gold & frankincense & myrrh




pronounced: ber-ser-AY-see-eye

the myrrh family


The family takes its name from the Bursera genus, named for Joachim Burser (1583–1639), German physician and botanist who was based in Denmark, and journeyed throughout Europe in search of plant specimens. His 25 volume Hortus siccus (‘Dry Garden’ – an herbarium in book form) was studied by Linnaeus when he was developing his binomial system of identification. Members of this family are characterized by the non-allergenic resin they produce in virtually all plant tissue, and their distinctive smooth, yet flaking aromatic bark. The aromatic resin of frankincense (Boswellia sacra) and myrrh (Commiphora spp.) was once worth its weight in gold. The family includes both trees and shrubs, and is native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia and the Americas, with a few also found in Australia.


Illustration: Adoración de los Reyes Magos, El Greco - Museo Soumaya, via Wikimedia Commons