The incense tree has a religious and cultural function in Asia, but traditional Chinese medicine also uses it for its therapeutic properties (treatment of asthma or certain cancers). Once cultivated in southern China, it provided the raw material for the small burning sticks exported from Hong Kong to the fringes of Asia, as far as Arabia, and which made it famous. Thus, Hong Kong incense has flourished for centuries. Because of Hong Kong's  urbanization and industrialization in the 20th century,  plantations were covered and the trade was doomed. But illegal logging has also largely contributed to the disappearance of Aquilaria sinensis. Indeed, good quality resin can be sold for up to 1,000 euros per gram and it is largely enough to be an incentive for many illegal cutters. Therefore, it is currently classified as "vulnerable" in the red list of threatened plants of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The Verbenaceae family, which includes verbena and lemon verbena, is a family of tropical flowering plants that includes trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and lianas. The many species that make up this family are crucial for local biodiversity and also very important from an economic point of view because most of them are used as timber, medicinal plants or aromatic plants. It is therefore essential to promote their conservation, particularly among the general public.


Supported project

In 2021-2022, L’OCCITANE Hong Kong and the L’OCCITANE Foundation are supporting the project of the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong. This project aims to promote biodiversity and its conservation, particularly around the incense tree and plants of the Verbenaceae family. It is divided into three types of activities:

  • The planting of 200 incense trees spread over 10 university sites.
  • The creation of a mobile garden in an urban environment composed mainly of plants from the Verbenaceae family.
  • And the organization of 2 workshops about the use and sustainable consumption of these plants and herbs.

Some figures

Budget 10,000 euros

Result 0.1 regenerated hectares

Result 20 planted trees