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The Fabulous Ylang Ylang Perfume Tree

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Pronounced in English as e-lang or a-lang, the Ylang Ylang tree is from sub-tropical and tropical areas where the climate is high in humidity and temps stay not lower than 60F or so. In colder climes, the tree will shed leaves but in its native environment, it does not.

The tree is fast growing, it can easily grow from a 5-6 ft. seedling to 12ft. tree in just two years in tropical areas. Its leaves are big and green and the tree in its mature stages resembles a Christmas tree in how its branches grow. The tree prefers a protected area from the wind as the wood is not the strongest among trees. It can grow up to 50-60 feet. Some of its branches can easily be six feet in length and provide a great amount of shade.

The tree has no pests to worry about and if their is leave drop it could be from soil or lack of humidity. While it does prefer fertile soil, it seems to be able to adapt to less than ideal conditions and thrive. Like any plant, it loves water but does not want to have its roots sit in it or long periods of time, so good drainage is important.

In the USA, climate zones 9-10b are best. These zones are mostly in Florida or maybe San Diego, CA. In most other places, during winter months, the tree needs to be inside. Since they need humidity, this will be an issue for many places (even if Florida if the winter is dry and cool, the tree will drop some leaves).

The big bonus of planting this tree are its awesome flowers that when in bloom can be smelled over 30 ft. away. Flowers usually appear after two years of planting.

The History

The inventors of this perfume were Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, and Ernest Bo (Beaux) who was born in 1881 in Moscow. Bo was the son of the owner of the perfume company Rallet, which delivered perfumery to the imperial court. The Chanel No.5 perfume arrived in 1921 after many trial and error scent combinations involving Jasmine and Yland Ylang flowers. The perfume was made world famous by Marilyn Monroe who was asked what perfume she wore, it was Chanel No.5. This was in the 1950s.

The original extraction method used to get the oil from its flowers were as follows:

The distillation process takes 14 hours and begins in the early morning with the picking of yellow flowers. A copper, hermetically-sealed jar, containing approximately 200 pounds of flowers is filled with 15 gallons of water. The result of distillation is about 1-2 liters (or 1-2 quarts) of oil with the most intense aroma that is called "Ylang Ylang Extra.

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The flower also provides a strong aroma just by placing them on the car dashboard in the sun. The heat will activate the oil in the flowers. There are millions of acres of Ylang Ylang trees being cultivated on the Comoro Islands and in parts of the Philippines (up to 30,000 trees). The flowers are harvested for their oil. Of course, the scent can also be created now artificially.


perrya (author) on March 28, 2021:

Great trees, I planted a 5-6ft. tree two years ago and now it is over 14t. high and the scent at night is fantastic, also try Tea Olive tree that have a great scent as well. The tree really does like humid conditions because here in florida winters are dry and cool with fairly low humidity on the Gulf side and it will shed some leaves in winter.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 27, 2021:

Thanks for introducing me to the tree. The plant and its oil sound very interesting. I’d love to smell the scent of the oil.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2021:

That flower scent must be very powerful if people can smell it from 30 feet away!

Fozia Naz from Pakistan on March 27, 2021:

Great work

Liz Westwood from UK on March 27, 2021:

This is an interesting fact file on a tree that played a big part in the perfume industry.

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