Geographic and botanical origin
Styrax is the pleasant smelling gum of two tree genera. It must be differentiated from Benzoin Gum, which is also harvested from trees of the genus Styrax. “True” Styrax is the gum of the tree species Styrax officinalis. “False” Styrax, also called Storax, is the gum of the tree genus Liquidambar.
Storax gum has three geographical origins. American Storax is harvested from the species Liquidambar styracifula in northern and Central America. Asian Storax is harvested from the species Liquidambar altingiana in southeastern Asia and Turkish Storax is harvested from the species Liquidambar orientalis in Turkey.
Harvest and Processing
All varieties of Styrax gum are harvested in the same manner: The trees are tapped and the gum exudes from the tree wound. After letting the gum dry, it is collected by farmers.
The raw material Styrax can be processed further by distillation. Steam distillation delivers the best quality while alcohol distillation delivers the highest yield.