Commiphora campestris

Synonyms:

Commiphora scheffleri

Habitat:

Commiphora campestris is native to Africa and in particular to Kenya.

Its natural habitat is made up of arid soils, even lava, or sandy or loamy soils, provided they are well drained and illuminated by the Sun, in climates with yearly rainfall between 230 and 800 mm.

Description:

Commiphora campestris is a bizarre tree that does not remain unnoticed due to its trunk up to 40 centimeters thick and with an irregular, almost wavy shape, widely used as a bonsai in the West but native to Africa and in particular to Kenya.

Its natural habitat is made up of arid soils, even lava, or sandy or loamy soils, provided they are well drained and illuminated by the Sun, in climates with yearly rainfall between 230 and 800 mm.

Its large trunk is very useful as a water reserve: this plant in fact lives in environments with scarce rainfall, generally concentrated in particular periods of the year. Therefore, when it rains, it accumulates water in the trunk and then conserves it for arid periods.

Commiphora campestris is a thorny tree, 2 to 9 meters tall, with the papery bark that comes off in layers from the thick trunk. The leaves are green and compound, or grouped in groups of small leaves united by the same petiole. These leaflets are elliptical in shape and grow in tufts at the tips of the branches.

Flowers are small and therefore pollinated by small insects, show red petals that bloom from greenish calyxes and finally form elliptical fruits.

Cultivation:

To cultivate Commiphora campestris apply the tips for cultivation of all Commiphoras:

Exposure to sunlight must be direct. You should never leave it at temperatures below 6-8ÂșC, also you should choose a very well draining but moderately fertile soil, such as, for example, a mix of coarse sand and peat.

Commiphora campestris should be given water approximately every 3-4 days in Spring and Summer, which is their growing season. With the arrival of Winter it is necessary to reduce water supply until completely suspending it. When the plant wants to tell you that it’s thirsty, the caudex becomes smaller and wrinkled.

Propagation:

As well as through sowing, generally they can be propagated also through branch cuttings, but with the help of a specific product to be sprayed on the wound which favors the rooting.

Curiosity:

The name “Commiphora” comes from the Greek kommi, “gum” and “phorus”, hole. Many species of Commiphora in fact form gummy resins such as Mecca balsam and myrrh (extracted from C. myrrha), which are widely used in cosmetics and the production of incense.

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