Resin is a sticky, viscous material produced by numerous plants. It is a complex mixture of organic compounds and has a variety of uses. Resin is a natural, plant-produced hydrocarbon with a wide range of applications, from being used as a protective coating in automotive industry to creating beautiful jewelry.
Resin typically comes from four main sources: conifers, dipterocarps, vapor trees and flowering plants. Even certain grasses may produce some resin, though it’s generally not seen in commercial products.
Conifers are evergreen trees, including pines and cedars, that produce resin as protection from external damage and to facilitate healing of wounds from insects, fungi and viruses. These trees are most common source of resin, and type most often used for commercial products. Conifer resin is typically harvested using tapping, a process that involves drilling holes in tree and collecting sap as it seeps out.
Dipterocarps are trees that are particularly prolific in tropical rainforests and are an important source of resin. They are mostly found in South East Asia, but can be found as far north as India, and as far south as Australia. These trees tend to produce a more milky type of resin, which is often referred to as “dammar”, and is widely used in candles, paints and incense.
Vapor trees, also referred to as liquidambar, are native to North America and are a lesser-known source of resin. They produce a sticky, clear resin that is used for a variety of products, such as waterproofing and preservative products.
Finally, there are flowering plants such as frankincense and myrrh that produce modified resins, known as oleoresins. These resins are foundation of many fragrances, and are used in perfumes and incense.
These four sources of resin produce different types of resin, each of which has its own unique set of uses. Conifer resin is most widely used type, and is ideal for coatings, adhesives and sealants, while dipterocarp resin is used primarily in candles, paints and incense. Vapor tree resin is used mainly for waterproofing and preservative products, while oleoresins are mainly used in fragrances.
Resin is just one of the many incredible materials created by plants. It is an indispensable component in many products, and is ideal for a variety of applications. With its unique properties and wide range of uses, it’s no wonder that resin is an essential part of our everyday lives.