of plant diversity and endemism in Namibia. Bothalia 36 (2): 175–189.

[FGN07] Fontaine, B., O. Gargominy & E. Neubert. 2007. Land snail diversity of the savanna/forest mosaic in Lopé National Park, Gabon. Malacologia 49 (2): 313–338.

[H03] Heads, M. 2003. Ericaceae in Malesia: vicariance biogeography, terrane tectonics and ecology. Telopea 10 (1): 311–449.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[J06] Johnstone, R. E. 2006. The birds of Gag Island, Western Papuan islands, Indonesia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 23 (2): 115–132.

[KJ05] Katewa, S. S., A. Jain, B. L. Chaudhary & P. Galav. 2005. Some unreported medicinal uses of plants from the tribal area of Southern Rajasthan. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 47: 121–130.

[M72] Mitra, S. N. 1972. Observations on the vegetation of the Upper Damodar catchment area. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (1): 17–25.

[MS06] Muellner, A. N., V. Savolainen, R. Samuel & M. W. Chase. 2006. The mahogany family "out-of-Africa": divergence time estimation, global biogeographic patterns inferred from plastid rbcL DNA sequences, extant, and fossil distribution of diversity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40 (1): 236–250.

[Par03] Parmar, P. J. 2003. Loss of Commiphora wightii (Arn.) Bhandari in Indian desert. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 77–90.

[Pau03] Paul, T. K. 2003. Botanical observations on the Purulia pumped storage hydropower project area, Bagmundi Hills, Purulia district, West Bengal. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 121–142.

[RJ11] Rising, J. D., A. Jaramillo, J. L. Copete, P. G. Ryan & S. C. Madge. 2011. Family Emberizidae (buntings and New World sparrows). In: Hoyo, J. del, A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds) Handbook of the Birds of the World vol. 16. Tanagers to New World Blackbirds pp. 428–683. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona.

[SR07] Sankar, R. V., K. Ravikumar, N. M. Ganesh Babu & D. K. Ved. 2007. Botany of Anapady MPCA, Palghat district, Kerala with special emphasis on species of conservation concern. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 165–172.

[SWK87] Snyder, N. F. R., J. W. Wiley & C. B. Kepler. 1987. The Parrots of Luquillo: Natural history and conservation of the Puerto Rican parrot. Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology: Los Angeles.

[T00] Thorne, R. F. 2000. The classification and geography of the flowering plants: dicotyledons of the class Angiospermae (subclasses Magnoliidae, Ranunculidae, Caryophyllidae, Dilleniidae, Rosidae, Asteridae, and Lamiidae). The Botanical Review 66: 441–647.

[VT13] Vigilante, T., J. Toohey, A. Gorring, V. Blundell, T. Saunders, S. Mangolamara, K. George, J. Oobagooma, M. Waina, K. Morgan & K. Doohan. 2013. Island country: aboriginal connections, values and knowledge of the Western Australian Kimberley islands in the context of an island biological survey. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 145–182.

[YY22] Yampolsky, C., & H. Yampolsky. 1922. Distribution of sex forms in the phanerogamic flora. Bibliotheca Genetica 3: 1–62.

Last updated: 8 August 2021.

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