name = "Oplopanax chironium"

image_caption =
regnum = Plantae
divisio = Magnoliophyta
classis = Magnoliopsida
ordo = Apiales
familia = Apiaceae
genus = "Opopanax"
genus_authority =
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision =
*"Opopanax chironium"
* 2 other species

Opopanax chironium, also known as "sweet myrrh" or "bisabol myrrh," is a herb that grows one to three feet high and produces a large, yellow flower. The plant thrives in warm climates like Iran, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Somalia, but also grows in cooler climates. Some view opoponax grown in cooler climates as being of inferior quality.

A consumable resin can be extracted from opoponax by cutting the plant at the base of a stem and sun-drying the juice that flows out. Though people often find the taste acrid and bitter, the highly flammable resin can be burned as incense to produce a scent somewhat like balsam or lavender. The resin has been used in treatment of spasms — and, before that, as an emmenagogue in treatment of asthma, chronic visceral infections, hysteria and hypochondria. Opoponax resin is most frequently sold in dried irregular pieces, though tear-shaped gems are not uncommon.

Opoponax is also used in the production of certain perfumes.


From Anglo-Norman "opopanac", from Latin opopanax, from Hellenistic Greek ὀποπάναξ, from Ancient Greek ὀπός ‘vegetable juice’ + πάναξ ‘panacea’ (all healing).

Cultural references to opoponax

*King Solomon allegedly regarded the opoponax as the noblest of incense gums.

*In the penultimate chapter of James Joyce's "Ulysses", Leopold Bloom recognizes opoponax as an ingredient in the perfume of his wife, Molly.

*In "The Grand Duke", by W. S. Gilbert, the mock-Grecian chorus that opens the second Act repeat the words "Opoponax eloia!" many times.

*In the novel "Black House" by Stephen King and Peter Straub, the word opopanax is used repeatedly and constantly in a nonsensical fashion, as both a verb and an adjective (e.i "distant cry of the opoponax", the opoponax this, the opoponax that, etc) eventually becoming a symbol for all the strange and incomprehensible events unfolding in the book.

*In another Stephen King novel, "Wolves of the Calla" (the fifth book in "The Dark Tower" series), a character holds an "opopanax feather", thus suggesting that it is the name of a bird. No other explanation is given in the story.

*In the novel "Against the Day" by Thomas Pynchon, the child mobster "Plug" Loafsley runs a club that smells strongly of opopanax, vervain, and bodily ejecta.

*Gives the title of John Brosnan's 1993 SF novel 'The Opoponax Invasion', where an alien DNA is contained in a resin said to be similar to the opoponax.


cite web | title=Opoponax | work=Botanical.com | url=http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/o/opopon10.html | accessdate = 2005-12-15

cite web | title=Opoponax (sweet myrrh)| work=Scents of the Earth | url=http://www.scents-of-earth.com/opoponax.html | accessdate = 2005-12-15

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • opoponax — OPOPONÁX, opoponacşi, s.m. Plantă erbacee mare, din familia umbeliferelor (Opoponax chironium); răşină extrasă din rădăcina acestei plante, folosită în medicină şi în parfumerie. – Din lat., fr. opoponax. Trimis de oprocopiuc, 04.05.2004. Sursa:… …   Dicționar Român

  • opoponax — ⇒OPOPANAX, OPOPONAX, subst. masc. A. BOT. Plante dicotylédone (de la famille des Ombellifères) herbacée, vivace et à fleurs jaunes, des régions chaudes d Europe et d Asie. (Dict. XIXe et XXe s.). B. P. méton., PHARMACOL. et INDUSTR. DES PARFUMS.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Opoponax — Opopanax Opopanax …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Opoponax — Opo|pa|nax, Opo|po|nax, der; [es] [lat. opopanax, zu griech. opós = Pflanzenmilch u. ↑Panax]: als Heilmittel verwendetes Harz einer im Mittelmeergebiet heimischen Pflanze …   Universal-Lexikon

  • opoponax — n. type of sweet myrrh …   English contemporary dictionary

  • opoponax — opop·o·nax …   English syllables

  • opoponax — noun see opopanax 1 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Opoponax Chironum — Opopanax O*pop a*nax, n. [L., fr. Gr. ?; ? vegetable juice + pa nax, pa nakes, a kind of plant: cf. F. opopanax.] The inspissated juice of an umbelliferous plant (the {Opoponax Chironum}), brought from Turkey and the East Indies in loose granules …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • L'Opoponax — Auteur Monique Wittig Genre Roman Pays d origine  France Éditeur éditions de Minuit …   Wikipédia en Français

  • L’Opoponax — infobox Book | name = L Opoponax title orig = translator = image caption = author = Monique Wittig illustrator = cover artist = country = France language = French series = genre = Novel publisher = Les Éditions de Minuit release date = 1964… …   Wikipedia

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