RISE

Volume 34 No. 2 – July to December 2022

Butlo – Aquilaria cumingiana (Decne) Ridl. 

Aquilaria cumingiana (Decne.) Ridl. belongs to genus Aquilaria of the family Thymelaceae. There are 22 accepted names belonging to
the genus Aquilaria (The Plant List 2013 ). Out of this, nine (9) Aquilaria species can be found in the Philippines with six (6) reported as endemic (Lee and Mohamed 2016). Some Aquilaria species are known to produce agarwood. It comes from the wood of live trees infected by fungus through wounds. After the tree is infected with a fungal pathogen, agarwood is then produced as an antimicrobial defense mechanism.

Accordingly, A. cumingiana is one of the agarwood-producing species, but due to its shrubby branching habit, it is not considered as a major source of agarwood. However, because of the high demand for the product, which is also called as “black gold” since the price of high quality agarwood has equalled or surpassed the price of gold in the past, there is a continuous decline of the population of Aquilaria spp. The increasing demand for the species of this genus and considering that A. cumingiana is under high anthropogenic pressure across its range, the species is now classified as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened species.

To date, it was observed that there is still a dearth of information for A.cumingiana. It is important that this species be widely propagated and cultivated. More research studies should be done for this species including its habitat, propagation and plantation establishment. Likewise, ex-situ conservation should be conducted for the species. The information found in this brochure can be of great help to all the researchers, students, farmers, nursery and plantation owners/ managers and to all those who are interested to plant and study this species and save it from extinction.