Kampala Tree and Palm Directory

Tree Species
Common Name
Tree Description
Tree Uses

English: Ylang ylang, Perfume tree.

+ Tree Species

Cananga odorata

+ Tree Family


+ Ecology

Perfume tree is native to E. Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea to northern Australia). It grows well in more humid lowland tropics or moist valleys, sometimes with other evergreen and teak trees. It prefers well light places, fertile sandy loam and volcanic soils. In Java it grows gregariously in moist evergreen forest and in teak forest. It is often cultivated in the tropics, and also protected when forest areas are cleared, for its flowers and the essential oil that can be obtained from them and also for its timber. In Kampala, the perfume tree can be found within Makerere University, along Malcom x avenue and along roscoe road.

+ Description

Perfume tree is a small to large forest tree to 40 m tall and about 45 cm in diameter with a straight stem, an irregularly-shaped crown and a sometimes drooping, brittle branch formation. The trunk is generally cylindrical in shape up to the first branch and without buttresses.

BARK: smooth, pale grey to silvery.

LEAVES simple, alternate, 13-29 cm by 4-10 cm, arranged in two ranks, simple and without stipules, puberulent below, medium green; the stalk is slender, 1-2 cm long, narrowly grooved above and smooth; the leaf blade is ovate-oblong and the base is often of unequal sides, sometimes rounded or heart-shaped, the margins are more or less wavy, the midrib and lateral veins are whitish hairy on both sides.

FLOWERS: raceme, 1-4 cm long, with 2-6 flowers on short, leafless, axillary shoots. Flowers bisexual, axillary, 5-7.5 cm long, dull green and turning yellowish with age; pedicel 2-5 cm long; stamens numerous, 2-3 mm long; ovaries several to many, free, style oblong and slender.

FRUITS: pendulous, consisting of many (7-16) separate, globose-obovoid monocarps, about 25 mm by 15 mm on stalk 10-20 mm long; monocarp dark green becoming blackish when ripe, 2-12-seeded with seeds embedded in yellowish oily pulp arranged in 2 rows.

+ Uses

An ornamental tree Edible: essential oil from the flowers is used by the food industry, especially in peach and apricot flavourings, it is also used in candies, icings, baked goods, soft drinks and chewing gum. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Cananga+odorata

The wood is used locally for general construction, turnery and making canoes, and is also used for making boxes, tea chests and plywood.

The wood is used for making small drums and matchsticks.

The wood is sometimes used for fuel. Medicine: flowers, leaves, bark, and seed. http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php id=Cananga+odorata

Agroforestry: can be used for rainforest regeneration, used in intercropping.

The bark can be beaten to make coarse ropes.

The fragrant yellow-green flowers are made into leis and are also used to scent coconut oil.

The fragrant flowers are used for personal adornment and decoration at festivities and other celebrations.

The fresh flowers can be used in various ceremonies. They are also put away with clothes, or scattered about the bed.

Essential oils from flowers are used in high-class perfumery, soaps and toiletries for men. It can also be mixed with coconut oil to be used as a hair oil.

The scented flowers are soaked in coconut oil to make a pleasantly perfumed body lotion that is sometimes thought to ward off malevolent spirits to cure spirit-caused illnesses.

Planted to provide shade.

+ Propagation

Seeds, cuttings.

+ Management

Very fast-growing. Topping promotes the growth of low, drooping branches, which are also tied down to pegs to keep the flowers within easy reach. Plant spacing is at least 6 m by 6 m. Ring weeding and slashing of the inter-rows are important for optimal growth.

+ Remarks

Ylang ylang provides a very popular essential oil with a wide range of uses. The plant also has many medicinal applications and is a source of wood and fiber. When grown for perfume extraction, it is normally not more than 3 m tall.

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