“As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him.  They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”  (Matthew 2:11) 

A Christmas themed story in the news today concerns the demise of the Boswellia tree whose resin produces frankincense.  Under current rates of declines, projections indicate frankincense production being cut in half in the next 15 years due to droughts, fire, and beetle attacks.  Dr. Frans Bongers an ecologist from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, describes the research findings (link).

A nice description of frankincense, together with associated bible references and mention of the ancient trade routes is provided in Farrells Travel Blog, here and here.


P. Groenendijk, A. Eshete, F. J. Sterck, P. A. Zuidema and F. Bongers, Limitations to sustainable frankincense production: blocked regeneration, high adult mortality and declining populations, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2011, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.20111.02078.x