Botanist's Glossary

Sandalwood, Australian Sandalwood - Santalum spicatum

  • Description
    • This small bushy shrub or small tree comes from Western and Southern Australia. Its leaves are oval-shaped (as with certain eucalyptus plants), its flowers are insignificant and yellowish, and its fruits have a reddish color. Sandalwood parasitizes the roots of neighboring trees and shrubs, and particularly acacias. It is remarkably resistant to drought, and exploits the various abilities of its host plants. This member of the Santalaceae family, similar to the true Indian sandalwood, has been overexploited in its natural habitats since the middle of the 19th century, where it was referred to as "golden wood". Its cultivation, now expanding, is accompanied by investments such as stock exchange shares.
  • Traditions
    • The core of dark heartwood from the trunk of adult trees holds the essential oil for which this species is renowned. Often used to make high-quality incense sticks by the fragrance and beauty industry, this expensive essence, with its very distinctive smooth, woody scent, is now recognized for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Properties
    • The distilled parts are the wood and the roots. The essential oil is astringent and tonic. It leaves a woody, warm and spicy scent on the skin.

Ingredient used in :