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Bursera fagaroides ‘Frankincense of the Americas’


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Bursera fagaroides ‘Frankincense of the Americas’ is an incredible caudiciform originating from Northwestern Mexico. Known for its extreme drought tolerance and incredible fragrant sap, it is a widely sought by plant cultivars around the world.

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Bursera fagaroides ‘Frankincense of the Americas’

A favorite among caudiciform collectors due to its hardy nature and fragrant resin, it has earned the the title of Frankincense of the Americas. The resin additionally burns directly and does not require processing like true frankincense. Bursera fagaroides easily shape into many Bonsai forms and are always show stoppers at caudiciform shows.

Bursera fagaroides ‘Frankincense of the Americas’ is a thick-trunked shrub with horizontal branches at the top. Furthermore, many delicate dark-green leaves cover each branch. Rub the leaves or cut branch and the Bursera will release sap accompanied by an intoxicating aroma. Harvested for centuries and used in medicinal products, incense, and perfumes, this resin is nothing short of remarkable.

Bursera fagaroides originates in Northwestern Mexico, specifically the Baja and Sonora regions, and therefore has an extremely high heat and drought tolerance. The thick caudex trunk stores water and consequently allows the plant to survive extended periods without rain or irrigation.

Bursera fagaroides additionally flourish in full, constant sun. Therefore, plant in well-draining soil in full sun. However, this plant is wimpy when it comes to cold tolerance. Even in zones 10a – 11a, horticulturalists recommend covering this type of Bursera with freeze cloth to prevent damage on the bark and leaves.

This plant additionally has unlimited shape and size potential. It typically grows as a large shrub about 5 feet tall, however, Bursera fagaroides also grows to heights of 20 feet if cared for properly. Additionally, many individuals prune it to keep it as a small bonsai plant.

Bonsai versions of Bursera fagaroides grow successfully indoors or in a container if the plant receives full sun and is not overwatered. Plant in well-draining soil and water it very infrequently – the soil must be completely dry between waterings. Furthermore, prune annually to the desired size and shape.

Horticultural Data

  • Names and Synonyms: Bursera fagaroides
  • Common Names: Frankincense of the Americas, Fragrant Bursera, Elephant Tree
  • Family: Burseraceae
  • Origin: Northwestern Mexico and Southern Arizona
  • Size Label: 1 Gallon, 5 Gallon
  • Height: 20′
  • Width: 6′
  • Cold Tolerance: 30 to 35°F; -1.1 to 1.7°C
  • Heat Tolerance: High
  • Light Requirement: Full sun
  • Water needs: Very drought tolerant. To clarify, water Bursera fagaroides infrequently and ensure that soil has completely dried in between waterings.
  • Maintenance: Prune to desired height/shape.
  • Uses: Brings height and incredible fragrance to cactus gardens and xeriscapes.
  • Propagation: Divide and replant or additionally propagate through seeds from the flowers or root from cuttings.
  • Problems: Sensitive to cold temperatures. Cover with freeze cloth in winter, even in preferred zones, to ensure that Bursera fagaroides is not damaged.
  • Special notes: It’s fragrant sap has been used in perfumes, herbal healing remedies, and oils throughout the centuries.

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Shipping & Availability

There is a minimum purchase for online orders and consequently orders must have at least 4 plants of any types. All plants are shipped bare root, however other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
Click here for complete Price List.