A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z





Name of a fragrant residue that forms in the heartwood of Aquilaria trees, especially Aquilaria malaccensis, i.e. trees in the family Thymelaeaceae, as a result of an infection by a type of mold known as Phialophora parasitica. In the wild this infection is caused by damage to the tree by external forces, such as grazing animals or ants that bore in its trunk, and bring in the fungus spores, which results in the growth of this specific type of fungal infection, inside the tree. Prior to infection the healthy wood inside Aquilaria trees is pale, odourless and worthless, but its natural defence to this fungal attack is to produce a stress-induced aromatic resin which is dark and moist, and known as aloes. To man-produce agarwood, the Aquilaria tree needs first be infected artificially with this mold and over the course of several years the aloes slowly imbeds in the heartwood to eventually form agarwood. This resinous wood is used in incense and perfume, as well as in carvings, and is one of the world's most expensive raw materials. To harvest the agarwood it needs to be separated from the healthy Aquilaria wood around it. These cultivated chips of carved-out wood are known as oud and are commonly used as incense. In Thai, agarwood is known as mai kritsana, literally Krishna wood’ and referring to the dark colour of the wood compared to the pale colour of the uninfected Aquilaria wood that surrounds it, as in Sanskrit Krishna literally means the ‘dark one’. First grade natural agarwood can allegedly fetch as much as 100,000 usd per kilogram on the international market, whereas aged oud oil distilled from oud chips by steam can cost as much as 80,000 usd per litre and as such known by traders by its nickname liquid gold. With the depletion of wild trees from indiscriminate cutting for agarwood Aquilaria trees have now become an endangered species bordering on extinction and since trees are rarely found infected naturally in the wild, the production of agarwood nowadays relies mostly on artificial inoculation of the trees with a microbiological compound to induce the production of the resin. However, the prices for artificial agarwood are up to 100 times less than that of natural agarwood found in the wild. Also known by the names aloeswood, eaglewood, and gharuwood. In Southeast Asia it is since millennia known as the wood of the gods’ and in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra it is referred to as heavenly wood, and was used in the cremation of the Buddha.