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Valentine.gr  

August 2007

Did you know that the oil of Ylang-Ylang plant is the base for some of the most famous fragrances in the world, like "Chanel No 5"?

Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata 

Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata

Cananga odorata is an evergreen tree, of Annonaceae family. The Annonaceae family is comprised of about 130 tropical and subtropical plants, among which are many well-known exotic fruit trees such as the so-called "custard-apples". The family also includes many other fragrant plants.

At the forefront of all this Annonaceae splendor is, of course, Cananga odorata, better known as Ylang-Ylang. It is a large tropical evergreen tree, whose height can reach up to 60 feet or even more. The golden blossoms adorning the descending branches have long, slightly twisting petals and an aroma whose presence is detectable from a distance of 30 feet and more. (Some people can smell the fragrance of this tree many yards away on a windy day). 

It is a fast-growing tree that exceeds 5 meters per year and attains an average height of 12-15 meters. It grows in full or partial sun, and prefers the acidic soils of its native rainforest habitat. The leaves are long, smooth and glossy. The flower is greenish yellow (rarely pink), curly like a starfish, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil. A related species is Cananga fruticosa, which is a dwarf Ylang-Ylang that grows as small tree or compact shrub with highly scented flowers.

Cananga odorata finds its native habitat in southern China, Southeastern Asia (Philippines and Indonesia), India, and the Island of Polynesia, where it grows everywhere - like a fragrant wildfire. Its local name, "Ylang-Ylang" (or more precisely, "alang-alang") signifies "the flower of all flowers"; and with its intoxicating, sensual aroma, it could not be better named.

According to Indonesian folk custom, Ylang-Ylang awakens love, passion, and secret desire within a person. Indonesians use the freshly cut petals to decorate the bedrooms and sprinkle on the beds of newlyweds. The form and fragrance of these flowers is said to strengthen the respective charms of each partner, increasing their sexual energy and giving them hitherto unknown enjoyment. Ylang-Ylang is used to guarantee the complete bliss of the wedding night, which will then remain in the couples' memory for life. With its heady perfume, Ylang-Ylang plays the role of a mild aphrodisiac - its surprising aroma opens up the human heart and soul, leaving them defenseless before the strong wave of feelings which follows. In the Philippines, its flowers, together with the flowers of the sampaguita, are strung into a necklace and worn by women and used to adorn religious images

Ylang-Ylang is used widely in perfumery, in both the traditions of the East and in the commerce of the West. The fragrance of Ylang-Ylang is rich and deep with notes of jasmine and neroli.

The oil from Ylang-Ylang is widely used in perfumery for oriental or floral themed perfumes. Ylang-Ylang blends well with most floral, fruit and wood smells. Ylang-Ylang lends its seductive soul to some of the most famous fragrances in the world, including "Chanel No. 5" and "Coco" from the renowned firm of Chanel; its aroma also constitutes the heart of "Aqua de Gio" from Giorgio Armani, "Poison" from Christian Dior and "Champs Elysee" from Guerlain, each of which is no less beloved worldwide in the chosen few of elite perfumes. 

Acording to perfumerys history, two persons and one plant participated in the creation of the world famous fragrance, "Chanel No 5". The inventors of this renowned 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 perfumery company Rallet, which delivered perfumery to the imperial court. He later became Rallet's director.  Chanel asked Bo to make "an ideal smell for a woman." In 1921, he presented two series of samples: from the 1st to the 5th, and from the 20th to the 24th. Chanel chose the 5th, which consisted of the aromas of a rose, a jasmine and Ylang-Ylang flowers. When questioned about giving it a name, she answered that the collection would be on sale on the 5th day of the 5th month, and consequently it was called "Chanel No 5".

The essential oil of the flower is obtained through steam distillation of the flowers and separated into different grades (1, 2, 3, e.t.c.) according to when the distillates are obtained. The essential oil of Ylang-Ylang is used in aromatherapy. It is believed to relieve high blood pressure, normalize sebum secretion for skin problems, and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.

Source:
http://toptropicals.com/html/toptropicals/
articles/trees/annonaceae_fragrant.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ylang-ylang

 

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Madagascar ocotillo - Alluaudia procera
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Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
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Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
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Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
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