Originally uploaded by _desertsky
These trees are considered unusual for their ability to grow in environments so unforgiving that the trees sometimes grow directly out of solid stone, which the tree attaches to by means of a sucker-like appendage.
Frankincense is used in perfumery and aromatherapy. Olibanum essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dry resin. The smell of the olibanum smoke is due to the products of pyrolysis.
Frankincense was lavishly used in religious rites. In the Bible's Old Testament, it was part of the temple rites; according to the Gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus by the Biblical Magi "from out of the east".
The Egyptians ground the charred resin into a powder called kohl. Kohl was used to make the distinctive black eyeliner seen on so many figures in Egyptian art.
The aroma of frankincense is said to represent life and the Judaic, Christian and Islamic faiths have often used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants and individuals considered to be moving into a new phase in their spiritual lives.