Turbinicarpus valdeziana

August 29th, 2016

_MG_8856 _MG_8973 _MG_8844

Ariocarpus fiss. variety hintonii

August 28th, 2016


Frankincense revisited, part II

June 2nd, 2016

Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_01 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_02 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_03 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_04 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_05 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_06 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_07 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_08 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_09 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_10 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_11 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_12 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_13 Frankincense revisited, part II_Page_14

Beiselia mexicana

May 29th, 2014
Beiselia mexicana

Beiselia mexicana


Fouquieria fasciculata

November 25th, 2013


New York Times article on Boswellia

December 13th, 2011

Commiphora gileadensis

November 18th, 2011

Book review 2

August 25th, 2011

Eslamieh, J,  Cultivation of Boswellia. Sacred trees of frankincense

A Book’s Mind, Phoenix, [15 Mar] 2011.

ISBN 978 0 9828751 1 7. Price $32.99 (£20). Available from specialist booksellers, or from www.Jason-Eslamieh.com.

viii, 196 pages, 218 colour photos, 13 graphics; 24.2 × 19.1cm., softbound with colour photo covers.

Introduction to the 19 species and 6 cultivars of Boswellia.


Like me, most of you probably have not heard of Boswellia. They are related to Bursera, which you may well have heard of or grow already. They come from tropical Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and India, and seven of the species are endemic to the island of Socotra. They are best known for the gum resin frankinsense that is extracted, mainly from Boswellia sacra. It has been used as a medicinal and beauty product and was prized for its aromatic incense from ancient times, having a long association with religious ceremonies.

From the horticultural point of view they make very attractive bonsai subjects, but are not very succulent and require more warmth than most growers can financially justify. This also restricts the availability, so only a few species are usually available from specialist nurseries.

This book tells you more or less everything you will ever need to know about boswellias, and the author gives generously of his cultivation experience. The requirements are similar to those for succulents generally, and the author stresses a low pH, well-drained but moisture-retentive compost. They can withstand drought for a few weeks, but drop their leaves in response to it, and it will check the growth. They are better grown continuously with the compost never completely drying out. In pots, daily or even more frequent watering is recommended for plants in full growth.

Flowering and pollination are strongly influenced by air humidity, and the author offers the interesting idea that the plants are sensitive to atmospheric pressure, quoting results from NASA experiments. Propagation is from seed or stem or root cuttings, and 25-32ºC is needed for success.

Even if you never grow boswellias, you might well still consider buying this book for its cultivation advice and hints on such subjects as showing, which are applicable to the management of a wide range of tropical bonsai succulents.


Book review

August 24th, 2011

Holy Deception, By Jason Eslamieh

July 21st, 2011

Holy Deception:

I cracked the door open to see behind the dark wall

Who plays and screams and how the story ends

I hear the night whispers and the dark shadows; the heart of the righteous ones

I see deception, lies and injustice

I see the man of cloth holding a black book, strand of beads and naked from the waist down

I saw innocence lost and heard the scream fall

Deadly silence wrapped in shame

Feet dangling from the sheet soiled by the cloth

I thought there would be angels coming and Gabriel to save

I saw nothing,  no one came

Feet dangling