Sanskrit name: Laksha
Botanical name: Laccifer Lacca
Habitat: India and Thailand are the main areas in the world where lac is cultivated. Over 90% of Indian lac comes from the States of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Orissa. Lac insects thrive on certain trees and the principal lac host trees in India are Palas, Kusum and Ber. India exports different grades of handmade and machine made shellac as well as a limited quantity of refuse lac, namely kiri, molamma, etc.
Lac is the resinous protective secretion of the tiny lac insect. The major constituent of sticklac is the resin (70-80%).
Other constituents present are: sugar, proteins, and soluble salts, coloring matter, wax, sand, woody matter, insect bodies and other extraneous matter; a volatile oil is present in traces. Lac resin is composed of mainly hydroxy fatty acids of C14- C18 carbon chains, such as aleuritic, butolic, C14- C16 mono- and di-hydroxy acids along with hydroxy terpenic acids having the rare cedrene skeleton as jalaric, laccijalaric, shellolic, and laksholic acids.