Burseraceae is a moderately sized family of 17-18 genera and about 540 species of flowering plants. The actual numbers differ according to the time period in which a given source is written describing this family. The Burseraceae is also known as the Torchwood family[citation needed], the frankincense and myrrhfamily, or simply the incense tree family. The family includes both trees and shrubs, and is native to tropical regions of AfricaAsia and the Americas.

Just as the family size (in terms of genera and species) differs according to the time period of the study, so too does its placement in the higher ranks. Nevertheless, the family is a genetically supported monophyletic group currently and frequently cited within the Sapindales and is recognized as a sister group to the Anacardiaceae. The Burseraceae members are characterized by the non-allergenic resin they produce in virtually all plant tissue and the distinctive smooth, yet flaking aromatic bark [1],[2]. The origins of the family can be traced to the Paleocene (~65 Mya) when Beiselia mexicana first diverged in Mexico[3]. The subsequent divergences in the family lineage and migration of the species in the Eocene (~53 Mya) from North America have led to the current distributions of the species that are primarily associated with the tropics [3]. Though the family likely originated in North America, the greatest generic diversity presently is in the Southern Hemisphere [3]Tabonuco (Dacryodes excelsa) and gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba) represent the economic, ethnobotanical, and ecological significance of the Burseraceae in the Western Hemisphere, while frankincense (Boswellia carterii) and myrrh (Commiphora abyssinica) represent the same in the Eastern Hemisphere.

{Information courtesy Wikipedia}