Commiphora myrrha

Invasive species Disclaimer

In view of the fact that some tree species are invasive, the world Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) has put in place a policy document on Invasive Alien Species, currently under draft available at Here.

For more information on this subject, please refer to
100 of the World's worst Invasive and Alien Species.




Species Index    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
Multiple Criteria Search


Abelmoschus moschatus
Acacia aneura
Acacia angustissima
Acacia aulacocarpa
Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia catechu
Acacia cincinnata
Acacia crassicarpa
Acacia elatior
Acacia erioloba
Acacia etbaica
Acacia ferruginea
Acacia glauca
Acacia holosericea
Acacia karroo*
Acacia koa
Acacia laeta
Acacia lahai
Acacia leptocarpa
Acacia leucophloea
Acacia mangium
Acacia mearnsii*
Acacia melanoxylon
Acacia mellifera
Acacia nilotica subsp nilotica
Acacia pachycarpa
Acacia pennatula
Acacia polyacantha ssp. polyacantha
Acacia saligna
Acacia senegal
Acacia seyal
Acacia sieberiana
Acacia tortilis
Acacia xanthophloea
Acrocarpus fraxinifolius
Adansonia digitata
Adenanthera pavonina
Aegle marmelos
Afzelia africana
Afzelia quanzensis
Agathis macrophylla
Agathis philippinensis
Ailanthus altissima
Ailanthus excelsa
Ailanthus triphysa
Albizia adianthifolia
Albizia amara
Albizia anthelmintica
Albizia chinensis
Albizia coriaria
Albizia ferruginea
Albizia gummifera
Albizia julibrissin
Albizia lebbeck
Albizia odoratissima
Albizia procera
Albizia saman
Albizia versicolor
Albizia zygia
Aleurites moluccana
Allanblackia floribunda
Allanblackia stuhlmannii
Allanblackia ulugurensis
Alnus acuminata
Alnus cordata
Alnus japonica
Alnus nepalensis
Alnus rubra
Alphitonia zizyphoides
Alstonia boonei
Alstonia congensis
Alstonia scholaris
Altingia excelsa
Anacardium occidentale
Andira inermis
Annona cherimola
Annona muricata
Annona reticulata
Annona senegalensis
Annona squamosa
Anogeissus latifolia
Anthocephalus cadamba
Antiaris toxicaria
Antidesma bunius
Araucaria bidwillii
Araucaria cunninghamii
Arbutus unedo
Areca catechu
Arenga pinnata
Argania spinosa
Artemisia annua
Artocarpus altilis
Artocarpus camansi
Artocarpus heterophyllus
Artocarpus integer
Artocarpus lakoocha
Artocarpus mariannensis
Asimina triloba
Ateleia herbert-smithii
Aucomea klaineana
Averrhoa bilimbi
Averrhoa carambola
Azadirachta excelsa
Azadirachta indica
Azanza garckeana
Related Links

Local names:
English (myrrha,gum myrrh,common myrrh), Somali (didin)

Commiphora myrrha is a sturdy, spiny, glabrous shrub or small tree, usually with a distinct short trunk up to 4 m tall. Outer bark silvery, whitish or bluish grey, peeling in large or small papery flakes from the greener under-bark; exudate hardly scented, viscid, producing a hard translucent yellowish gum-resin. All branches are spine tipped and knotted.

Leaves trifoliate, chartaceous, greyish green or glaucous, very variable in shape and size; petiole 1-10 mm long; a few lateral leaflets, sometimes very minute may be found on both short and long and short shoot leaves, the leaves may be elliptic, spathulate or lanceolate, attenuate, cuneate, rounded or truncate at the base, rounded or acute apically, 6-44 mm long, 3-20 mm wide, with 3-4 rather weak main veins, margin entire or 6-toothed on each side.

Male flowers usually precocious, 2-4 in dichasial cymes 3-4 mm long which are often sparsely glandular; bracteoles pale brown. 0.5-0.7 mm long and wide, often lightly attached at the base and forming a fragile detachable collar; receptacle beaker-shaped, petals oblong, tapering pointed and recurved at the tip, 4.5 mm long, 1.5 mm wide; filaments 1.4 and 1.2, anthers 1.2 and 1.0 mm long.

Fruits 1-2 on jointed stalks, ovoid, flattened and beaked 2-4 mm long. Seed smooth with gentle swellings.

C. myrrha is a very variable species, both in its leaves and in its pseudaril. The different forms seem to merge so impercetibly that the recognition of infraspecific taxa is often difficult. Forms in which the lateral leaflets are half as large as the terminal leaflet seem to occur only in the northern part of the area of the species and have not been seen in Kenya.

The generic epithet is derived from Greek ‘kommis’ and ‘phora’ meaning gum bearer.

Ecology

C. myrrha is normally found in open Acacia, Commiphora bushland on shallow soil, chiefly over limestone.

Native range
Ethiopia, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia

Tree management

The stem is cut, gum-resin gathered and then carbonized.

C. myrrha is normally found in open Acacia, Commiphora bushland on shallow soil, chiefly over limestone.

Propagation is by seed.

Poison:  This herb is contraindicated during pregnancy because of its emmenagogic activity. It is advisable to dilute myrrh before use and administer moderate doses. Allergic reactions have been observed.

Erosion control:  An important species protecting soil in wind erosion prone areas.

Medicine:  Myrrh stimulates the production of gastric juices, tones the digestive tract and used to treat diarrhoea, flatulence, dyspepsia, loss of appetite. Stimulates the production of menstrual blood (emmenagogue). Also used to treat genital infections, leucorrhoea, thrush, scanty periods, used for haemorrhoids, arthritis has expectorant activity and is also used for flu, catarrh, bronchitis, asthma, sore throat. Stimulates the production of white blood cells regeneration of skin cells, assists in the healing of wounds. Myrrh treats eczema, wounds, wrinkles and has very good mollifying qualities. Use of myrrh imparts a cooling, calming effect, combating apathy and increasing mental clarity and focus. Myrrh is also administered as horse tincture in veterinary practice for healing wounds. Because of its anti-fungal properties it can be used as a vaginal wash for thrush or in a footbath for athlete's foot.

Gum or resin:  The oleo-gum resin from the stem has an aromatic taste and odour, may be acrid and bitter. It is inflammable, but burns feebly. Its products are highly prized in Asia.

Essential oil:  Myrrh oil is deep amber in colour with a warm, spicy, bitter and smoky aroma. Today myrrh oil is still considered helpful for meditation, and aromatherapists recommend the naturally antiseptic essential oil for skin and mouth problems.

Other services:  Myrrh essential oil has been used since antiquity to inspire prayer and meditation, and to fortify/revitalize the spirit.