Hawaiian Sandalwood

by Andrea Butje on November 12, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post on Sandalwood, two organizations–the United Plant Savers and the International Sandalwood Foundation–came together to organize a four-day Sandalwood Symposium. During the symposium, information was shared on species of Sandalwood from around the world, including Hawaiian Sandalwood.

Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil has recently become available.

I got interested when I smelled a sample of the essential oil distilled from Santalum paniculatum, a white flowering Sandalwood tree growing on the Big Island of Hawaii. The aroma is deep, woody, balsamic and rich; similar to the classic Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album).

There are currently six species of Sandalwood trees on the Hawaiian islands–however, the only species being harvested to produce essential oil at the time of this blog post is Santalum paniculatum.

The two formerly recognized red-flowered Sandalwoods have been recently re-classified into four species:

  1. Santalum fryecinetianum var. lanaiense (listed as endangered)
  2. Santalum halaekae
  3. Santalum pyrularium
  4. Santalum involutum (ancient hybrid)

White Flowered Species, only found on the Big Island!

  1. Santalum ellipticum (coastal shrub)
  2. Santalum paniculatum (large tree)

Here is a list of Sandalwood species from around the world. Notice there are two links on some of them–one takes you to more information about the species, and the other takes you to the author (when known). For example, the link for Santalum album takes you to more information for that species, and the “L” link takes you to a page about Carl Linnaeus.

Side note: In botanical nomenclature, author citation refers to citing the person (or group of people) who published a botanical name, i.e. who first published the name while fulfilling the formal requirements specified by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN). In botany, it is customary to abbreviate author names according to the list of standard abbreviations.

*Thanks to Danica T. Harbaugh-Reynaud for her work clarifying the exact species, and to Susan Leopold for sending me the information.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Desiree Raquepo January 27, 2017 at 8:02 pm

I’ve been shopping for e.o. and I was wondering what your thoughts are on the company Do-Terra.


Andrea Butje January 30, 2017 at 10:56 pm

Hi Desiree,
I’ve not used that brand. I appreciate any Aromatherapy company that is testing each batch of essential oil with GC/MS and providing those test results for the customer. I personally love being able to see the reports, knowing the company has taken care in their quality control. The components help me understand the medicinal uses and safety considerations.

There are many wonderful companies. Here are a few I’ve worked with and I recommend:

Aromatics International – https://www.aromatics.com/
Essential Elements – http://essentialelementsstore.com/
Pompeii Organics – http://www.pompeiiorganics.com/
Florihana (Europe) – http://www.florihana.com/en/
Aliksir (Canada) – http://www.aliksir.com/

If you are not familiar with what GC/MS is, here’s a blog post I wrote about it:


Anne November 10, 2014 at 9:54 am

Hello Andrea,

I was just reading your blog and got interested in santalum paniculatum essential oil. Have you any idea how I can get this product in EUrope ? What would be the price for shipping 1kg overseas to an address in Belgium or Switzerland? Take care. Anne


Andrea Butje November 13, 2014 at 10:03 am

Hi Anne! We don’t sell essential oils, but you can find santalum paniculatum at Aromatics International – http://www.aromaticsinternational.com – Karen will be able to get you shipping costs and information. Thanks!


Liz Fulcher December 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

This is information is so exciting! I am truly grateful to have this new information on Sandalwood.

I’m happy that more sources of this important essential oil are coming to light light since the Indian Sandalwood is difficult to obtain.

A wonderful post ~ Thank you Andrea!


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