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Products > Bursera fagaroides
Bursera fagaroides - Fragrant Bursera
Image of Bursera fagaroides
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Burseraceae
Origin: Southwest (U.S.) (North America)
Flower Color: Greenish White
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [Elaphrium fagaroides, B. obvata]
Height: 2-6 feet
Width: 4-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32° F
Bursera fagaroides (Fragrant Bursera) - An interestingly attractive deciduous caudiciform shrub or small "bonsai" tree, typically growing 1 to 5 feet tall but capable of becoming taller when irrigated or with great age. From a thick short trunk with white papery bark that peels away to expose the pale green color below emerge the widespread stems bearing pinnately compound dark green leaves that have a citrus-like odor when crushed. The greenish-colored flowers, which emerge in spring, are very small and followed by a small green fruit that ripen after a time, up to a year, to split open and expose a single seed that is yellow to bright red.

Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate very little - too much water and fertilizer promote lanky unattractive growth. This plant is drought deciduous in habitat but will also drop its leaves when temperatures drop in winter - can tolerate light frosts but temperatures below the high 20°s F may result in damage to stems.

Bursera fagaroides comes from a wide area in northwestern Mexico, including Baja California and at least up until the mid-20th century was found growing in southern Arizona. The genus was named after Joachim Burser, a German botanist and the specific epithet means "like Fagara", likely because the look and scent of crushed foliage is like Wild Lime, Zanthoxylum fagara, a South American plant in the citrus family, the Rutaceae, that was previously described as Fagara fagara.

Bursera fagaroides was first described as Elaphrium fagaroides by the German botanist Carl Sigismund Kunth in 1824 in Tropical American Botany. A Miscellany on the 'Nova Genera et Species Plantarum' authored by Kunth and the German Explorer Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt and the French botanist Aimé Jacques Alexandre Bonpland from material collected in Queretaro, Mexico by Humboldt and Bonpland during their 5-year Latin America expedition from 1799 to 1804. It was renamed Bursera fagaroides by the German botanist Heinrich Gustav Adolf Engler in 1880 and it is also commonly called the Elephant tree or Copal. 

This information about Bursera fagaroides displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.