Characteristics of Agarwood Tree (Aquilaria malaccensis) in the Wild

Aquilaria malaccensis
Agarwood or Gaharu is a tree species in the Thymelaeaceae family, native to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Laos, Singapore, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Previously, Iran was recognized as one of the countries with an agarwood population, but after a CITES review in 2002, confirmed that Iran has no record of the species Aquilaria malaccensis. As a result, Iran is no longer considered a habitat or producer of agarwood.

Agarwood trees are now threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and illegal logging. That’s because this tree is the main source of agarwood (a type of resin used for perfume and incense).

The threat factor for this tree is also due to the increasing demand for agarwood.

IUCN Red List, meaning it is truly threatened. Many of the areas where the agarwood tree was once abundant have now been destroyed.

Even though it is in a very endangered status, the agarwood tree is easy to adapt and can grow well in areas contaminated by pollution. Because of this, conservation plans have been put in place to raise agarwood in polluted areas and special gardens in many countries.


Characteristics of Agarwood Leaf

Aquilaria malaccensis Leaf
Source : Fuad Morad

The leaves are single, alternate, thick, elliptical to lanceolate, and long.


Characteristics of Agarwood Flower

Aquilaria malaccensis Flower
Source :

The flowers are umbrella-shaped and appear on the axillary leaves. Agarwood flowers are small, pale green or yellow, and very rare.


Characteristics of Agarwood Fruit

Aquilaria malaccensis Fruit
Source : Yi Shuen

The fruit is ovoid and the skin is smooth.


Characteristics of Agarwood Tree

Aquilaria malaccensis Tree
Source :

Agarwood trees can grow to a height of 50 meters and a trunk diameter of 1 meter. The trunk is straight, the bark is smooth, whitish brown. The header is round, bushy, with horizontal branching.

To cultivate agarwood trees, a trial was carried out with seeds, and the seeds germinated reached 47%. Within three years after sowing, young agarwood trees can reach 2.5 meters high.


This tree is the main source of agarwood, a spice product in the form of wood with a very fragrant resin that is used as a mixture of perfume and clover.

The production of this resin is unique in that it must be stimulated by infection with parasitic fungi from the Ascomycetes group such as Phaeoacremonium parasitic, which have dark cell walls.

The trunk of the agarwood tree is commonly extracted to make essential oil.


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