The agarwood Files
Copyright © Tony Burfield and Kendra Kirkham
Agarwood (gaharu, gahuru) and derived commodities thereof are known by a confusing variety of other names: it is probably the original Lignum-aloes mentioned in the Bible (Proverbs 7:17, Psalms 45:8, Song of Solomon 4:14, John 19: 39), although this is disputed. Agarwood qualities (from A. malaccensis unless indicated) are also variously named agar (Burma, Assam), aloeswood (En.), bois d’aigle (Fr.), columnback (Fr.), calambac (Fr.), calambour (Fr.), eaglewood (En.), ki karas (Sudan), karas (Malaysia), lignum rhodium, mengkaras (Sumatra), oud, tengkaras (Malaysia), xylaloes etc. etc.
In Cambodia the names chan krassna & klampeok are used (for Aquliaria crassna), in E. Thailand kritsaana, whilst ky nam is used in Vietnam (again for A. crassna). In Sanskrit: agaru, rajarah, kilijiya and jishvarupa. In Hindi: agar. In Tamil: agaru, krishnagaru. In Bengali: agaru. In Malayalam: kayagharu. In Telegu: krishnagharu. In Papua gaharu-buaya is associated with Aetoxylon sympetalum. Gaharu sirsak (W. Papua) is associated with Wikstroemia polyantha and gaharu cengkeh (W. Papua) with Wikstroemia tenuiramis. Differences in the spelling of these names can give further variations. Cropwatch will use gaharu by default, although individual workers may not use this term.
Gaharu is a scented product obtained from
a pathological condition of the wood of standing trees of certain
Aquilaria species (Fam. Thymelaeaceae), and exceptionally, perhaps, of
Aquilaria trees buried underneath the ground for considerable
periods. The condition is probably brought on by fungal infection, or by
external wounding (or by both) – see Microbiology section below. Agarwood
is traded in the form of wood chips, powder/dust, oil or extracts for
perfumery or incense use; It has been estimated that 2000 tons/annum of
gaharu is traded through Singapore (Yamada 1995). Gaharu is also obtained
via species from other related genera of the Thymelaeaceae e.g.
Gyrinops, Gonystylus, Aetoxylon, Phaleria and maybe Enkleia
and Wikstroemia etc.
|Please see Agarwood Bibliography at the end of Agarwood files Database database for references.|