Whilst Quintis specialises in pure Indian and Australian sandalwood products, the most important species of the Santalum genus, there are over 15 different species. Read more about the different species below.
Australia has around six species of sandalwood, however only Santalum lanceolatum (also called Northern sandalwood as it is found in northern New South Wales and North Queensland) and Santalum spicatum are sold commercially. The Northern sandalwood shrub is found mainly on sandy soils or sandplains and grows up to 7m tall. It produces a small, edible fruit that is purplish black in colour.
Found in the islands of New Caledonia and Vanuatu, Santalum austrocaledonicum (known as Pacific Sandalwood) is a shrub or small tree that grows 5-12m tall. It produces a lovely flower that blooms in February and October.
"One lifetime is not enough to understand the beauty and complexity of sandalwood."
Santalum yasi is also known as Fijian or Brown Sandalwood. It is native to Fiji and Tonga and grows up to 10m tall – usually in dry lowland forest areas. Like many other sandalwood species, populations are depleting due to overharvesting. Fijian sandalwood trees were discovered by Europeans in the 1700s and traded for alcohol, firearms and ammunition. In 1996, the Fijian government initiated a conservation program to re-establish populations of Fijian sandalwood.
Hawaiian sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum) is said to have a sweeter aroma than its cousins in the Santalum genus. It is most closely related to Santalum album in terms of its oil composition and aroma, and like Indian Sandalwood, its history is characterised by excessive demand and overharvesting.
Once fragrantly abundant on all islands, today Hawaiian Sandalwood is only found on the Big Island. Called ‘iliahi in Hawaiian, the locals used it as a medicine and to scent the bark cloth they used for clothing and bedding. In 1790, the whole world became aware of Hawaiian sandalwood when Captain Kendrick sailed from Boston to Hawaii. Recognising the unique aroma and its inherent value, he put Hawaii on the map for sandalwood trading.
With Indian sandalwood supplies dwindling, demand from China was enormous. Recognising the value of this commodity and wanting to advance his domination of all the islands, the then king, Kamehameha I, maintained tight controls over its sale, trading it for weapons and other military supplies.
When he died, his successor loosened controls on the sale of sandalwood. This led to rampant over-harvesting. By 1830, most forests were destroyed, and today, only pockets of trees on the Big Island remain. Private organisations are now looking to establish plantations in an effort to retain the species.