Family: Annonaceae (Sugar-apple family)
Botanical name: Cananga odorata
PLANT NAME IN DIFFERENT LANGUAGES
Sanskrit: Vanachampaka, Lanji
English: Ylang-ylang tree
Hindi: Ban champak
Ylang-ylang tree is a fast-growing tree of the custard-apple family, Annonaceae; its growth exceeds 5 m (15 ft) per year and attains an average height of 12 m (40 ft). It grows in full or partial sun, and prefers the acidic soils of its native rainforest habitat. The evergreen leaves are smooth and glossy, oval, pointed, with wavy margins, and 13–20 cm (5–8 in) long. The flower is drooping, long-stalked, with six narrow, greenish-yellow (rarely pink) petals, rather like a sea star in appearance, and yields a highly fragrant essential oil.
The essential oil 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. According to Margaret Mead, it was used as such by South Pacific natives such as the Samoan Islanders where she did much of her research. 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.