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Products > Commiphora habessinica
 
Commiphora habessinica - Abyssinian Myrrh
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Burseraceae
Origin: Arabian Peninsula (Asia)
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Synonyms: [C. abysinnica, Balsamodendrum habessinicum]
Height: 12-16 feet
Width: 6-12 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
Commiphora habessinica (Abyssinian Myrrh) - An interesting deciduous spiny bush or small tree that grows up to 15 feet tall with an enlarged basal (a caudex ) and trunk smooth dark gray-brown to green-brown bark holding small elliptical grey-green simple leaves (sometimes trifoliate with middle leaf prominent) with serrated margins that are fascicled and subtend the spines. From the base of these fascicles is also where the small cream colored flowers emerge before the leaves do and these are often followed by reddish fruit. Plant in full sun to light shade with occasional to infrequent irrigation in garden plantings, but more regular if kept as a container or bonsai specimen. Has proven hardy to light frosts but likely should be protected from temperatures much below 30F. plant makes an interesting bonsai specimen. Commiphora habessinica grows naturally in northeastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Zambia, Malawi, Oman and Yemen. The name for the genus comes from the Greek words 'kommi', meaning "gum" and 'phoros' meaning "bearing" in reference to the gum-bearing attributes of the Myrrhs, with aromatic resins that are used for fragrance and medicinal uses. It was first described by Otto Karl Berg in 1862 as Balsamodendrum habessinicum from northeast Africa but was transferred to the genus Commiphora by Adolf Engler in 1883 and given the name Commiphora abyssinica, which is considered an orthographical variant that was later corrected back to habessinica. It is also commonly known as Yemen Myrrh where it was used in traditional medicine. Our plants are cutting grown from a plant grown as a bonsai by John Bleck that he originally got from Miles Anderson of Miles' To Go Nursery in Tucson Arizona.  The information on this page is based on research conducted about this plant in our library and from reliable online sources. We also take into consideration observations of this plant in our nursery crops, as well as of plants growing in the nursery's garden and those in other gardens we visit. We also will incorporate comments that we receive from others and welcome getting feedback from anyone who may have additional information, particularly if it includes cultural information that would aid others in growing Commiphora habessinica.