Notes Ladanum

A company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels, bearing spicery and balm and myrrh.

Genesis 37 (KJV)

The generally recognized sources of ladanum have been Cistus creticus, C. cyprius, C. ladanifer, and C. monspeliensis. Some of the EFS data below may indeed apply to C. ladanifer. All VAD data below accrue to C. ladinifer. Because ladanum used to be combed from the fur of sheep, or the beards of goats that had been grazing the Rock Rose, it often represented a mixture of species. While I suspect goats and sheep are discriminating grazers, I doubt that they were restricted to grazing one of the many species in so many Mediterranean areas. It is doubtful that all ladanum has been scientifically or taxonomically verified, so the accumulated literature may apply to various species. The biblical ladanum was probably not C. ladaniferus, and more probably C. creticus or C. incanus.

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