Heaven scent

Giles Bovill examines how sustainable ylang ylang oil production methods in Madagascar can help overcome current adulteration issues

Cananga odorata, better known as ylang ylang, is currently a popular consumer choice with demand remaining high for this essential oil. With its subtle signature scent, ylang ylang oil has many uses, including perfumes, cosmetic products and aromatherapy.

Ylang ylang oil is produced by distilling the fresh flower, which is collected in a range of fractions – to make 2kg-2.5kg of ylang ylang oil you need 100kg of flowers

However, as with the rest of the essential oil industry, concerns are growing over the purity of ylang ylang oil. Adulteration is becoming increasingly commonplace in its production and suppliers are now looking to address these problems by implementing new, sustainable measures to ensure its continued purity.

Earthoil is a leading supplier of ylang ylang oil and the following article takes a closer look at ylang ylang and focuses on its growth in Madagascar. It examines the production methods used in this region and how this approach can help overcome current adulteration issues.

In bloom

The ylang ylang tree is a fast growing plant which can reach heights of up to 30m during its 25 years of flower-producing life. Blooming all year round, the tree yields a large amount of flowers. Ylang ylang trees require extensive pruning, which restricts their growth to two metres high. This process leads to more flowers being produced, which in turn allows more oil to be extracted. A tree that is over five years old will produce 20kg-25kg of flowers per year.

The smallest flowers on the plant produce the most subtle perfume, while the wild flowers have little perfume. Starting as green flowers, the ylang ylang plant becomes yellow with a strong perfume 20 days later. Although the plant bears flowers throughout the year, a wet environment encourages further growth, meaning the plant flourishes in the rainy season.

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