The Dhofar region

Oman' frankincense
Région de Salalah, chaine de montagne du Dhofar

Ridge of the mountain range

The Dhofari mountain range divides the Dhofar into two main areas : the coastal plain that receives annual monsoon rains (or khareef) and the plateau, a drier zone that produces the best frankincense.

In 2000, UNESCO recognized the historic significance of this « Land of frankincense » by inscribing it on its World Heritage List 3 . It is in the region of Dhofar, south of Oman, that the highest quality resin is produced in the world. It is known as Royal Hojari. As an endemic plant, it benefits from exceptional weather conditions. It is used in perfumery but also for its medicinal virtues by the Omanis.

Source and quality

Plateau & Desert

Frankincens hojari

Best

Fresh frankincense, Hojari, produced by trees far from the coastal areas, has a greenish color but turns yellowish with age.
Frankincense from hasik

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The Dhofaris call it the « Number two ».

On the semi-desert high plateau, the trees, with several stems, are shorter than those of the coastal plain. The trees grow in an extremely dry climate.

On this limestone plateau, the climate is arid. It is on this high plateau that the frankincense tree thrives.

A semi-desert high plateau contemplates the coastline along a steep rocky barrier.

On this limestone plateau, the climate is arid, punctuated by the waves of monsoons periodically watering the coastal fringe. It is on this plateau that the frankincense tree thrives.

It is necessary to wait at least the age of nine to ten years, so that the tree reaches its adult size and produces a good quality resin. Female trees are the most generous and provide the purest resin.

frankincense tree in desert of dhofar

Coastal plain

Natural incense from the coastal area

Fresh

Resin produced by trees near the coastal area is light brown when fresh.

Old

It becomes dark brown when older. With impurities but still good.

The frankincense trade

Souk of mascate natural incense
In the souks of Salalah and Muscat, the stalls of incense and perfumes mix together. The frankincense is packaged in packs of 500g or 1kg.
Before being sold, the fresh resin is dried for a short time and then sorted according to the grain size. The frankincense that is sold in general in the souk is not pure Hojari. it is often a mixture of Hojari.
Sack  of natural ice resin
The grain resin is sold by bag and by weight. Price varies depending on the size, color and quantity of production. There is no « waste » unsold, even the « dust » of frankincense is sold at very low prices.

Production areas

Plant species have a certain characteristic. They are highly dependent on climate, availability of water, quality of sunlight, temperature and soil. Thus, the Boswellia in Oman can vary in many ways.

The peak of the mountain range is a very important natural element. Rains and winds from the coastal plain fade over the ridge.

Humidity levels drop sharply, leaving a semi-desert soil with desert and limestone, favoring the production of high-quality frankincense.

The famous Hojari frankincense is produced in an area located 25 km from the hinterland of Jebel Samhan, between 1000 and 1500m altitude. (between points B and C)

Beyond this area 500 to 1000m above sea level, the density of Boswellia sacra begins to decrease towards the interior of the desert (between points C and D).

The rains are occasional. The resins obtained from trees are not damaged by the rains. However too much drought could kill trees because their roots could not receive the necessary nutrients.4

Quality

Hojari, Najdi ,Haski, Shazri, Shaibi, Shali, Shequof
Crédits

Frankincense of Oman

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