We quantify the low lattice thermal conductivity in layered BiCuSeO (the oxide with the highest known figure of merit). It turns out that the scattering of acoustical into optical phonons is strongly enhanced in the material because of the special structure of the phonon dispersion. For example, at room temperature the optical phonons account for an enormous 42% of the lattice thermal conductivity. We also quantify the anisotropy of the lattice thermal conductivity and determine the distribution of the mean free path of the phonons at different temperatures to provide a guide for tuning the thermal properties. © the Owner Societies 2016.