The Newsletter 45 Autumn 2007

Agarwood: the life of a wounded tree

Gerard A. Persoon

<p>Agarwood is the infected wood of the Aquilaria tree. Called &lsquo;the wood of the Gods&rsquo;, its uses range from incense for religious ceremonies, perfume for the Arabic world, medicinal wine in Korea and ornamental functions in China. As a healthy tree the Aquilaria is worth next to nothing, but wounded its defence mechanisms produce agarwood and the tree becomes a valuable commodity. Gerard Persoon goes in search of the natural and social life of a wounded tree.</p>