Ylang Ylang (കാട്ടുചെമ്പകം)

Scientific Name: Cananga odorata (Lam.) Hook.f. & Thomson

Synonyms: Canangium mitrastigma (F.Muell.Domin, Canangium odoratum (Lam.King

Unique ID: 34

Systematic Position

Class: Dicotyledonae

Sub Class: Polypetalae                          

Series: Thalamiflorae

Order: Ranales

Family: Annonaceae

Common Names

English – Ylang ylang tree

Malayalam – കാട്ടുചെമ്പകം  

Tamil – Kattu Chempakam,Karumugai



Description: Trees about 10-15 m tall. Bark dark brown, fissured and fibrous, young branches minutely pubescent, glabrescent when mature. Leaves simple, alternate, ovate-lanceolate, oblong-lanceolate or broadly elliptic, 10-24 x 4-9 cm across, slightly asymmetrical, base obtuse or rounded, margin entire, apex acute or shallow acuminate, coriaceous, dark green, glabrous above, paler pubescent on midrib and veins beneath, lateral veins 7-13 on either side of the midrib, almost parallel, impressed above, prominent on the veins and more prominent on the midrib beneath, reticulate veinlets fine and close, petiole pubescent, about 1-1.5 cm long. Flowers bisexual, fragrant, Inflorescence axillary and old branches, few to several in pedunculate racemes, peduncles woody about 1.5-2 cm long, pedicels stout, pubescent, about 2.5-5 cm long, bracts at the base, deciduous, triangular, pubescent, about 1-2 mm long, Sepals 3, valvate in bud, joined near the base, ovate or somewhat triangular, apex acute, pubescent, about 5-7 x 4-5 mm across. Petals 6, subequal, linear lanceolate, apex acute, light green when young and yellow when mature, finely veined, silky when young, minutely pubescent when mature, about 5-7 x 4-5 cm across. Stamens numerous, oblong, closely packed, about 3 mm long, connectives appendages above. Carpels many linear oblong, puberulous, about 3-4 mm long, style slender, stigma subcapitate. Ripe carpels 10-12, broadly globose or ovoid in fruit, blunt on the top, about 1-2.5 cm in diameter, green, black when ripe, pulpy, stalk about 1.5-2 cm long, Seeds 2-12, in two rows, brown and pitted.


Habitat: Cultivated in gardens and naturalized.

Distribution:  Tropical Asia ; native to China

Uses: The essential oil extracted from this tree is used in aromatherapy, soaps, cosmetics, medicine for skin problems, high blood pressure and aphrodisiac. Leaves are edible and used as fodder.