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Useful Tropical Plants

Aquilaria crassna

Pierre ex Lecomte

Thymelaeaceae

+ Synonyms

Aquilaria crasna Pierre

Common Name: Agar Wood

Aquilaria crassna
Ripening fruits
Photograph by: Nha Le Hoan
Creative Commons License
Aquilaria crassna Aquilaria crassna Aquilaria crassna

General Information

Agar wood is an evergreen tree with an open crown; usually growing 15 - 20 metres tall but with exceptional specimens to 30 metres[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. The bole is 40 - 60cm in diameter, exceptionally to 100cm[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
The aromatic resin obtained from this tree is one of the most famous and most expensive on the planet. It has a very long history of use in religious ceremonies, at funerals etc in the Orient and is widely sought after as an ingredient in perfumery. Commonly harvested from the wild, it is also to some extent cultivated; it is frequently planted around temples, houses and home gardens, whilst large scale industrial plantations have been initiated in Vietnam[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
Exploitation of the diseased wood for the perfume industry has resulted in population declines in Vietnam exceeding 80% over recent years[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. There is a strong indication that the same losses are occurring in the rest of Indo-China[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. Based mainly on the situation in Vietnam, this species is classified as 'Critically Endangered' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2011)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.

Range

Southeast Asia - Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.

Habitat

Scattered in primary and secondary forests on rocky, shallow ferralitic soil, often along the sides of streams, at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
,
598
Title
Trees of Laos and Vietnam - A Field Guide to 100 species.
Publication
 
Author
Hoang Van Sam; Khamseng Nanthavong; Kessler P.J.A.
Publisher
Blumea
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed guide, with excellent line-drawings, to 100 of the more important trees of Laos and Vietnam. A very good work, giving lots of information about each plant. Originally published in the magazine Blumea, it available as a PDF on the Internet.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusCritically Endangered
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height20.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the moist tropics, where it is found mainly at elevations from 300 - 900 metres[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime annual temperatures are in the range 22 - 28°c, though it can tolerate 14 - 40°c[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
]. The absolute minimum temperature it experiences is 5°c[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
]. It is found in areas where the mean annual rainfall ranges from 1,500 - 6,500mm, with a dry season ranging from 0 - 4 months[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].
Requires a sunny position according to some reports[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
,
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
], whilst others say that it can tolerate some shade[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
]. Young plants grow well in some shade, but require more light as they grow larger[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
,
598
Title
Trees of Laos and Vietnam - A Field Guide to 100 species.
Publication
 
Author
Hoang Van Sam; Khamseng Nanthavong; Kessler P.J.A.
Publisher
Blumea
Year
2004
ISBN
 
Description
A detailed guide, with excellent line-drawings, to 100 of the more important trees of Laos and Vietnam. A very good work, giving lots of information about each plant. Originally published in the magazine Blumea, it available as a PDF on the Internet.
].
Trees have to be at least 15 - 20 years old before they produce deposits of the aromatic resin known as agar wood or eagle wood[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
Three closely related species of Aquilaria are considered to be the major sources of agar wood and are distinguished by the length of their calyx lobes:-
Aquilaria crassna, which comes from Indo-China, has lobes 12 - 15mm long.
Aquilaria malaccensis, from India, and Malaysia has lobes 2 - 3mm long.
Aquilaria sinensis, from China, has lobes 8mm long.

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The root has medicinal uses[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Agar wood, or the resin contained in it, is stomachic and tranquilizing[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide range of mental illnesses, it is a remedy for nervous disorders such as neurosis, obsessive behaviour and exhaustion and is believed to drive evil spirits away[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
]. It is also used to treat asthma, chest congestion, colic, diarrhoea, diuretic, kidney problems, nausea, thyroid cancer, and lung tumours[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
,
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Initial trial results in Cambodia have shown that the tree is easy to plant and very suitable for planting under the canopies of mixed stands[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].

Other Uses

Agar wood is the rare and famous, resin-containing heartwood that is produced mainly from old and diseased trees of several members of this genus[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
]. In trade a distinction between the wood from these species is rarely made[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The fragrance produced by the burning agar wood has been highly valued for thousands of years, and its use as incense for ceremonial purposes in Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism is widespread throughout eastern and southern Asia. In Thailand it is put into funeral pyres, while in Japan, the incense is used in tea ceremonies[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Wood only partly saturated with resin but still fragrant, and occasionally also the wood remaining after distillation, is made into sticks called 'joss-sticks' or 'agarbattis' which are burnt as incense[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
The incense is also used as an insect repellent[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

Agar-wood oil is an essential oil obtained by water and steam distillation of agar wood. It is used in luxury perfumery for application in e.g. oriental and woody-aldehydic bases, ‘chypres’ and ‘fougères’. It produces interesting odour notes with clove oil, e.g. in carnation bases. The oil is so rare and expensive that it is only produced on request[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Agar-wood oil is a yellow to dark amber, viscous liquid with a characteristic balsamic and woody odour. Its aroma has some resemblance with vetiverol or styrax and has a sweetness similar to that of sandalwood oil. Its odour is long-lasting and exhibits a good tenacity in applications[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].

The roots are used for incense and cosmetics[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

A fibre is obtained from the bark[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
]. It is used for hammock making, clothing articles and paper pulp[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].

The wood is soft and very fragrant, consisting of irregular patches of dark wood in which heavily scented oleoresins are concentrated[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
]. Undamaged wood that is only lightly fragrant is used for general furniture, round wood, plywood, posts, stakes, sawn or hewn building timbers, for light construction, carpentry/joinery, containers, crates, musical instruments etc[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].
The wood is sometimes used for fuel and charcoal[
404
Title
Digital Compendium of Forestry Species of Cambodia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com
Publisher
www.digitalspecies.blogspot.com; Phnom Penh
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
A very detailed booklet, produced in PDF format on the internet, giving information on around 100 species of trees.
].

Propagation

Seed - it has a very short viability of less than 10 weeks and needs to be sown as soon as possible after harvesting[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
]. No pre-treatment is required. Sow in a nursery seedbed, only just covering the seed and leaving the tail above soil level. Germination usually starts within 10 days and can be spread over one month[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
Root cuttings are easy if rooting hormones are used[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].
Air layering works well if rooting hormones are used[
325
Title
Seed Leaflets
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://en.sl.life.ku.dk/Publikationer/Udgivelser/PopulaerPublikationer.aspx?katid={D28373CC-6EF3-4EF8-B097-6D83FABF209E}&serieid={9F1C3DB1-6E7B-4CF1-AF53-F480B0CB40EF}&sort=title
Publisher
Forest & Landscape. Denmark
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A series of leaflets, jointly produced by the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, focussing on seed information for a number species, but also giving a lot of other information about each plant.
].

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