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Offline Jason.Wike

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growing frankincense?
« on: February 26, 2011, 01:04:05 PM »
I'm curious if anyone here has ever grown Frankincense trees?

I know Boswellia Sacra, the species that the incense used in the church has historically been derived from, will not grow well in most places where it can be cold for prolonged periods. I am thinking of trying to grow some Boswellia Serrata which is an Indian species which can deal with more cool weather and shouldn't just die where I live (it comes from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which supposedly have periods of the year where it is as cold as it is here).

Also I'm curious if any Indian Orthodox can answer, do your churches use frankincense and do you use the native Indian Frankincense or the African/Arabian sort?
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 01:06:56 PM by Jason.Wike »

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2011, 01:33:16 PM »
You can tell your life has taken some sorta turn when questions you read on the internet about backyard botany begin to revolve around frankincense.
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Offline Jason.Wike

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2011, 01:36:10 PM »
You can tell your life has taken some sorta turn when questions you read on the internet about backyard botany begin to revolve around frankincense.

Is that good or bad?  :laugh:

Offline Punch

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2011, 06:53:29 PM »
I'm curious if anyone here has ever grown Frankincense trees?

I know Boswellia Sacra, the species that the incense used in the church has historically been derived from, will not grow well in most places where it can be cold for prolonged periods. I am thinking of trying to grow some Boswellia Serrata which is an Indian species which can deal with more cool weather and shouldn't just die where I live (it comes from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh which supposedly have periods of the year where it is as cold as it is here).

Also I'm curious if any Indian Orthodox can answer, do your churches use frankincense and do you use the native Indian Frankincense or the African/Arabian sort?

I hope that you have better luck with growing Frankincense than I have getting Myrrh out of my Icons!  ;)
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline blackincense

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2011, 12:28:48 AM »
Dear Jason,
(and others, I hope you will forgive the more serious response I give...I appreciated your humour!  Good on ya!)

to answer your question - growing a boswellia tree in your native land is probably not only "problematic" but next to impossible.  I would need to know the following in order to answer your question fully:

1.  Your exact country/continent/location.
2.  Your daily routine.

WHY your daily routine?  Because cultivating boswellia, or similar trees is a problematic and difficult process in itself that requires a full time commitment.  You simply can't do it on a part-time basis. 

Re: your question about Indian Orthodox Christians - they use the Indian frankincense locally available.  to import from Ethiopia, Somalia, or Oman would be ridiculously expensive for them. Imagine this:  Slumdog Millionaire - when the movie came out it was approx. 20 rupees to the dollar.  That meant, that the contestant had to reach ....well, okay, you get the picture...
They can't afford Omani...heck, even Americans can't afford true, Omani frankincense at the current exchange rates/shipping rates.  I refuse to import it, simply because its purchase supports terrorism.  Gotta consider all this too, buddy....

You can try to grow it in your backyard and I wish you well doing it, and would be happy to send tips on it.  But I have to tell you, unless you are in new Mexico, or Arizona, you will be unhappy with the results.  Boswellia does not do well in less arid climes. 

Best wishes in Christ,
Columbina
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Offline Byron

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2011, 04:19:29 AM »
Dear Jason,
(and others, I hope you will forgive the more serious response I give...I appreciated your humour!  Good on ya!)

to answer your question - growing a boswellia tree in your native land is probably not only "problematic" but next to impossible.  I would need to know the following in order to answer your question fully:

1.  Your exact country/continent/location.
2.  Your daily routine.

WHY your daily routine?  Because cultivating boswellia, or similar trees is a problematic and difficult process in itself that requires a full time commitment.  You simply can't do it on a part-time basis. 

Re: your question about Indian Orthodox Christians - they use the Indian frankincense locally available.  to import from Ethiopia, Somalia, or Oman would be ridiculously expensive for them. Imagine this:  Slumdog Millionaire - when the movie came out it was approx. 20 rupees to the dollar.  That meant, that the contestant had to reach ....well, okay, you get the picture...
They can't afford Omani...heck, even Americans can't afford true, Omani frankincense at the current exchange rates/shipping rates.  I refuse to import it, simply because its purchase supports terrorism.  Gotta consider all this too, buddy....

You can try to grow it in your backyard and I wish you well doing it, and would be happy to send tips on it.  But I have to tell you, unless you are in new Mexico, or Arizona, you will be unhappy with the results.  Boswellia does not do well in less arid climes. 

Best wishes in Christ,
Columbina
Master Perfumer/Incense Maker
Botanist

Hi Columbina,
Is it possible to say that frankincense from a certain country is more highly prized than others and why?

Also how does Omani frankincense support terrorism?

I'm curious as if i ever visit Oman on the way to Europe i would be interested in picking up some frankincense or even the famous Amouage perfume (for the wife ocourse) which i believe also contains frank. essence.

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2011, 02:24:09 PM »
Dear Jason,
(and others, I hope you will forgive the more serious response I give...I appreciated your humour!  Good on ya!)

to answer your question - growing a boswellia tree in your native land is probably not only "problematic" but next to impossible.  I would need to know the following in order to answer your question fully:

1.  Your exact country/continent/location.
2.  Your daily routine.

WHY your daily routine?  Because cultivating boswellia, or similar trees is a problematic and difficult process in itself that requires a full time commitment.  You simply can't do it on a part-time basis.  

Re: your question about Indian Orthodox Christians - they use the Indian frankincense locally available.  to import from Ethiopia, Somalia, or Oman would be ridiculously expensive for them. Imagine this:  Slumdog Millionaire - when the movie came out it was approx. 20 rupees to the dollar.  That meant, that the contestant had to reach ....well, okay, you get the picture...
They can't afford Omani...heck, even Americans can't afford true, Omani frankincense at the current exchange rates/shipping rates.  I refuse to import it, simply because its purchase supports terrorism.  Gotta consider all this too, buddy....

You can try to grow it in your backyard and I wish you well doing it, and would be happy to send tips on it.  But I have to tell you, unless you are in new Mexico, or Arizona, you will be unhappy with the results.  Boswellia does not do well in less arid climes.  

Best wishes in Christ,
Columbina
Master Perfumer/Incense Maker
Botanist

Hi Columbina,
Is it possible to say that frankincense from a certain country is more highly prized than others and why?

Also how does Omani frankincense support terrorism?

I'm curious as if i ever visit Oman on the way to Europe i would be interested in picking up some frankincense or even the famous Amouage perfume (for the wife ocourse) which i believe also contains frank. essence.



Hello brother in Christ Byron,

To answer your questions in order:

Q:  Is it possible to say that frankincense from a certain country is more highly prized than others and why?
In general, the answer is yes - Omani is considered the most highly prized.  However, these types of statements are rather subjective in the industry.  As a whole, the industry routinely recognizes Omani as "the finest" because it's scent is so very light.  For myself I prefer Ethiopian (black) for it's potency.
Also, we would have to consider that every country that produces frankincense has a natural tendency to believe that theirs is "the best".  This is human nature.  ;)

Q:  
Also how does Omani frankincense support terrorism?
This is a difficult question to answer in a short space here /forum such as this.  But the short answer is:  many of the harvest fields are owned by companies/wealthy families that are well known to support groups such as Al Q.  (I do not even wish to spell out their name as it gags me to do so.)  and other groups that routinely target Christians in the Balkans, Egypt and other places in the middle east.  It is a very complicated business and there are similar issues involving Somalian frankincense.  Lately, this is also true of frankincense and myrrh that is coming out of Eritrea where Christians are routinely murdered for the Faith.  (See inchainsforchrist.org)  What I am referring to in general, is the bulk import/export of these resins.  This is big business and big money, much of which unfortunately goes to buy guns that are then used to kill human beings.  

I import black Ethiopian frankincense and myrrh from Ethiopian monks who harvest it in Church operated/owned groves.  I prefer to support our fellow Christians. 

In response to your comment about visiting Oman - yes of course, you would want to sample it and buy some as individual---and I have no quarrel with that at all.   Importing it in bulk is another matter.   Additionally, the perfume you mention is very lo0vely and I am sure your wife would enjoy it...if I may make a suggestion also that follows the old adage:  "when in Rome..." ---if you find yourself in the middle east, do not hesitate to sample some of the bakhoor available there.  This is incense made by native Muslims in those regions.  They are very beautiful --- one can appreciate them, the scents themselves, and the art of making it without embracing Islam.  

Very warmest wishes in Christ,
C.


« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 02:36:15 PM by blackincense »

Offline Byron

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 03:49:06 AM »
Thank you very much for replying! Great to get info from an expert.
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Offline blackincense

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2011, 03:28:15 AM »
Thank you very much for replying! Great to get info from an expert.

God bless you.  You're welcome. I do try.  I don't often succeed, in explaining myself, but I do try, really I do.  Thank you so much for your patience and for even "listening" to what I had to say...I appreciated the conversation and the opportunity to share myself/my pursuits with you.  Pray for me, if you have a moment.

Warmest wishes in Christ,
C.

ps:  I forgot to mention one last thing for Jason the original questioner --- another thing I have to mention is that it takes literally YEARS  for boswellia to grow and develop to the point where it will give the resin/sap necessary that you are seeking.  Far easier to just buy it from someone you trust.  Otherwise, you will work and wait for at least 10 years before your first "harvest".  This does not even include the 9 months - 2 years it takes to "dry/cure" the "tears" you want to burn.  God bless you.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 03:31:12 AM by blackincense »

Offline Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2013, 01:34:32 PM »
Hi everyone! I'm an ethnobotanist who loves growing all sorts of exotic, rare, and interesting plants. So naturally when I read about frankincense I had to get some seeds and try to cultivate it myself, despite reading about how hard it is to grow. In fact, that only intrigued me more! I came across this thread while researching Boswellia sacra growing techniques. I actually made a account here so I could comment. haha

You can grow frankincense in any country if you grow it indoors. All you need is a good grow light and the right kind of soil. Most Boswellia sacra 'bloodlines' have low germination. I'm currently experimenting with increasing the germination rates by using gibberillic acid, a plant growth regulator.
So far the results are inconclusive. Without gibberilic acid I had a 13.33% germination rate. Not bad considering most people have around a 0-5% germ rate. I'm also experimenting with different soil mixes to see which one is best. I'm using different mixes of cedar mulch, soil, coarse sand, fine sand, marble stones, limestone pellets, and perlite. I read that soils low in N-P-K and relatively high in salts produce the best tears. Theoretically, a sand comprised mostly of limestone, marble stones, and a small amount of organic matter such as mulch or soil should be the optimal mix for an adult plant. However, I'm finding that seedlings need higher amounts of organic matter. Much to my surprise, my test seeding in my soil - fine sand - perlite mix is growing the fastest.

Hypothetically, resin from the 3rd cut on a tree that is mature and growing in low N-P-K soil with relatively high salt right before the rainy season *should* have the best oil with a higher concentration of oils that other trees at different times of year in different conditions.

If anyone has any questions or comments I would love to hear them. :)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 01:35:00 PM by Sunshine »

Offline Keble

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2013, 06:56:07 PM »
I'm quite interested to hear that.

I have made several attempts to grow labdanum (botanically Cistus laudanifer). The seeds are quite easy to germinate but keeping them growing here has proven challenging. They are particularly susceptible to mealybugs, for one thing.

Offline Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 07:50:09 PM »
Ah! I HATE mealy bugs.
There are a lot of natural pesticides you could use. Namely garlic oil, thyme oil, and clove oil. Mealy bugs DESTROYED my theobroma cacao seedlings. :(

Offline Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2013, 03:40:36 AM »

I transplanted it. I was careful as to not disturb the tiny fragile root system.

Offline Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2013, 12:07:14 AM »
It is still growing strong after being re-potted. I started a new batch of seeds. So far 3 have sprouted. The key to getting them to sprout and stay alive is keeping them in a humidity dome and keeping the humidity as close to 100% as possible. You don't need a professional greenhouse. Things like old fish tanks or take out containers will work just fine to keep them moist and humid. I hypothesize that they may be light activated, just as many cactus are. My reasoning comes from the fact that both cacti and Boswellia grow in desert or desert-like environments.

I purchased a milligram scale, some 6-Benzylaminopurine, gibberillic acid crystals, and some 3-indole butyric acid (in both powder and gel form).

For those of you who do not know what those things are, I will take a second to explain. Plants produce different levels of growth regulators depending on what stage of growth they are in or what species of plant they are. They usually produce these regulators in relatively miniscule amounts.(Exception to the rule;willow shoots contain high amounts of salicylic acid; a rooting growth regulator)

These growth regulators, sometimes referred to as 'plant hormones'are very potent so they need to be weighed using a milligram scale and diluted in solution. Generally speaking, these growth regulators, or hormones, if you will, are diluted and measured in ppm(parts per million).

Gibberillic acid(abbreviated as GA3) is a naturally occurring plant hormone which is used in a wide array of applications. It is commonly used to 'wake up' seeds which are otherwise dormant. Seeds which require cold stratification, scarification, or others which just naturally have a low germination rate can be treated with GA3 to greatly increase the germination rate. It also 'cancels out' the effect of abscisic acid contained in the seed.(abscisic acid keeps the seed from germinating during warm periods in winter.)

GA3 is also used to treat food crops such as grapes because it encourages cell division in the fruits. Next time you are looking at grapes in the market check to see if the grapes are large and elongated. Chances are good that if they look like that then they have been treated with GA3.

Don't start freaking out now!!! Plants produce this chemical naturally and it has been consumed by people for thousands of years. It is relatively safe when consumed in the amounts naturally found in plants and in amounts found on the grapes and other produce found in the market. Produce suppliers do not need to tell you the produce contains it because it is naturally occurring.

Normally, GA3 is used anywhere from 100-1500ppm. This is a broad range. Some species of seeds require more for it to be effective, others require less. While one see may be burned by a 1500ppm concentration, another may handle it just fine. In any case, it is best to start with a mid-low range concentration and adjust accordingly. 200-500ppm is a good starting range. Here is a youtube video of a boy who did experiments using GA3 on beets. You can clearly see that plant that was treated with both GA3 and nutrients had much lusher growth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whhLH6A3aD0

6-Benzylaminopurine(Abbreviated as 6-BAP) is another naturally occurring plant growth regulator. It is most commonly used to suppress the effects on the lower branches of the auxin produced by the apical tip. An apical tip is the top growing tip of the plant where new leaves sprout from. The apical tip produces this plant growth regulator called auxin, which suppresses the growth of the lower branches. A plant only has so much energy it can use to grow. Auxin helps the plant by suppressing the growth of the lower branches so that the apical tip that is growing the best can mature.

The exact mechanism of action of 6-BAP has not been thoroughly researched and as a result is not entirely understood. However, it is clear that it overrides or cancels out the effects of auxin in some way. When 6-BAP is applied to lower apical tips, or branches, if you will, it cancels out the effect of the auxin produced by the top apical tip and allows the plant to put energy into them. Plant treated with 6-BAP will look more bushy as a result and less 'tree-like' so to speak. 6-BAP is commonly applied to the areoles(spike nodes) on cactus in the form of a gel, rather than a solution, to encourage pupping(when the cacti puts out babies...awwe ;)). On other more leafy plants it is applied directly to the lower apical tips in solution form.

3-indole butyric acid is another very well known plant growth regulator. In short, it is a rooting hormone.

If anyone is interested in hearing more about plant growth regulators and how I plan to use them please let me know. It is a lot to type, especially from memory, and I'd like to hear at least one person is interested and that my words aren't falling on deaf ears before typing more.

Peace and Love
-Sunshine
 


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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2013, 03:54:02 PM »
This is fascinating stuff.  I look forward to reading more of your progress.
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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2013, 04:14:01 PM »
Thanks for the update.
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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2013, 06:19:15 PM »
Wow. Good luck with it!
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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2013, 07:04:43 AM »
Just to let everyone know, if you want some high quality Orthodox incense at a very affordable price, blackincense (Columbina) makes some of the best incense around!!! I've been very blessed by it. Support your fellow Orthodox artisan. She makes her incense with much prayer and love. :)


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Offline Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2013, 11:57:07 PM »
I ended up planting another batch of around 15 seeds and got 4 to sprout. I noticed they look a lot greener than the one that I repotted. I think it may be stressed due to being repotted/low humidity. I'm going to apply some 500ppm GA3 solution to it. I will keep you all updated.

Another option is spraying it with some absisic(sp?) acid solution. If I remember correctly it has the effect of making plants more drought resistant/hardy.

More to come...

Peace and Love
Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #19 on: December 21, 2014, 03:07:51 AM »
---BUMP---

Hoping for updates. :)
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Offline Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2015, 06:42:47 PM »
I wish I had good news but.....

They became stunted and never grew. I still have a few seeds laying around which I'll plant once spring comes back around. I think that they require high humidity which was hindered by the terra cotta pots sucking up all the water like a sponge. I also think they are one of the many plants that needs to be planted in a big pot and not transplanted or it they will become stunted.

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2015, 04:14:06 AM »
I wish I had good news but.....

They became stunted and never grew. I still have a few seeds laying around which I'll plant once spring comes back around. I think that they require high humidity which was hindered by the terra cotta pots sucking up all the water like a sponge. I also think they are one of the many plants that needs to be planted in a big pot and not transplanted or it they will become stunted.

What a shame.  When you say they requie high humidity, is that just for the soil?  Don't frankincense trees tend to grow in areas with a much drier climate?
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Offline Sunshine

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2015, 05:52:58 AM »
I mean air humidity. I think they may 'dampen off' if too much moisture is present in the soil. Some plants are just weird like that. They can handle high air humidity but not high soil moisture. *shrugs*

I think I'll just plant the ones I have left in some plain old potting soil in a big plastic pot with some saran wrap on top. I'm thinking about just giving it one good initial watering and then just misting from then on out with once in a blue mood light watering to keep the soil from drying out completely.

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Re: growing frankincense?
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2017, 02:08:20 PM »
A very interesting article about a variety of frankincense that can withstand a very dry habitat.

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170101-how-frankincense-could-reshape-africa
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