The Genus Commiphora

by Rosario Douglas

commijphora multijuga

Commiphora multijuga. From Damaraland-Angola and Namibia in southern AfricaThis is one of 4 trees that has religious significance in the area.  Used in marriage, funerals and initiation ceremonies.  Elephants and small stock eat the leaves.  Taken from: Damaraland flora by Patricia Craven and Christine Marais

Commiphora is a genus in the family Burseraceae that has about 185 species of shrubs and trees.  These plants often have thorns.  Plants in this genus are found in Africa,
Arabia and the Indian subcontinent. (Wilkipedia)

The name Commiphora is derived from the greek “Kommi” which means gum and “phoros” which means carrier.

The Myrrh tree, found in the horn of Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia) belongs to this genus.   This plant was highly priced in ancient times as a constituent of perfumes and incense.

Commiphoras need full sun and well drained soils.  Plants are  propagated from seed.

dsc_7655 - version 2

Commiphora saxicola.  The names is derived from the Latin for “rock dweller”.  The plants are found in rocky soils in central Namibia.  Unlike many other species C. saxicola does not have papery bark and does not peel.  Photo by Michael Douglas


Namibia Flora: Swakopmund to the giant Welwitshchia via Goanikontes by Patricia Craven and Christine Marais.