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Ylang-ylang (flower)

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 11 months ago

(And its uses)


Description and Rationale



The Ylang-Ylang tree is native in the Philippines and parts of Indonesia. This Ylang-Ylang tree has been used in ancient times as well. The Ylang-Ylang tree is a part of the custard apple plants and gets up to 20 meters high in free nature. Each flower that grows has 6 tongue-like, twisted petals which looks almost like a star.

Where and how did the Ylang-Ylang get its name? In what environment does this plant grow best? How long does it live? Does the perfume extract of the plants cause environmental problems? Are there some ways the Ylang-Ylang can be helpful to us and our environment? Do the people in the Philippines favor the different uses of the Ylang-ylang plant? If so, what of the Ylang-ylang plant do they favor? Would they prefer the Ylang-ylang over another scented flower?

             How else can the Ylang-Ylang tree be used other than being used as a perfume? Do the other objects that are made of the plant have the same effect as the perfume? Better? Or worse? What effect does this perfume extract put on the environments’ air? Is the plant helpful or even used in any kind of medications? If so, What kind(s) of disease can it heal or prevent?


The foremost purpose of this project is to find and research about the biological effects of the Perfumes extracted from Ylang-Ylang through the help of internet resources, directly experiencing the scent of the Flower, finding and using the different kinds of uses of these plants, and finding literature resources through books. These resources and actions will be a helpful tool to find the different kinds of uses and effects caused in our environment.

             Using my big passion and interest in perfume scents, body oils, and aroma therapy, I decided to do my project on some of the different kinds of ways the Ylang-ylang flower can be used. Putting much effort to research deeper, I hope to find ways the Ylang-ylang are used to help the environment, but also find the bad effects it has in the environment.


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Common Names and Synonyms


The Cananga Odorata is also known as the Ylang-Ylang ( pronounced ee-lang ee-lang or ilang-ilang) tree. The name Ylang-ylang means “flower of flowers” in Tagalog and it is known to many people as the “Perfume Tree” because of it’s attractive scent. This evergreen tree is an member of the custard apple family.




Kingdom—Plantae- (the taxonomic kingdom comprising all plants).

Phylum—Magnoliophyta- (Angiospermae)

Class—Magnoliopsida- (Dicotyledones)

Order—Magnoliales- (evergreen or deciduous trees and shrubs).

Family—Annonaceae- (chiefly tropical trees or shrubs).

Genus—Cananga- (a genus of Malayan tree).

Species—Cananga odorata



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Morphology and Physical Description

        This Ylang-ylang tree is a fast growing tree that grows up to 5 meters per year and grows to about 10-20 meters average. The branches are pendulous, with slightly drooping, leafy twigs. The tree is a big straggly with long leafy twigs dangling from around 10-20 feet. The tree usually has one main trunk that is usually bent a little bit. The bark of the tree is smooth with a grayish to a whitish color.

The flower of the Ylang-ylang hangs in clusters of about 4-12 flowers. The flower contains of three sepals and has up to six petals that are about 8 centimeters long. The petals are twisted when it is young, then grows to be limp and droopy when it is fully grown. The flowers of the Ylang-ylang are very fragrant. It is greenish yellow at first, then it turns into a yellow-brown color when it is grown.


                The leaves are dark green, and can grow up to about 8 inches in length. The leaves are alternate, simple and elliptic-oblong. It has a prominent midrib and drip tip. The leaves are organized along a plane. The Greenish black colored fruit grows to around 0.6-1.0 inches in length. It has 6-12 stalked fruits that are all connected.

        The fruit it olive-like, and borne in clusters. Inside of each fruit, there are 6-12 small, pale brown, flat seeds.      





Getting Food



      The Cananga odorata absorbs water and light to make energy. The ylang-ylang tree has energy-absorbing patterns that are consistent throughout the year. The young leaves and the fall of leaf come in December and February (first dry season); flowers come out most around January and April (first dry and first wet season), and ripe of fruits come in July-August (the second dry season). Most energy is collected while the flowers fully bloom. The wide petals on the flower receives a greater amount of energy partly due to more surface area. This Cananga odorata grows best on a medium to low salt toleration, with an average, well drained soil. Growing the Ylang-ylang tree does not require an exact regulation of being watered. Balancing the liquid fertilizer every month would show a good result on the tree.


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      The Ylang-ylang is usually propagated by its seeds. Direct-seeding in the fields is mostly practiced. But, another method is to collect small seedlings that grew about 4-8 inches already from under wild trees, and grow them out in bags for 2-3 months. The flowering of the ylang-ylang tree happens all year-round, and the black, fully ripe fruits can be found at any time of the year. And in each fruit, 6-12 seeds are found in an embedded oily part of the fruit. The seed is removed and cleaned under water and should be dried under the shade before planting. The seeds grow best when it has been dried for around 6-12 months. The dried seeds are to be put under hot water then planted. The seeds are grown in pots until it grows to about 8-12 inches to be planted in the fields.


      When seeds are directly seeded, and area is made ready for planting the seeds. The area is cleared out of weeds, and is dug to about 20 inched deep. Seeds are planted usually as deep as 2-3 centimeters. Sowing the seeds around each area would be recommended so that the seeds would not have to be reseeded.





Environmental Factors



       Being a wild tree, the Ylang-ylang grows best in humid, lowland tropics, but also can be grown in the uplands near the equator. It grows well in the equatorial to subtropical climates around the oceans. It is found mostly in tropical moist to semi-dry forests. It is populated mostly around 0-3900 ft above the equator. The average rainfall it needs is 30-200 inches per year and grows best when the temperature is around 64-82 degrees F and full in sunlight.

             Ylang-ylang trees can be found growing in a big range of soils. It can be grown from sands to clay loams and clays. It can also grow in rich volcanic, or sandy soils. It grows in light to heavy texture soils and requires free drainage in the soil. The tree can stand a wide variation of acidity. It can still grow well in the acidity of pH 4.5-8.0.



Origin and Distribution



     The Ylang-ylang tree has been introduced into many islands around the pacific and around the Indian oceans. It grows splendidly in secondary forests and agroforests and regenerates easily. Around Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, the ylang-ylang is strongly valued for the oil it produces.


      The Ylang-ylang is native to the Philippines and Indo-Malaysia and has been adopted greatly by Polynesians, Micronesians, and early European explorers. It was then introduced into Guam from the Philippines. The Ylang-ylang is most commonly grown in the small Islands around the Equator.


Importance to People

      Around the Pacific and the Indian oceans, the Ylang-ylang has many uses. The wood of the Ylang-ylang tree is often used to make parts of small canoes, furniture, fuelwood, and cordage. More importantly, its’ main use is the fragrant flowers used to create the scent. In places like Tonga and Samoa, the bark of the ylang-ylang is used as a treatment for stomach aches and is also used as a laxative. In Java, the flowers are dried and is used against malaria. It can also be pounded into a paste to treat asthma as well!

      The Ylang-ylang tree is native in the Philippines and in some parts of Indonesia as well. Together with the Sampaguita flower, the Ylang-ylang is used often for decorative fragrant arrangements and bouquets. The Ylang-ylang is thought to be a defense of bad spirits in the Philippines. Aromatherapists claim that the oil is useful for depression, distressed breathing, high blood pressure (which may Filipinos suffer from), and anxiety. And the distilled oils are sometimes used to give beverages and foods the flavor of the ylang-ylang.



Survivability and Endangered Status

      Being common throughout Polynesia, Micronesia, Indo-Malaysia, and the Philippines, it is now distributed pantropically. Starting in only a few regions around the Pacific, it is now found in the Mariana Islands, Nauru, Caroline Islands, Tongo, Samoa, New Caledonia, Hawaii, Cook Islands, and many other places.

       Although it has become naturally grown in many of the Pacific islands, the seeds are sometimes eaten by birds, bats, monkeys, and squirrels. Even with these pressures, the ylang-ylang regenerates spontaneously.




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Potential Solutions


    Out of the many different uses, which use of the Ylang-ylang tree is most favored by the Filipinos? Getting the actual opinion of the people here will discover which use of the Ylang-ylang is favored most and why it is favored. The use of the Ylang-ylang plant could extend to a point where it can help the economic growth of the Philippines, and also to the extent where it can be created into a new and more pleasurable fragrant perfume that has never been made before. Through research and actual adventures of learning more about the Ylang-ylang plant, the clear usage of the ylang-ylang plant, and the value of it is shown. Weather it’s used for perfume or oil, ylang-ylang could become a more useful and helpful plant in the Philippines. The two main possibilities of how Ylang-ylang plants are used are listed below, and will mention the advantages of this use and the disadvantages of it.

Possibility 1

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       The Ylang-ylang is used as a perfume. The extracts from the flower create a very glamorous, sweet smell. Many of the world’s perfume’s have a mixture of the Ylang-ylang alcohol and powder oil. Coco Chanel who in 1923 created the fragrance of Chanel No.5, said, "I wanted a perfume that is composed - not hints of roses or lilies of the valley. A woman's perfume - redolent, evocative of a woman. A perfume unlike any other ever made. The ideal scent for a woman." But not only is this Ylang-ylang scent a very popular scent for women, but it is also a good mixture for some of Men’s Cologne’s.




             1. The Ylang-Ylang blooms when very young, often when it is in the second or third year of growing. The Ylang-ylang flowers are in mass clusters at the end of its drooping branches which are easy to see and pick. Also the ylang-ylang blooms a minimum of two times a year, usually in June, July, August, and sometimes near December. Very matured ones are known to bloom almost all year long. All this is an advantage because when Perfume is made, the flower is needed often and much is needed to create the perfume. But the Ylang-ylang has no worries of running out of flowers to extract from because it blooms so often and so much at a time a year.

2. When a perfume is made of Ylang-ylang extract, it includes a pure essential oil which has vitamin E and Jojoba oil base. This Ylang-ylang is free of alcohol and toxic synthetic fragrance. This decreases the danger and caution of the usage for the perfume.



             1.  A poor quality of a ylang-ylang flower can smell so terrible that it can give a bad reputation to the essence altogether. A very poor quality Ylang-ylang oil can be an unbearably unpleasant odor. The bad odor that smells sharp, heady and peppery-dry.


             2. Essential oils of the Ylang-ylang must not be used by any pregnant women without the advice of prior professional aromatherapists. Those people who suffer of chronic illness are warned to keep away from the scent of this Ylang-ylang perfume. Young children and babies are highly kept away from the overdose of smelling the Ylang-ylang. This Ylang-ylang can cause a slight nausea and headaches if it is used and smelled in high concentration.



Possibility 2




The Ylang-ylang flower is extracted and is made into oil. This oil is used as perfumes, and massages. The oil is very rich and strong scented and lasts long on skin with a peaceful, soothing smell. While being rubbed onto the skin, it moisturizes and softens the skin, making it healthier and gives it a better looking surface. Predicting the adults would favor this oil more, a survey was taken of 5 adults and 5 teenagers to prove the definite result of who prefers the Ylang-ylang more.



             1. Containing a moisturized, softening character in the oil, it smoothens the skin on your body. It also has Vitamin E which removes blemishes and dark spots. The oil can be added in a moisturizer to create lotion. It is great on acne and wrinkles.


             2. The oil can be a medication and it reduces the cause of high blood pressure. It is a stress reliever and brings calmness and relaxation to the body. It creates a new mood and feeling to the body when it is massaged into the skin.





             1. This oil can be harmful to those who have sensitive skin and can give an irritation. It is very uncommon to cause an irritation to most people, but if an irritation were to form on the skin, it can damage, and give the skin a rash.


             2. When the oil is used, the left over bottles of the oil is thrown away. As it is thrown away, the small amount of oil can go into the ocean, and increase the pollution in the water. Also, the smell of the oil, being very strong, is not a healthy chemical towards our atmosphere.


             3. Although the Ylang-ylang flower is common in the Philippines, the cost for the oil is set at a very high price. 5ml of a Ylang-ylang extract oil is P 395 or $7.99. The price is too high for the Filipino’s to buy, so they should make it themselves.


I’ve also taken an Interview of an employee in  The Body Shop, and had learned a lot about the Ylang-ylang massage oil. It was a great opportunity to also catch her opinion of the Ylang-ylang flower as a Filipino.

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Adams, Donna. "Aromatherapy-Ylang Ylang." www.aworldofaromatherapy.com. 2007. A World of Aromatherapy. 2 May 2007 <http://www.aworldofaromatherapy.com/index.html>.

Bulalacao, Lolita J., and Ceispin Dayao Jr. A First Look At Philippine Flowers. Metro Manila: Tahanan Books for Young Readers, 1994. 12.

Butterworth, David, and Vicki Bowen. "Articles- Archives of Old Articles." www.herbsociety.org.uk. 2002. Herb Society (UK). 30 Apr. 2007 <http://www.herbsociety.org.uk/articles_old.htm>.

Clark, Marge, and Michel Vanhove. "AGORA (Aromatherapy Global Online Research Archives)." www.naturesgift.com. 9 Sept. 1999. Nature's Gift Aromatherapy. 1 May 2007 <http://www.nature-helps.com/agora/agora.html>.

DelaCruz, MaryAnn. Personal interview. 5 May 2007.

Harmon, Jane. "What is Ylang Ylang?" www.wisegeek.com. 2007. Conjecture Corporation. 30 Apr. 2007 <http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-ylang-ylang.htm>.

Robbins, Wendy. "Aroma Web." www.aromaweb.com. 2007. AromaWeb LLC. 28 Apr. 2007 <http://www.aromaweb.com/essentialoilspz/ylangylang.asp>.

Roddick, Dame A. "Sensual Ylang-Ylang." www.thebodyshop.co.uk. 2007. The Body Shop International plc. 2 May 2007 <http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/icat/arsensualylangylang&bklist=icat



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