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Plants encyclopedia.

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Ylang-ylang

Ylang-ylang

Produced from plant: ylang-ylang essential oil

Type of plant - tree

Usable part - flowers

Overview

It is a small tropical tree; it blooms with pink, lilac and yellow flowers. There is an opinion that quality oil can be obtained only from yellow flowers. The oil of first distillation is the best, and though the product of further output has the same properties, its scent is not so rich. The tree is partially cultivated; it has brittle wood and is common on the islands of the southern tropical seas, particularly in the Seychelles, Mauritius, Tahiti and the Philippines, where the best oil comes from.

History and Myths

The name of this "flower of flowers" is originated from the Malay «alang-ilang», which means "hanging flowers." The tree is also called "the Crown of the East" or "fragrant tree". Women of the southern tropical countries oil their hair with the mixture of essential oil of ylang-ylang with coconut oil. In ancient times the oil of ylang-ylang was an ingredient of the European hair care products, known as macassar oil (the English name of napkins on the headrests of chairs - "antimacassars" - comes from it).

In Indonesia, there is a custom according to which the bed of a newly married couple is covered with the petals of ylang-ylang to enhance libido. Until 1900, the Indonesians possessed a monopoly on the supply of "Jasmine for the poor", that is, the petals of ylang-ylang. Today, the oil is widely used in the manufacture of high-quality perfumes.

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