Collection areas & the company

Northern Kenya is a vast area of harsh semi-desert, populated by nomadic pastoralists. This wild area is the habitat of the spiny myrrh and frankincense trees which exude aromatic resins. Several thousand hectares have been certified organic to ensure sustainable harvesting.

Arbor Oils of Africa specializes in the distillation of organic frankincense essential oil from the resins of Boswellia neglecta and Commiphora confusa. The company was established in 2003, certified organic since 2007 and FairWild certified in 2022.

Founder of the company

Hilary Sommerlatte was born in Kenya and is Kenyan.

What inspires her is researching the botanical identity and uses of frankincense and myrrh species in northern Kenya. Many of these spiny wild trees which produce aromatic resins, have not yet been fully identified nor have the uses of these resins been fully explored. By researching and promoting commercial uses for some of these gums has helped to open up markets for this underutilized dryland resource.  Hilary has published several articles on the subject.

Uncommon Frankincense | Perfumer & Flavorist (