Saudi Gazette - Wood as precious as gold:
Wood of Oud has been a part of Arabic culture for thousands of years. As rare and as precious as gold, it has a great cultural significance in ancient civilizations around the world. A common house in Gulf countries may lack a very important piece of furniture, but it is hard to imagine a home without Oud. Its smoke is thought to have the power that bonds an Arab to his roots and origins.
Oud is dark resinous wood that is also valued in many other cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and thus is used for incense and perfumes. It forms in Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees and the finest types of Oud come from the high mountainous areas of India, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
An interesting aspect related to formation of Oud is that it forms when a tree becomes infected with a type of mold. Prior to infection, the heartwood is relatively light and pale colored; however, as the infection progresses, the tree produces a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood in response to the attack. The infected trees are left for a period of 60 years to up to more than a century before good quality Oud can be extracted from them.